Hiking in the Hudson Valley

Greetings from the Hudson Valley, where we’ve spent a very relaxing long weekend. The weekend was just what my body needed after the craziness of last week.

Bo’s parents were so sweet to organize a family weekend in Bearsville, New York just a fifteen-minute drive from Woodstock, New York and an hour and a half train ride from New York City.

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Their goal for the weekend was to have a relaxing family vacation which allowed us to each do what we wanted or needed, whether that meant hiking, relaxing in the hot tub, cooking, baking, or in my case, sleeping a lot.

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On Friday, we headed to Black Creek Preserve for an easy, relaxed hike. I wasn’t feeling up to the challenge of a longer hike so this 2.5-mile hike was the perfect distance. The trailhead was only 30 minutes from our weekend rental, perfect for a quick afternoon activity in between a relaxing morning of reading and an afternoon hot tub session.

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The loop hike took us 1.5 hours and is perfect for people of all availabilities as well as canine friends, as we saw many leashed dogs along the trail.

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The trail took us over a 120-foot suspension bridge, up a short switchback path, past small, pools, across streams, along an old stone wall, and along the Hudson River.

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We paused when we reached the Hudson River to enjoy panoramic views and take pictures.

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If you’re in the Hudson Valley and looking for a relaxing way to spend a morning or afternoon, definitely head to the Black Creek Trail. Each of us thoroughly enjoyed the hike though we are all at different fitness levels!

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Greetings from Ireland

Happy Saturday!

Bo and I are enjoying the long weekend in Ireland!

My parents have been in Europe for ten days so far, touring Norway and Ireland before they head down to Switzerland and Italy. Since Monday is a Bank Holiday in Geneva, Bo and I decided to hop over to Ireland for a weekend of pints and good fun.

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After landing in Dublin at noon, we headed West via a main highway and smaller, local road until reaching Dingle. The drive was supposed to take four hours but unfortunately we hit some “rush hour” traffic and construction traffic. Six hours later we reached the picturesque, coastal town of Dingle.  Needless to say we were very happy to see their smiling faces when we arrived!

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Located in Kerry County, Dingle is also the capital of the Gaelic region. A major fishing port, our bed and breakfast has views of the harbor as well as the surrounding lush, green hills.

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We stopped in O’Sullivan’s Courthouse Pub, a popular local pub, for pints of Guiness and cider before a delicious seafood dinner at Doyle’s.

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Multiple people recommended Doyle’s for a dinner experience which would give us a taste of the local seafood. Between the grilled oysters, local scallops and hake, no one at our table left hungry. The meal definitely answered our seafood craving as Bo and I don’t have access to good, fresh seafood in Geneva.

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Not ready to end the night after dinner, we walked across the street for one last pint. Listening to  traditional Irish music, performed by two fiddlers, was a great way to end the evening.

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Today, following an Irish Breakfast at our bed & breakfast we are heading out on an Eco Tour which will take us to a local island to see puffins, dolphins, whales and other local wildlife!

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History’s Worst Marathon

Happy Thursday! The weekend is almost here. This week is all work and no fun, as I am trying to complete 12 looming items on my work To Do list before we fly to New York City. I hope you enjoy today’s post from Bo, which will take you down a bit of Olympic history as well as giving you another spot to add to your Travel board on Pinterest!

Yesterday, I learned that at the 1904 Summer Olympics, the 3rd Olympic games following the 1896 Athens games and the 1900 Paris Games, Thomas Hicks, the Gold medal winner of the marathon, ran a 3 hour and 28 minute marathon. However, to be fair, he came in second, though was given gold after it came to light that the winner traveled a third of the 26 miles in a car!  These days, his 3:28 marathon time wouldn’t have even qualified for Boston!

Thomas Hicks

Switzerland is well known as the land of fondue and chocolate as well as a country in which you can find world-class spas, skiing, and some of the most awe-inspiring views in the Alps.

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Due in part to its historical neutrality, Switzerland is also home to a great many important global institutions. The United Nations, FIFA, (watch the John Oliver video if you haven’t seen it), The Red Cross, and the International Olympic Committee all call Switzerland home.

Olympic Museum

Though I love the Olympics, and have called Geneva home for almost two years, until yesterday I had not yet made it to The Olympic Museum. Located in Lausanne, only a 45-minute train ride from Geneva, the official museum of the Olympic Movement sits on a hill with amazing views of Lac Leman and the Alps beyond. I first learned about the Museum last winter in a New York Times article that the Olympic Museum had then just recently reopened after a two-year $60 million renovation. I finally made the short journey to Lausanne yesterday, and it was well worth it. I love the Olympics, so perhaps I’m a bit biased, but I would recommend this as a must-see for anyone spending some time in Western Switzerland.

The museum is relatively small, and it is easy to see everything in just over an hour though you could spend significantly longer if you watched all the videos. It is split into three levels, each with a different theme. The first, “Olympic World” begins with a history of the Olympics starting with its origins in ancient Greece and continuing with Pierre de Coubertin’s inspired vision and successful Olympic revival with the 1896 games in Athens. In “Olympic World” you also find the history of the Olympic symbols such as the motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (Latin for "Faster, Higher, Stronger"), the five rings (representing five interlocked continents) and the flame.

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The Olympic flame relay torches have definitely shrunk over the years!

The next level is the “Olympic Games.” The exhibit is intentionally sparse and intended to celebrate the athletes of the games. As you enter, the right side celebrates the Winter Games, the left side celebrates the Summer Games and a small area in the back celebrate the Paralympics. Both the summer and winter sections are split into 3 – 4 small displays of memorabilia from a date range. These displays are surrounded by screens on which you can learn facts and watch highlights of the games from those years.

How would you like to compete in a major cycling race on this nice fixed gear model?

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Who knew that modern rifle competitors needed such a complex optical apparatus?

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The final level, called the “Olympic Spirit,” celebrates what it takes to be an Olympic athlete. Displays here range from life in the Olympic Village to the mental and physical preparation that the athletes undergo, to the evolution (and sometimes banning) of technology related to competition.

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This bike design was banned after the 1992 Games in Barcelona.

It is on this level that you can also find replicas of all the medals dating back to the 1896 games in Athens made from the original molds.

Overall, this was an amazing experience. It is exactly the right level of depth to hold your interest for the entire time and will leave you inspired and looking forward to the next Olympics.

Your turn: What is your favorite Olympic memory?

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Where to Eat & Drink in Barcelona

Where to eat and drink in Barcelona

A month later, Bo and I are still dreaming of our time in Barcelona. We fell head over heels for the city, due in part to the incredible food and bar scene. It’s been a long time since we’ve experienced four nights of meals where every, single dish leaves us wishing there were more. Once you decide to go to Barcelona, spend the next evening mapping out your restaurant and bar plan. Many of the spots are closed at least one night a week, and others fill up more than a month in advance. Similar to New York City, the array of restaurants and bars can be overwhelming but if you leverage Yelp and posts such as this, everything will work out just fine!

Restaurants

espai Kru – If you’re a seafood person, the Espai Kru tasting menu is an absolute must. As you know, we grew up right on the coast of Georgia, so we are harsh critics of seafood. This was one of the best meals we’ve had in ages. 

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Barraca – This was written up in the most recent 36 hours in Barcelona as a great place to get paella.  While neither of us were crazy about paella, in general, the vibe was nice, and the views of the beach and ocean are great. In addition, we enjoyed a few delicious appetizers, and the quality of their paella seemed better than any that we saw at other restaurants. Our seafood paella was packed with seafood!

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Dos Palillos -  This is another can’t miss spot even if you just sit at the bar and enjoy a couple of tapas and a glass of cava.  The chef / proprietor here is an El Bulli alum and received a Michelin star soon after opening this small Japanese influenced small plates restaurant. Little bites like flash-fried avocado were amazingly creative and knocked us out of our seats.  Evidently its hard to get a reservation in the back for the tasting menu, but the bar upfront and terrace area are first-come, first-served. We  so it was great for a relaxing snack at like 7PM before a late dinner.

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Tapeo – In between the morning and afternoon portion of our walking tour, we had one hour to grab lunch. Luckily we found this little tapas gem on Yelp. Eight tapas later and a pitcher of white wine sangria,  we left highly impressed.  It’s a perfect spot for a casual dinner or lunch if you are walking around the El Born neighborhood.

IMG_0243IMG_0245 Pepito – We needed to find a place that was open for dinner on Easter and our concierge made us reservations here.  The entire dinner and experience exceeded our expectations. Think perfectly executed Spanish food in an intimate setting. In fact, it reminded us a lot of Gramercy Tavern in New York City.  In another city, this might be a standout but in Barcelona, the food scene is so good that this one kind of fades into the background.  Again, the execution was perfect, service was great, but it doesn’t have the pizzazz that other restaurants in the city have.

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Tickets – Mark on your calendar one month out and log-on to the Tickets website to try to get reservations or call your concierge.  This is supposed to be something special.  They were closed for Easter when we were in Barcelona but in her 48 Hours in Barcelona recap, my friend Casey said that dinner at Tickets is “the top restaurant experience of my life.”  

Drinks

La Vinoteca Torres – Our hotel concierge suggested this wine bar as they not only serve wine but they also sell it at a discount! Bodegas Torres is a family winery that has now expanded and has properties in Spain, the US and Chile.  We spent two hours creating our own wine flight and tasting experience. The staff helped teach us about the wine and then guide us towards a dozen or so bottles which we brought back to Geneva! One of the added benefits is that they sell their wine at a discount versus menu prices.

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Ultramarinos Hendrick’s Bar – Barcelona started the whole infused gin and tonic craze and Ultramarinos is one of the best.  They probably have 20 different flavor combinations and the staff is very nice.  My favorite drink of the evening was their lime, mint and pineapple gin and tonic. All the fruit an herb ingredients are freshly muddled in front of you at the bar! How’s that for fresh?

 

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