If you’ve read my post about Travel Plans and Dreams for 2015 (and how they changed unexpectedly), you’ll know that I’m on a mission to complete the ‘Take 12 Trips Challenge’ this year, with the goal of exploring at least one new place, near or far, each month. Along with the challenge, I’ve decided to start a monthly round-up of suitcase stories: what’s been happening on (and off) the blog for the past few weeks. So without further ado, welcome to August on Stories My Suitcase Could Tell…
Relaxing by the Atlantic in Maine. August began in Maine, a state that has stolen my heart this summer. The fresh air, the scenery, the clapboard houses, the lobster rolls, the ocean, the relaxed pace of life – it’s the perfect place to escape from the city and experience that quintessential New England charm. We spent a long, relaxing weekend in Kennebunk with family, and took a quick trip to America’s most photographed lighthouse, Portland Head Light. Prepare for a photo-heavy post of this gorgeous part of the country coming very soon!
Playing tourist in NYC (again!). There was more New York sightseeing this month, as my brother’s holiday came to an end, and another friend’s started. I can’t even begin to explain how wonderful it was to show a dear friend – one I met almost 10 years ago on our first day at university – around my newly adopted home.
As she’d already seen most of the city’s sights on previous visits, we spent our time leisurely, catching up and laughing over lots of food and drink in the West Village, during strolls through the Lower East Side and Chinatown, and while lazing by the Lake in Central park. First my brother, and then a best friend: it’s been a lovely few weeks of local travel with loved ones!
10 Reasons to Use Your Local Library, Ten Penny Dreams. This month I was finally able to register for a local library card, and I’ve been in my element, devouring novels as if I haven’t read a book in months (I have, obviously, but a Kindle screen doesn’t have quite the same appeal as a paper and ink publication). I’ve raced through A Moveable Feast, Rose Under Fire, The Joy Luck Club, and Resistance is Futile, among others. Amy Lord – whose blog is a fun mix of books, travel, and personal musings – gives ten reasons to use your local library, and I agree with her wholeheartedly.
Expat Diaries: 8 Things That Confuse Me About Australia, Girl Tweets World. As a (relative) newcomer to the US, I love hearing about other people’s experiences as expats and immigrants around the world, so I really enjoyed this post from Jayne over at Girl Tweets World, who moved to Sydney last year. From reading about Jayne’s observations, it seems that both TV ad breaks and the hurdles you have to jump to buy a bottle of wine are similar to those here in the US!
Would you rather buy more stuff, or have more fun? Broadside Blog. “I’ve never once regretted any of the money I’ve spent on travel or meals or a day of skiing or a game of golf.” Yes, yes, yes! That was my reaction to Caitlin Kelly’s blog post on how consumers are spending their hard-earned cash. I think spending money on moments that you will remember, memories that you can store away and return to as the years go by, is a great investment. Well, you probably didn’t expect anything less from a travel blogger, did you?
My Ode to St Andrews, Adventitious Violet. Shortly after I said farewell to the old university friend who came to visit me in New York, I stumbled across this ode to the town where we met. I have to say my eyes were watering while reading it, as it reached into the heart of so many of the unique and wonderful things that make the St Andrews university experience what it is. Even if you’ve never enjoyed life inside what students affectionately call ‘The Bubble’, you’re sure to appreciate the lovely writing.
EATING AND DRINKING
The Portuguese-inspired chicken prego roll at Jack’s Wife Freda. I’ve already written about the wonderful brunch that can be had at Jack’s Wife Freda, but recently I’ve discovered their lunch menu, and I can’t get enough of their chicken prego roll. Whether breakfast, lunch, or dinner there’s always something worth eating here: Jack’s Wife Freda is fast becoming one of my favourite restaurants in the city for a relaxed meal with friends.
Artsy ice cream at Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream. This old-school ice cream parlour serves inventive new flavours from its spot on the Lower East Side. While you can opt for the weird and wonderful – like durian banana or Szechuan peppercorn chocolate – I chose the less adventurous (but very delicious) salted pretzel caramel. It’s a quirky spot, and a good starting point for exploring the historic Lower East Side.
Giant bagels for breakfast at Ess A Bagel. This deli on 53rd and 3rd Avenue is my favourite place to enjoy a proper New York bagel. It was my regular breakfast spot the summer I lived in NYC as an intern, and it’s always one of the first places I take visitors. Go hungry, because these are not the bagels you buy in the supermarket – these are iconic New York bagels!
So there you have it: August on Stories My Suitcase Could Tell! What have you been up to this month?