I will try to keep it short for this Wordless Wednesday post! However, my heart is overflowing with thanks for a wonderful trip up to New Hampshire for Thanksgiving. We just returned from five wonderful days in New England. The weather was crisp and cold with a bit of flurries in the air. We spent each day enjoying all the local sights.
Our Black Friday was spent touring the local artisan shops in Gilford and Meredith and we ended our day with a lovely lunch at Giuseppes Restaurant. If you are looking for gluten free pizza, visit Giuseppes! Over the holiday weekend, we visited a local craft fair and open house at Lake Opechee Inn & Spa. Some day I would like to stay at this Inn and I already have my room picked out! The Dottie Room overlooks the lake and has beautiful views of the sunset. I had a marvelous demo of the spa's warm wax paraffin dip and would definitely put it on my list of things to do during my stay! The staff was so friendly and helpful. We wrapped up our visit with a tour of a local vineyard: Stone Gate Vineyard. Who knew you could grow grapes way up there?!
What did you all do with your long holiday weekend?
I've been back in Virginia for an entire week and am just now getting to share these beautiful foliage images from my trip to New Hampshire! Unfortunately, I picked up a flu bug on my travels and have been hunkered down in my bed for most of the week trying to get back to my normal healthy self! I had high hopes for our trip…full of hikes through colorful forests, visits to local lighthouses, and walks on the coastal, sandy beaches. However, it rained every day making sightseeing almost impossible. We braved the weather one day with my parents and drove up to the White Mountains to visit The Mount Washington Hotel.
Mount Washington Hotel
"Conceived by industrialist Joseph Stickney, this National Historic Landmark opened in 1902 and has been attracting generations of families ever since." This place is absolutely amazing. If the drive up the entrance does not impress you, walking into the lobby will. The wide open space full of comfortable seating, a large wood fireplace, old school checker games and a view out the back to the landscaped golf greens makes you feel right at home. It was a bit foggy or we would have been able to see Mount Washington itself.
On a day with a bit more sunshine, I could picture my husband and I lounging on the outdoor porch reading the morning paper. For the more adventuresome couples, the hotel offered blankets for those looking to cuddle up and soak in the beautiful colored foliage.
While at The Mount Washington Hotel, we happened upon Stickney's Restaurant. They were quite helpful when it came to my gluten free food allergies and made accommodations for me. I started lunch off with a warm chai tea and enjoyed my view out the window. I could have sat there all day. A blazing fireplace was across the room and we were quite warm and cozy. I had a burger with grilled onions and a delightful side of fruit for lunch. Our food was prepared promptly and everyone gave it a thumbs up.
The rain subsided a bit after lunch and we ventured outside. The views continued to take my breath away. I kept wondering why I had not visited this wonderful place more often while I lived in New England!
We spied a small castle from the rooftop of the hotel. Who knew there was a castle in Bretton Woods?!
I'll leave you here with a few of the most colorful images I have from our trip. My grandparents took a drive up to see the foliage less than seven days later and all you see here was gone. Such a shame the foliage season is so short! Reminds me to take nothing for granted.
Another blog post to my favorite city of Newburyport, MA! While visiting New England on our week long vacation, my husband and I spent an entire day in Newburyport. We were able to get a few hours of sight-seeing and shopping in before the rains came down again. Every day of our seven day vacation included rain. However, it was hard to be disappointed when we were surrounded with such quaint, historic beauty. I absolutely adore the brick buildings and flower boxes that adorn the restaurants and boutiques in this lovely city.
If you are gluten free or have food allergies, Newburyport has several options for you! We had our morning snack at Revitalive Cafe. They have fantastic smoothies, soups and desserts to choose from. They just happened to be located right near WishBasket, which was oh, so convenient for us!
It was not long before our appetites were ready for lunch! My favorite part of vacation, eating out!! Not Your Average Joe's is located right in the middle of downtown Newburyport. It has indoor and outdoor seating. We chose to eat outside on the square. People watching happens to be one of our past times and it was a perfect location for it. I was beyond excited to see the large gluten free menu options. Not Your Average Joe's offers salads, sandwiches on GF bread, soups and more. I had the turkey BLT sandwich with a side salad. I saved most of my bread to finish off their amazing dipping sauce!
Once the downpours began, we decided to seek shelter in one of my favorite cafes in downtown Newburyport: Souffles. It is a little shop that sells unique kitchen accessories as well as coffee. I ordered a chai latte with almond milk. A perfect choice for a cold,blustery New England day!
With the wind and rain we are currently experiencing in Virginia Beach, Virginia, I almost feel like I am back on vacation. I think I'll head downstairs and make myself some tea!
This past week has been a whirlwind. With fall approaching and now here, my schedule is booking quickly with family photo sessions, travel and events. Shine with Jennifer Leigh will be at the 32nd Annual Arts and Crafts Bazaar next month at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church in Virginia Beach. It has been a busy week designing albums, business cards, my booth setup and marketing handouts. Now it's time for the best part. Waiting for the packages to arrive!
I was so excited to welcome the fall season here last week! Who doesn't love the colored leaves, apple cider, crisp nights, pumpkins at the front door and talk of holidays to come?! This is my favorite time of year. When I lived in New England, my friends and I would get together each fall and harvest grapes at a local vineyard, Flag Hill. It was the highlight of my year. We would pick grapes for a couple hours, eat a huge dinner, crush grapes with our feet and dance the night away. I was so sad to hear that the tradition of Harvestfest ended this year, but I am thankful I had the chance to experience it! What is your favorite fall memory?
I'll be hopping on a jet plane tomorrow for New England! I'm hoping the cold nights they have been having will bring out those beautiful yellows, oranges and reds in the trees. Have a great week and make sure to take advantage of this beautiful season!
One of the hardest parts of traveling abroad for me is the fear of eating something I am allergic to and being sick for days. Gluten free travel is pretty hard and makes relaxing on vacation quite difficult as with each meal comes the task of finding some place to eat where food isn’t contaminated or contains gluten. My past two stays at Sandal’s Resorts have been such a blessing as they are more than willing to work with individual’s that have food allergies.
Upon arriving at Sandals Whitehouse European Village and Spa in Westmoreland, Jamaica, Chef Laire met with us immediately in the lobby. He walked us to the buffet for lunch and let me know what I could eat and agreed to sit down with us and map out an eating plan for the entire week.
Based upon my stay at the Sandals in Antigua, I expected Chef Laire to let me pick something from the menu and de-glutenize it for me at each meal. Boy was I pleasantly surprised! I never had to look at the menu as he personally prepared amazing meals me for at every lunch and dinner. Some items weren’t even on the menus! Even though his job as chef was incredibly demanding and time sensitive, he never made me feel as if I was a nuisance. He always greeted me with a smile, asked me how my day was going and brought me beautiful, tasty meals.
What really places Chef Laire above all the rest at Sandals is how he went out of his way to make me feel special on my birthday. Partway through the day he saw my husband and I enjoying a coffee at the café and stopped by to wish me a “Happy Birthday” and to tell me he was preparing something special for me for dinner. That night, he prepared a three course meal for my husband and I. Each plate was almost too beautiful to eat. At the end of dinner, he came walking out with a gluten free birthday cake and half the kitchen staff singing “Happy Birthday” to me! I’ve never been so honored. Chef Laire took a few minutes to enjoy a piece of cake with us and we chatted for a bit finding we had many things in common. What a special moment and perfect ending to a wonderful vacation in Jamaica!
If you are looking for a relaxing, tropical vacation and have food allergies, look into Sandals and make sure to ask for Chef Laire Robinson!