Boston and Cape Cod: Weekend Getaway Recap

img_7790For the past few years, I’ve gone on girls’ weekend trips which usually involves a running event, tons of good food and drinks, old friends and new ones too.  So far we have been to Aspen , San Francisco and Napa and now Boston/Cape Cod. Getting together with your girls is so important. It’s a way to catch up, relax, rejuvenate and inspire. To determine the destination, we look at a few key features:

Can we all travel there easily? Our trips are usually long weekends so easy locations are a must. This year we had travelers from Jacksonville, Denver, Boulder and San Francisco. We were all on different flights to take advantage of mileage points and maximize our time there, so location was key.   I flew Jetblue to Boston and Southwest back, both legs on points… FREE flights! <– Click here to get the Southwest card and earn 50K points!  I’d consider that an easy travel location!  To top it off, I flew in style with my Stella & Dot arm party! So glad my pyramid watch arrived just in time for the trip!

img_7794Second, is there a running event we can do while there? (Because what’s a girls trip without an excuse to wear tutus). We found the Zooma Cape Cod woman’s “fitness weekend” and booked out flights! Although this was supposed to be a half marathon which turned into an untimed race, turned into a group run with your friends, we still had a great time. I was disappointed that the race could not come together in time with permits and all that mess, but I still enjoyed out little mock run around the town, chair massages and beach yoga.  Plus, I was in no shape whatsoever to run a half marathon. 🙂

Will lodging and transportation work out for the group? Is a hotel or Airbnb going to be the best? We used Airbnb for both our night stay in Boston as well as 3 nights in Cape Cod. Our stay in Falmouth was so lovely. Bill’s Falmouth home had everything we needed and more. He was so accommodating to us, answering all questions we had and giving us tips along the way. I hope to make it out to Cape Cod again some day, and would definitely stay here again. It was perfect or our group and would be a great family vacation place too! 

img_7793Does the location have fancy foods and delicious drinks? “Give me lobsta and chowda.” New England is the Mecca of seafood in the continental US in my book now. Hands down.  I had everything including crab cake and salmon sandwiches, oysters, lobsters, shrimp, lobster rolls, clam chowder and even muscles. These people can cook!!  I also had cupcakes from shops on Falmouth and Martha’s Vineyard. The frosting was on point on all that I tried- peanut butter, mint and cream cheese. The carrot cake didn’t impress but hey they can’t be amazing at all things, right?

 

img_7792

Lastly we look for a location with fun things to do and see. Since I had never been to Boston I was super excited to learn about the history. Boston fills the pages of history books and now I got to see it! We did a hop on hop off trolley tour and harbor cruise, toured Fenway Park and got lost among the skyscrapers, underground tunnels and weird parking situations. When touring new cities, check Groupon for tours!  We did the Cityview Trolley Tour and it was awesome! Oh and then there was a cannoli. I mean the best-cannoli-I’ve-ever-had-in-my-life. That merits its own blog post, but I’ll keep it short- mainly because I want one right now and this is making me hungry.  Mike’s pastry, home of all the different types of cannolis you can dream of, is a cash only establishment in the heart of Boston’s Little Italy. Thank goodness I only carried a small bit of cash or I would have bought a ton! 

img_7791

img_7796

In Cape Cod we explored the little town of South Falmouth, relaxed on the beach and checked out a few local restaurants.  I was so thankful out Airbnb was within walking distance to all of that! 

On our last full day of vacation, we hopped on the Island Queen ferry and took a short boat ride to Martha’s Vineyard, docking in Oak Bluff. We biked from Oak Bluff to Edgertown, stopping along the way for sightseeing pictures, ate incredible seafood right on the way, walked around a lighthouse then found a little brewery for a refreshing summer ale afternoon drink. Not going to lie, my butt was a little sore from the biking!!  Oh and, bike rentals were so cheap! I highly recommend this place. The staff are super helpful with directions and activity suggestions too!

img_7797I said before our girl time is so important. We talked about goals and what we want to accomplish before our next girls trip. I have too many but I’ll focus on two- travel to Colorado in the spring/summer and work less to enjoy life more.

So where’s the next destination? After throwing not around ideas, I think we’ve settled on the Oregon Coast! We hear great food, wine and nature fill that area of the country! 

What cities do you think are great for the until ate girls getaway?

img_7795

Advertisements

San Francisco: tourist for the day

golden-gate-bridge

“Hey, dude!” When I think of San Francisco, I think of Michelle Tanner on Full House, hilly roads and cable cars.  I spent two nights in San Francisco as the start of a (now annual) girls trip! The final destination was Napa, CA for the Zooma Women’s Half Marathon and lots of wine tasting <– let’s be honest, we really just went for the wine…
San Fran is probably one of my favorite cities. (Chicago summers being at the top of the list right now) If you want the beach, head south a little. Redwoods/nature/hiking, drive north. City tourist-for-a-day and wine connoisseur are fun roles to play.  The food is pretty spectacular and the sights are one of a kind.
This trip was a girl’s trip.  Translation – tons of chatting, wine and laughter.  I had far too much fun and took far too many pictures to post everything so I’ve listed my “top 10” San Fran moments…

1 – Running the Golden Gate Bridge (FOR FREE!)

golden-gate-bridge-morning

It’s not everyday that I get to wake up and go for a jog over one of the most popular bridges in the world ( <— my opinion).  The run/jog/picture-taking-session was amazing!  The San Fran side was very foggy and we couldn’t even see the top of the bridge, the water or the other side!   Parking, running and taking a ton of pictures were all free!

golden-gate-run-cassie

Once we ran the 1.7 miles across the bridge, the sky cleared and the views were amazing!  The run was a little loud from the traffic, boats and horns and the air was definitely polluted with car emissions, but this is one run I will never forget!  So cool!

golden-gate-run

 

2 – Air BNB

We stayed in the city two nights and most of the hotels we found were super expensive, sold out or yucky.  One of our friends mentioned Air BNB and this proved to be the BEST thing ever!  I didn’t take any pictures of our cute little abode, but it was perfect! The Sunny Apt City View, Qn Bed, Parking from Ms. Rita was wonderful!   Ms. Rita was so responsive and her rental was in a great location. Not too far from the city but far enough to get out of the chaos.  Parking was free and the bathroom was renovated and had a bidet… (google it if you need to… I did!)  I would definitely recommend this rental to others and will use AirBNB for the next trip!

3 – El Techo de Lolinda

El Techo de Lolinda is the a lively, fun, delicious rooftop bar in Mission district with a cool view of San Fran.  It’s mainly tapas and the best La Paloma I’ve ever had!  The atmosphere was so great!  The music was awesome (those great 80s and 90s hits!) and the food so incredible.

4 – Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Bread Bowl from Boudin

I love the piers in San Fran. Actually, I think everyone loves the piers, specifically Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf because I felt like every tourist in San Fran was there.  We tried to visit Alcatraz but the next available tickets weren’t until the middle of July!  It sort of felt like the chaos of Disney World but with the famous clam chowder bread bowl in the middle, it’s definitely worth it!  Boudin Bakery is a must visit while in San Fran.  The bread bowls are like Philly Pretzels in PA… need I say more?!

pier39-san-fran san-fran-warf

5 – Chocolate!

ghirardelli-squareSan Fran tourist won’t want to miss a stroll through Ghirardelli Square, where loving  chocolate is a prerequisite.  Although there’s no formal tour to see, the gift shops have a few old machines (this one in the picture had real chocolate processing in it!).  Of course, the Ghirardelli employees with their hats and aprons are in every shop giving out a sample as you walk in.  There were 3 separate shops in the square.  I found all 3.  <— and yes, had 3 samples of the mini squares!

6 – Cable Car Rides at Powell and Hyde

I wasn’t the only tourist who wanted to ride the cable cars… just look at all these people!  Actually, this line was over an hour wait, and yes, I waited!  The cable cars are so San Fran, they are a must do, but a must-do-early-thing if you’re smart.

cable-cars

Once we got on a car, we were off to explore the city!  The cable cars went up and up and up (San Fran is very hilly!).  I was standing out back of the car by the driver so I took a few shots of the city… have I mentioned how much fun being a tourist is?!  The cable cars are $15 for a city pass which is good for all day rides on city transportation!  cable cars > walking  🙂

What.A.View.  I was mesmerized!  A few blocks later we got to Lombard Street!

san-fran-view

 7 – Lombard Street – The Crookedest Street in the World

Another “touristy” thing in San Fran is definitely taking a walk (or drive) down Lombard Street.  The sharp turns in this road are said to make this the crookedest street in the world!  Besides being full of tourist, Lombard Street is a great place to view the city and beautiful flowers grow everywhere!

san-fran-lombard-street

8 – little corner shops & wine breaks

After Lombard Street, we took a walk to find #1 a bathroom and #2 the next cable car stop so we could continue the trip around town.  Bathrooms were a little hard to find and most the of shops were just small storefronts “without bathrooms”  (<– no customer = no bathroom for you in San Fran)  Luckily, we came across Nook Café!  This wasn’t only a bathroom break, but it was such a cute café and just so happened to be serving happy hour drink specials so… hello my-five-oclock-somewhere-drink!

nook-cafe-san-fran

9 – Italians

Yes, Italians.  That’s another one of my favorites of San Fran.  Specifically the Italians at the restaurant, E Tutto Qua.  We had dinner here because of the location and the good reviews on yelp.  Those reviews were spot on!  The staff were incredible… so friendly and had (sexy) Italian accents.  The pizza was delicious with a special pepper oil on top.  Oh, the dessert… panna cotta.  Need I say more?!

panna-cotta

10 – The Pacific Ocean

I live on the east coast. In Florida.  The highest thing I encounter are office buildings and bridges (Jacksonville has great running bridges!)  One of the things I really wanted to do in San Fran was take a trip to the ocean.  Breathtaking.  Although a little foggy, the views were still amazing and even though I didn’t get to touch the ocean, I got to smell it and even saw dolphins playing in the waves!

pacific-coast

If you haven’t made the trip to this foggy city, I highly recommend it!  I can’t want for my next trip!

pacific-coast-cassie

 

Good Friday, CPA Exam, Easter & Lactation Cookies

Three-layers-wall

After a few months of studying and way too many trips to Starbucks (embarrassed to admit how many grandes), I finally took the BEC section of the CPA exam on Good Friday.  It was by far, hands down, without a doubt, the hardest exam I have ever taken.  In.My.Life.Ever.  I felt the Audit section was a little easier, but everyone is different.  Now is the fun part… the waiting game.

Paleo-pancakes-berriesWhile I wait the 2-3 weeks for my results, I am taking a break from the CPA all together. (hallelujah!!) This way, I can catch up with life a little, hang out with friends and make some yummy meals!  This weekend was no exception!

Friday: Paleo Pancakes!  I added a berry mixture and this gave the pancakes a sweet kick that was so delicious!  I posted my recipe for paleo pancakes a few days ago, but it’s simple – eggs, bananas, cinnamon.  Done!

Saturday Work0ut: Tested out the new running swag!  I bought the Yurbuds Inspire Talk for Women and tested them out this week.  The problem with me and earphones is the same problem everyone has… they don’t fit right.  The ones that come with iPhones hurt my ears really bad and I’m sure the amount of sweat that gets in them and my ears when I workout isn’t good.  So I decided to give the Yurbuds a try and guess what, I LOVE LOVE them!!  They aren’t too big, fit perfectly and “lock” in place.  Also, I can hear my music but also hear outside sound too, which is helpful when I’m running outside.  The turquoise/light blue color is fun too!

Running-swag

After that early morning workout, I went to an Easter Egg Hunt with my friend and her awesome 20 month old… so much fun watching the little ones gather eggs!

Egg-hunt

Emmie had fun Saturday afternoon!  She got to play with her friend, Boomer, and run around (off-leash!!) until she couldn’t run anymore.  She slept the whole way home and was perfect the rest of the day (<— yeah, she’s not always perfect!)  I am so thankful for friends with dogs and backyards!

Puppy-play-date

Saturday night, I went to my church’s Easter Service.  The series we are in is called “The Way” and it’s a look back into the life, the land and the way Jesus took.  We got to see video footage from when my Pastor went to Israel and it was really awesome!

Three-layersSaturday later night, I went with some great friends to Three Layers, a coffee house, wine bar, hole-in-the-wall-middle-of-nowhere gem!  This place was really cool and had live music.  The best part was the venue for sure.  You could relax of a sofa and chairs, sit at high tops, play board games, watch tv, sit at the wine bar or even sit outside in the zen café!  We checked out all the areas (ok it’s small but they make great use of the space) and ended outside where we met a real Easter bunny!

Sunday morning came very early and I went to the 6am sunrise service at the beach.  There is nothing more amazing than watching the sunrise over the ocean while worshiping our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Resurrection Sunday!  Unfortunately, the weather was too yucky so they cancelled service.  Fortunately, Moosehaven had a 7am sunrise on the river, so over the bridge I went! (after stopping at Dunkin Donuts for more coffee!)  Here’s a picture I took from the service!

Sunday-service-on-river

The last part of my weekend I am very excited about was making Nutella Milkies!!  Milkies are my version of lactation cookies.  Before you get all weirded out, these cookies are just full of yummy goodness that helps lactating women produce more milk!  I’m visiting a friend tomorrow who is nursing her newborn and I’m so excited to introduce her to these.  A blog post to come soon about the cookies 🙂

Nutella-Milkies-cover

That about wrap it up for me.  What was the best part of your weekend?  What Easter traditions do you have?