My cozy Dublin list reflects nearly 20 years of favourite special places and flavors.
Dublin is a cool city. I am not a cool person. And herein lies the root of my problem with it comes to recommending things to see and do in the Irish capital. I can't tell you a thing about hip bars, trendy music venues, or any of the amazing shops led by a new generation of makers and creators. I'm not much better when it comes to chic restaurants, festivals, or exhibits. Alas, people ask me for recommendations for their Dublin city breaks all the time. This autumn alone, two sets of dear friends are going there and I couldn't do much more but issue an impassioned plea for them to visit my favourite bakery. Not exactly cutting edge stuff.
But all of a sudden, I thought that, maybe, it might just be enough. After all, lots of people are eager to share why they think Dublin is cool. But who's talking about about what makes Dublin cozy? Me, that's who! Who says that little bakeries aren't the best part of a city, anyway?
At last, I'm ready to own my Dublin recommendations. Here are the cozy places, flavors, and spots that I visit again and again in Dublin. Better luck next time, hot clubs.
In search of the ultimate travel coziness in Italy, we fell in love with Orvieto - oh, and Orvieto wine too!
Is there anything cozier than stumbling into a delightfully snug wine bar with a full roaring fire at the end of a long travel day? Perhaps the only thing better is when said wine bar also doubles as a spectacular restaurant - and is owned by one of the kindest families you've ever met. This very scenario was our introduction to Orvieto wine, food, and family - and it set a new bar for hospitality, not just for all other Italian towns but indeed everywhere we travel.
Here's what made Orvieto such a wonderfully cozy destination for us, including our beloved wine bar and our new favourite hotel, lovingly decorated by local artists.
We found the best things to do in Concord New Hampshire - all while on a tight budget. But could we save enough to make our $200 travel challenge a success?
I often start a lot of blog posts by explaining that a certain destination has been on my travel bucket list for a long time, or that I've read a lot about a place and thus jumped at the chance to visit when an opportunity presented itself. But not Concord. The state capital of New Hampshire wasn't on my radar, not one little bit, when we booked our trip. However, travel in general was on my mind in a big way. I had returned from the always inspiring Women in Travel Summit and was highly motivated to see more of the cities around me. I instructed Ryan to find a place within a 6 hour drive that would cost $50 a night and, just like that, I was researching the best things to do in Concord NH, making lists of local cheap eats, and getting excited to discover something new.
The end result was one of the best spontaneous travel decisions we've ever made. Concord NH is just LOVELY! And it was filled with all sorts of me-ish places to explore. From an amazing bookstore to a delicious doughnut stand - I was hooked! But, of course, I wasn't in Concord just to have a great time. I was thinking of all my dear readers as well! I wanted to put Concord to the test with my $200 Challenge. The premise is simple enough. Can two people travel for two days and spend just $200? The $200 Challenge has to include clean, safe accommodations with a hot shower, three proper meals a day, and enough activities to fill two days. With past Challenges including London, Boston, and Washington, DC, how would Concord hold up?
Your value-focused Pantheon guide: What to know when visiting the Pantheon for the first time.
There are few places in Western Europe as important as Rome's Pantheon. This ancient temple turned Catholic church is unmatched in terms of its significance regarding architectural, political, and religious importance. It's an amazing place to visit and I make a point of stopping by every time I'm in Rome. If your plans will take you into Rome for the first time or the tenth, we have the ultimate Pantheon guide to help you get the most out of your visit and make the most of your money. Here's what you need to know before you go.
The Véloroute des Bleuets is my favourite of all cycling Quebec adventures - even in the off season!
With sunny blue skies and a bracing wind, I bravely mounted my bike to go searching for blueberries in the Quebec countryside. But if you're looking at my jacket and scarf in the photo above and thinking it looks far too cold for blueberry season, you'd be partially right. You see, I wasn't in search of blueberries to eat! I was searching for Quebec's famous blueberry bike route, known as the "véloroute des bleuets".
Made up of over 20 different short to medium length rides through the blueberry-producing countryside, the véloroute des bleuets circles around Lac St Jean, not far from the northern Quebec city of Saguenay. The route includes towns such as Alma (my personal favourite), Saint-Felicien, Roberval, and Sainte-Monique, as well as Pointe-Taillon National Park, and includes terrain suitable for all riders.
Looking for affordable things to do in Portland, Maine? My list focuses on posh treats that are all under $20!
Some links within this blog post are affiliate links, which means we are paid a small commission should you make a purchase . I was in Portland for the Women in Travel Summit and some of these experiences were the result of tours which were included in my conference registration fees.
Portland, Maine, is the kind of budget-friendly small city that frugal travelers such as myself are thrilled to explore. With a gorgeous ocean front location, compact streets which are easy to explore, and plenty of low cost attractions, you get great bang for your buck here. And if you want to feel a bit spoiled, you don't have to break the bank. I've got five sumptuous, luxurious, feel-like-a-millionaire things to do in Portland, Maine, that all ring in under $20. In fact, some are even FREE! Get ready to indulge!
Kingston events don't get much more memorable than a meet up with the city's best makers and creators.
Nick Allinson isn’t just a woodworker. I suspect he may just be a bit of a room worker as well. Within a minute of meeting him, he was drilling me not on the other makers and creators I was interviewing later that day in Kingston, Ontario, but rather what I’d be eating and where. I had barely mentioned a popular breakfast place that was on my list when he interrupted. "No! Not that one! You need to go here" before insisting I write down the name of what he says is the city’s finest breakfast joint (Northside Espresso) and telling me the story of the owners (Katie and Jess), who are from Australia.
In the same breath, Nick insisted we also visit Stone City Ales, arguing that they’re the finest brewery in the city and utterly unlike some suspected imposter brewers (say it ain’t so!) After a few minutes, he was waxing poetic about the city’s best florist, LSP Designs, and heaping praise upon his fellow makers and creators, who he credits for launching an amazingly innovative program to bring travelers and makers together at the most unlikely of venues - hotels. Yes, hotels!
Of all the fantastic things to do in Ellicottville, the Griffis Sculpture Park was my favourite. Here's why.
Participation in the press trip that brought me to Ellicottville was part of the Travel Bloggers Exchange (TBEX) conference. This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through said link, we'll be paid a small commission and we thank you for your support.
Hugging a trio of giant metallic mushrooms? It's all in a day's work when you're hanging out in Ellicottville, New York. This village of a few hundred people in western New York state is full of surprises! It's a lesson I first learned when I had a wild "anti-adventure" moment while riding on a mountain coaster. And it was reinforced when I visited the Griffis Sculpture Park, an interactive art and nature experience that is unlike anything else in the United States. It didn't take long before it wasy my favourite of all the things to do in Ellicottville and I suspect most visitors would likely agree.
In the Tuscan hill town of Volterra, a small museum safeguards the legacy of a lost global powerhouse, the Etruscans.
If you were hanging around Europe sometime between 700 and 500 BC, you'd know that everyone who was anyone was Etruscan. They were the final word in all things commerce, trade, politics, art, and architecture, dominating life in what is now modern day Tuscany, Umbria, and Latium. Heck, before the Etruscans rolled into town, Rome was little more than a sewer filled settlement. The Greeks wanted to be as cool as them and everyone else wanted to kill them. Their growth, power, and influence was immeasurable, unstoppable. Until suddenly it wasn't.
And now all that's left of them is a dusty museum in Volterra.
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