Savannah, Georgia

Celebrated Christina and Keenan’s wedding in Savannah with a few of my closest friends. Life is good.

Lodging

This Airbnb was right off Chatham Square in the heart of the historic district. The aesthetic was “quirky southern grandma” and it was perfect.

Activities

Food & Beverage

Photos

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New Orleans, Louisiana

Four native New Hampshirites (Christina, Rachel, Anna & Kendall) and three New Yorkers (me, Milos & Kenyon) fled south to escape the winter doldrums and celebrate Christina’s upcoming nuptials!

Lodging

Spacious Airbnb with a private balcony overlooking Frenchmen Street. Perfect for sunlit breakfasts, people watching, dance parties, and refuge from gutter punks.

Activities

  • French Quarter – Walked around and absorbed the sunlight, music, art, architecture, and people in NOLA’s oldest neighborhood.
  • Pat O’Brien’s – Dueling piano bar. We submitted song requests (Lady Marmalade was a crowd fave) to Henrietta, while slurping down Abitas and Hurricanes.
  • Crescent Park – Ran up and down the rainbow-shaped staircase at this geometric, steel park. Lounged and boat-watched on the Mississippi River.
  • Dr. Bob Art – Perused this artist’s colorful multi-media works, featuring NOLA imagery, bottle caps, and the slogan, “Be nice or leave.”
  • Bacchanal Wine – Picked rosé bottles and curated a cheese plate. Struck out finding a table near the backyard and live music and headed into the property.
  • Golden Lantern – Doled out $1 bills into the bras of our favorite drag queens at the “Divas R Us” show. Everyone was front and center at this intimate venue.
  • Garden District – Coveted iconic mansions that were painted in bold colors, covered in flora, and sporting personal flare, like cast iron fences and bird cages.
  • Lafayette Cemetery – Strolled past above-ground tombs and statues and got spooked by a few historic ghosts in broad daylight.
  • Preservation Hall – Listened in awe as a trumpet, trombone, clarinet, piano, and drum players preserved, perpetuated, and protected traditional NOLA jazz.
  • Frenchmen Street – Bopped around dancing to live music and checking out the local wares at the Frenchmen Art Market (while sporting full face paint).
  • Audubon Park – Climbed and lounged in the Tree of Life and did a photo and video shoot while dodging local marriage ceremonies and bees.

Food & Beverage

  • CC’s Coffee House – Post-plane cold brew. Surprise! There’s sugar in everything, whether you want it or not.
  • French Market – Fried shrimp, frickles, and a fruit smoothie with more surprise sugar (we learned to embrace it).
  • NOLA Poboys – Classic NOLA fare without any frills (in a good way).
  • Corner Oyster House – Bloody marys and Abitas for the road. Hurray open container law.
  • Rouses Market – Essential grocery store for Airbnb porch food and drink.
  • Bamboula’s – Yummy burgers and surprise live music (which we loved, until it turned from jazz to rock).
  • Elizabeth’s – Top notch bloody marys and perfect brunch food including praline bacon and shrimp swimming in cheese grits.
  • Palace Cafe – Took a reservation for seven with little notice. Food was functional and cocktails were delicious (the Shiloh had a *tree* of rosemary in it).
  • Turkey and the Wolf – Adorable decor, delicious food. Straddles the border between “healthy” and gluttonous (i.e. salad smothered in cheese and pork).
  • Cafe du Monde – Mandatory tourist spot. All the orders look the same (beignets with coffee), so it’s torturous to be hungry and think every order is yours.
  • Three Muses – Best meal of the trip. Shared ~10 plates (hello, bacon-wrapped bleu cheese stuffed dates) with delicious drinks and live music.
  • Surrey’s Cafe & Juice Bar – Another standout. Juices (virgin) were a nice break from the alcohol and the brunch (crab omelette, huevos rancheros) was phenomenal.
  • Hotel Monteleone Carousel Bar – Be prepared for more secret sugar in your cocktail. Have enough drinks, and you’ll question whether the carousel is spinning or not.
  • Cochon – Fantastic meal at this bumpin’ spot. A bit more upscale than the rest of the trip, but worth it (pork cheek with sweet potato gratin).
  • Cafe Envie – My final meal in NOLA was a 16 oz. cup filled with grits, potatoes, eggs, sausage, bacon, and gravy. Feels appropriate.

Photos

Austin, Texas

My brother, George, is on a nine-month solo bike trip around the country to raise money for ALS (and live out a supremely badass dream). Follow his travels at gfe.bike!

In August 2017—a mere three days after officiating my marriage to Mark—he rode down our childhood driveway. 100 days later,  I met up with him in Austin, TX—a place I’ve wanted to go for some time now.

The city served as a novel background for what wound up being a three-day deep dive into what we’ve each been up to over the past 3.5 months. I made him take me through his day-by-day travel log and answer all my questions, like:

  • What do you think about on long, solitary stretches of road? Song lyrics on repeat.
  • What’s the worst night you had? Fire ants at my tent site.
  • What’s the most unexpected challenge you’re facing? Dogs chasing me.

… And obviously he told me dozens of positive anecdotes too. I’m a super proud big sis.

While we could have easily drank and partied our way through Austin, that just ain’t our style when it’s just the two of us. Think 9+ hours of sleep each night, a steady stream of water and tea, delicious food, nature, biking, and live music. Also, we shared plenty of long, silent periods where we did our own thing—the non-awkward kind that can only be shared between two people who are so close (99.9% genetically similar, in fact) and don’t really give a shit what the other one thinks of him/her 🙂

Lodging

Airbnb

This Airbnb was in the heart of East Austin—the eclectic, grittier, “hipster” neighborhood, walking distance from downtown. After weeks of camping, I treated my bro to a queen sized bed in a bedroom with a proper door. And as an added olive branch, I picked accommodations with two spare bikes so I could cruise alongside the master.

Impressions

Everyone I met was super friendly—from the stranger who helped me with suitcase at the airport to the audience at the music festival. We’re not in NYC anymore!

Speaking of “not in NYC,” the temperature was in the 50-70s each day, which is perfection; that said it’s off-putting to see inflatable Santas decorating lawns when you’re sweating. We were also welcomed by large populations of great tailed grackles and bats in addition to our usual pigeon friends.

The city is sprawling with pockets of activity. We got around by foot (clocked a solid 15 miles our first day) and then by bike once we wanted to venture beyond downtown.

There’s no shortage of live music, barbecue, and excuses to drink alcohol.

Activities

  • Lady Bird Lake – Although we’re pretty sure this is the Colorado River (not a lake), it is beautiful and a perfect path for walkers, runners, and bikers.
  • 6th Street – Long strip of bars with opportunities to drink al fresco (and do all the requisite activities like corn hole, ping pong, etc.)
  • South Congress Avenue – Main drag with a mix of local boutiques like the Hat Box and three Starbucks options.
  • East Cesar Chavez Street – The road that took us from our Airbnb to downtown, lined with diverse homes and dining options.
  • Texas Capitol – Everything’s bigger in Texas, but this was pretty much what you’d expect.
  • Love & Happiness Band @ Icenhauer’s – 10-piece band featuring three dynamite lead vocalists and a 3-piece horn section, covering everything from Motown to today’s pop songs.
  • Zilker Park & Barton Springs – We biked around the trails on our single-gear Airbnb bikes. Thankfully, Texas isn’t known for its hills.
  • Peter Pan Mini Golf – Our waitress at lunch on the first day, a born and raised Austinite, recommended we check out this course, so we expected it to be something special. But it turns out the draw was that it was BYOB, not the strange statues present at each hole.
  • Saturnalia Music Festival @ Sahara Lounge – The perfect way to spend a Saturday—laying in a field listening to and/or dancing along to diverse, local, live music. We started out with Croy and the Boys (minus his boys), singing country songs about poverty, gentrification, hedonism, and luxury. Then we pivoted to a group of boy men singing “I hate my dad”-esque music. Then we entered a string of rock/electric groups. And then, lo and behold, we ended with Golden Dawn Arkestra. Words and photos don’t do this band—nay, experience—justice, so I won’t try. But our minds were blown—definitely one of the best (and most unique) live shows I’ve ever seen.

Food & Beverage

  • Easy Tiger – We split a Texas Hill Country platter with “Pain au Levain, Venison Cheddar Hot Link, Duck Galantine, Wild Boar Rillette, Local Cheese, Seasonal Accoutrement.” Then we burned it off playing ping pong.
  • Blue Cat Cafe – We needed a lil’ cat fix. Who doesn’t?
  • Cooper’s Old Time Pit BBQ – Cafeteria style BBQ joint. We split brisket, sausage, coleslaw, mac and cheese, and baked potato with all the fixin’s. ‘Twas good, but it didn’t blow NYC BBQ out of the water. The search continues.
  • Matt’s El Rancho – I had fajitas at this Tex Mex restaurant. They were good. I know it’s supposed to be more “authentic” down here, but I’m hard-pressed to find a way to mess up rice, beans, cheese, veggies, and meat.
  • Ramen Tatsu-Ya – Indulged in some Japanese soul food. Delicious, but again, NYC boasts some pretty incredible ramen, so I give this place a “good.”
  • Spun Ice Cream – Ice cream made with liquid nitrogen. Verdict: delicious and creamy, but it was a whole four-minute racket for one scoop. This NYC-er craves efficiency with her dessert. Next.
  • La Barbecue – OK, OK—my NYC food snobbery has met its match. This brisket was the stuff of dreams. I can’t even.

Photos

Sedona, Arizona

Time for another Grace, Gwen, and Rachel adventure! As lovers of hiking, exploring, and natural scenery (and tolerators of crystal worship, vortex healing, and aura photography) we set our sights on Sedona, Arizona.

Lodging

Airbnb

In addition to a pool, jacuzzi, hammocks, ping pong and pool tables, and a breathtaking view of the red rocks, this Airbnb featured the most understanding host of all-time. This saint not only tolerated our incessant nighttime singing—she told us she enjoyed our renditions of “Who Let the Dogs Out.” Five stars.

Impressions

This was an ideal getaway for a long weekend.

The weather was perfection. The sweatiest I got was dewey moist and the chilliest I got was “let’s don adorable sweaters and cuddle next to a tame little fire pit while clutching a glass of wine.” There was little to no humidity, yet I never felt like I was living in the Dust Bowl. Also, the air smelled so fresh and clean (caveat: my baseline is an August garbage day on the Lower East Side).

The locals were mostly retirees turned spiritual seekers, artists, and/or healers. The young people were either outdoorsy tour guides moonlighting as waitstaff or vice versa.

Activities

  • Cottonwood – We tooled around the main drag of this hamlet ~1.5 hours outside of Phoenix, AZ. Our favorite spots were Larry’s Antiques (two acres of junk—I mean beautiful, vintage treasures) and Art Glitter, a massive storefront that exclusively sells—you guessed it.
  • Jerome – This historic copper mining town is carved into the side of Cleopatra Hill. As “America’s Most Vertical City,” it provided an awesome (and I mean awesome) vantage point to behold Arizona’s topography and appreciate our rental Jeep’s ability to climb steep terrain.
  • West Fork Trail – We started off this hike with a lil’ a cappella ditty in a red rock cave (what!? the acoustics were lit!) and then traced and forded Oak Creek, taking moments to pause and stare up at the steep, red canyon walls. Oh, and we saw two tarantulas and have perma-heebie-jeebies.
  • Cathedral Rock – This hike rounds out my top three with Precipice Trail in Acadia and Iceberg Lake Trail in Glacier. We’ve got boulders. We’ve got crevices. We’ve got steep embankments that make you feel like a super hero. We have incredible views. And it boasts a vortex, so I suppose my chakras are now aligned or something, which is fabulous.
  • L’Apothecary Spa at L’Auberge de Sedona – Paid a lot of money to feel a lot of good. Come for the deep tissue massage. Stay for the “complimentary” robes and herbal teas in the relaxation room. Pro tip: use every single toiletry before leaving.
  • Trail Sports – Mountain biking is that feeling you had growing up when an adult you trust is chasing you and you’re laughing so hard because you’re equal parts terrified and having the time of your life. Would 100% do this again. Jeremy, our guide, was A+. Shout out to Rachel who flew face first off her bike multiple times and only actually drew blood on the umpteenth fall.
  • Jeep – Sure, the Pink Jeep Tours are all the rage, but we had a lot of fun driving around in our (already-paid-for rental) whip.
  • Runs – We experienced two of the hilliest runs of our life, but the scenery and literally perfect air quality balanced it out.

Food & Beverage

  • Merkin Vineyards (Cottonwood) – Good wine. Questionable name.
  • Crema (Cottonwood) – They serve cocaine masquerading as cold brew.
  • Rickeldoris Candy & Popcorn Co (Jerome) – Obviously this was good.
  • Copper Country Fudge (Jerome) – Obviously this was good, part two.
  • Elote Cafe – Waaaay too hyped up. That said, we spent the 1.5+ hour wait sippin’ margs, noshing on popcorn, and catching up, so I can’t complain. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and our leftover carne asada sustained us for two days.
  • Sedona Hideaway House – Perfect view. Delicious food. Questionable waitstaff, but who cares!?
  • Couture Cupcakes – Can a dessert be “too much”? Today, I learned this to be true. Bonus points for the alliterative name.
  • Saltrock – Another great view! Delicious food. Super earnest server. Corn hole a mere beanbag’s toss away.
  • Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory – We managed to spend $17 on three Reece’s cups here. YOLO.
  • The Hudson – Good cocktails. Good food. Good ambiance. Apologies to my English teachers of yore for a lack of descriptive adjectives.

Photos

Charleston, South Carolina

Mark was invited to perform his show, Let’s Make a Website, in the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. Neither one of us had been before (but had heard great things), so we decided to make it a Memorial Weekend trip with our friends, Kevin (behind-the-scenes developer in Mark’s show) and his girlfriend, Jordan.

Here is some great press from the show!

Surprise Road Trip

Our flight was scheduled to depart Thursday night. It was cancelled due to inclement weather. We rescheduled with another airline. That flight was delayed. And delayed. And delayed. And then once we arrived at LGA, found our gate, and hunkered down with hundreds of other anxious, landlocked New Yorkers vying for outlets and expensive airport beer… it was cancelled. And there were no other flights available that would get us into CHS before Mark’s first scheduled show.

So we drove!

At 11:00pm on Thursday, Mark and I picked up the very last vehicle LGA Enterprise had to offer, picked up Kevin and Jordan in Brooklyn, and set out on our overnight surprise road trip to Charleston. We arrived at 3:00pm the next day. We would have arrived earlier, but at 12:30am, a tour bus collided with a tractor-trailor on the New Jersey Turnpike causing traffic to come to a parked stand-still for over an hour. Naturally.

Highlights from the trip:

  • High’s Gas Station
  • 4am D.C. rush hour traffic
  • Sunrise on the highway
  • Breakfast in Richmond, VA
  • South of the Border
  • Lots of Hamilton and Weird Al (to keep me and Mark awake, respectively)

Lodging

Airbnb – 251 Meeting Street #4, Charleston, SC 29401

Impressions

Charlestonians are extremely friendly, eager to drum up conversation, and will say hello to strangers, seemingly out of habit. While South Carolina is a red state, Charleston seems quite liberal. We learned all about their long-time Democratic mayor, Joseph Riley and were given “TRUMP SUCKS” stickers by the local comedy community. The food is excellent and the restaurants are plentiful (recommendations below). The town is sprawling, yet small enough that I feel like we “got the gist” after three days. The pace (literally, walking pace) is slow and us New Yorkers breezed by almost everyone. And, surprise, surprise, it was hot.

Activities

Food & Beverage

Photos

California

Mark and I escaped the slushy, blustery streets of New York City in January  2017 to spend a week in California. Mark had performances scheduled at UCB Sunset in Los Angeles and at the San Francisco Sketch Fest and a series of meetings with production companies, so I came along because I’m the best manager around and to get a little R&R and vacation time.

This was my third time in San Francisco, but my first time in Los Angeles. There’s always a possibility that the LA entertainment industry will pull us across the country, so I wanted to see what it was all about before agreeing to leave behind everything I love and know as a born and bred New Yorker.

Los Angeles, CA

Lodging: We stayed with Von at his palatial (compared to NYC) Airbnb in the trendy, hipster Los Feliz / Silver Lake area.

Impressions: We had a mere four days in LA, which is not enough time to fully understand a place and draw a meaningful conclusion on whether or not it’s “good” or “bad,” but here are some things I noticed within my first 24 hours:

  • Cars everywhere and no one walking
  • Strip malls, signage, and advertisements galore
  • Focus on going green and using natural energy sources
  • Large Hispanic / Latino and Asian populations
  • Tons of space and surrounded by mountains and nature
  • Interesting flora: cactus and palm trees
  • Beautiful weather (despite the persistent rain)
  • Friendly, relaxed people
  • Persistent homeless people
  • Lots of nothing then suddenly… you’re in a neighborhood!

Activities:

  • UCB Theatre Sunset: Watched OSFUG bring down the house
  • Galcos Old World Grocery: We met John Nese and bought $40 worth of soda
  • Santa Monica Coast
  • Venice Beach: Watch muscle men, buy panties that say “Brian’s Bitch” on the butt, get a medical marijuana card, regret getting a tattoo, etc.
  • NerdMelt Showroom: Went with Olga to a comic book store and comedy venue to watch the Literati show
  • The Broad: Newer contemporary art museum in DTLA
  • MOCA: Older contemporary art museum in DTLA
  • The Last Bookstore: Massive book and record store with new and used books and art
  • The Geffen Contemporary: Doug Aitken, Electric Earth exhibit
  • Art District
  • Little Tokyo
  • Thrift Shopping
  • LACMA: Saw our friends Picasso, Rothko, and Pollock
  • Huge LA: Much smaller and more relaxed than the place I call home in Brooklyn!

Food & Beverage:

  • Public House: Spacious bar near UCB
  • Carving Board: Yummy sandwiches for when you’re feeling gluttonous
  • Intelligentsia: Delicious coffee, espresso, matcha, pastries, etc.
  • True Food Kitchen: Dose of health
  • The Pikey: Cocktails
  • The Alcove: More cocktails… and cake.
  • Sunset Junction Coffee Shop: The slowest omelette in town
  • Grand Central Market: Taco carnitas
  • Salt & Straw: Ice cream
  • Philz: Coffee
  • Edendale: Spacious bar with back patio with heat lamps
  • House of Pies: 24-hour drunk food spot
  • Home Restaurant Los Feliz: Delicious brunch
  • Orsa & Winston: Fancy tasting menu with wine pairing with my love:
    • Kanpachi & winter citrus: radish, wasabi, yuzu, avocado, nasturtium
    • Soup of Jerusalem artichoke: hokkaido scallop, caviar, macadamia, kosho crème
    • Satsuki & John Dory: Tokyo turnip, arugula, parmigiano
    • Udon bucatini: s.b. sea urchin, quail egg, black garlic, dashi
    • 28-day dry aged creekstone ribeye: tahitian squash, hedgehog mushroom, romanesco, cranberry
    • Barley amazake pudding: pickled blueberry, purple stoke potato, goji, shiso

San Francisco, California

Lodging: We stayed in Judith’s Airbnb in the Mission. Yes, this was technically a room in her garage, but it was so tiny, cute, and colorful it reminded us of home (with an improvement: heated toilet set with bidet).

Activities:

  • Mission: Checked out the books, art, thrift, etc.
  • Haight Ashbury: Same as above, but with more crystals, tie dye, and hula hoops
  • The Mint: Karaoke with Gwen’s coworkers
  • Golden Gate Park: Walked around with Myles
  • De Young Museum: Incredible Frank Stella exhibit with Gwen and Myles
  • Hayes Valley: Gwen’s neighborhood
  • Piano Fight: Watched OSFUG tear down the house again
  • Castro Theater: SF Sketch Fest after party
  • Brewcade: Pinball with Gwen and Erik

Food & Beverage:

  • Philz: We found our new fave coffee spot
  • Tacuqeria San Francisco: Big ol’ burrito
  • Whitechapel: Delicious gin cocktails
  • L’s Cafe: Decent breakfast sandwiches
  • Four Barrell Coffee: Fancy coffee and espresso spot
  • Katana-ya: Ramen
  • St. Francis Fountain: Old-timey diner

Maine

Mark and I went to Maine for a long weekend in August 2016 to fill up on mountains, beaches, and lobster!

Acadia National Park, Maine

Lodging: We stayed at a post and beam cabin Airbnb in the western woods of Mount Desert Island with our host, Fran. Each morning, she served us home-cooked breakfast on her screened porch overlooking a small pond and blueberry patches.

Activities:

  • Park Loop Road: Drove the coastal route around the park and took in the sights.
  • Visitor Center: Picked up some maps, used the facilities, and ran away from the surly teens chugging beef jerky and granola bars on family vacations.
  • Precipice: Hiked the “most strenuous” trail in the park with an exposed and almost vertical 1,000 foot gain. Climbed numerous iron ladders, handrails, and wooden bridges to make it to the top. At the Champlain Mountain summit, we watched peregrine falcons swoop overhead and click beetles jump off rocks.
  • Champlain North Ridge Trail to Orange and Black  Path Trail: Navigated back down Champlain Mountain using the rock cairn trail markers.
  • Sand Beach and Thunder Hole: Walked the rocky coastline. The “thunder” was conspicuously absent due to the low tide.
  • Gorham Mountain Trail to Ocean Path Trail: Open views of Otter Cliff, Otter Point, Baker Island, and the Cranberry Islands. Such cute and yummy names for geographic features.
  • Bar Harbor: One to one ratio of beach t-shirts / tchotchkes / taffy / tourism and authentic, delicious seafood with gorgeous views. And the air smells so great!
  • Beech Mountain Trail (aka “The Moss Palace”): Nearby Echo lake, we hiked and arrived at a clearing with boulders piled high, carpeted with moss. Protected from the sun by the trees above, we set up shop to paint and listen to music for the afternoon.
  • Bass Harbor Lighthouse: Watched the sunset from this iconic perch.

Food & Beverage:

  • Jordan Pond House: Popovers and clam chowder after a long hike
  • Stewman’s Lobster Pound: Raw seafood sampler
  • Bar Harbor Beerworks: Dozens of beers on tap; we foolishly ordered a cocktail
  • Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium: Home of the infamous lobster ice cream (gross)
  • Coffee Hound: Decent iced coffee for two NYC snobs
  • Epi’s Pizza: Breakfast sandwiches
  • Local Sodas: We couldn’t leave without trying Old Soaker Blueberry Soda (yum!) and Moxie (not worth it…)
  • Sips: Stuffed trout and generous wine pours
  • Quietside Cafe: Blueberry pie

Ogunquit, Maine

Lodging: We stayed at the Moon Over Maine Bed & Breakfast with our host, Rick. The house was walking distance from the town center and the beach.

Activities:

  • Town: Peered into shops and art galleries, bought and consumed copious amounts of taffy, walked around and people watched
  • Beach: Sprinted into the freezing water for a few seconds before collapsing on the beach to listen to music and nap under the sun
  • Stargazing: Laid down on the beach and stared at the layers of brilliant stars (with minimal light pollution!)
  • Nubble Lighthouse: Picturesque, painting-worthy lighthouse in York

Food & Beverage:

  • Bread and Roses Bakery: Dessert for days (specifically, magic bars)
  • Cornerstone Artisanal Pizza Craft Beer: Emphasis on the beer
  • Barnacle Billy’s: Fresh lobster, garlic bread, corn, and rum punch
  • Harbor Candy Shop: More dessert for days (specifically, taffy)
  • When Pigs Fly: Pizza and gourmet breads