Stowe Travel Guide

One of the best parts about living in Boston is the close proximity we have to many wonderful areas – New York City, the White Mountains, Cape Cod / Nantucket / The Vineyard, Montreal, Philly, The Adirondacks & more. A weekend favorite of ours in winter is definitely the easy three hour drive up to Vermont for a fun-filled ski weekend. Last year we spent a lot of time at Sugarbush, but this year we have primarily been at Stowe. We both like it better as the mountain is nicer, more updated, more organized and there is a lot to do for everyone – even if you don’t like to ski!
Green Goddess Cafe (in downtown Stowe): A cute local restaurant with a coffee shop feel. They’ve got sandwiches, homemade soups, salads, smoothies & coffee. It’s a casual, fun place to grab a bite with a friend or dine solo. My favorite for lunch.
The Kitchen (in downtown Stowe): Great local spot with sandwiches, salads & soups. It’s a great place to grab “to go” food for the mountain or for hiking. We’ve actually never dined here but I’ve heard great things.
Doc Ponds (in downtown Stowe): Good for dinner as they have full entrees and an extensive draft beer menu. The perfect spot for warm, comfort food in winter.
Prohibiton Pig (in downtown Waterbury): One of my favorite local spots, this staple is best when you grab a spot at the bar, try a local brew (over 20 on tap) and order a yummy burger. I also really like their pickled veggie appetizer (so good!). They’ve got a tap room next door as well so you could do a beer tasting while you wait for a table.
The Reservoir (in downtown Waterbury): A great spot if you want to grab a drink, shoot some pool, listen to music or sit down to eat some bar food. It’s usually pretty crowded and fun people watching. They have good bar food, including buffalo wings, turkey burgers and fish tacos. This is a great place to stop on Friday night on your way into town.
Bluestone Pizza (in downtown Waterbury): Everyone keeps raving about their wood fire pizza, but I must admit that we haven’t tried it yet though it’s high on our list. They have a million different types and given that American Flatbread is the closest pizza joint in the area (still a good 25-30 minutes away), I’m so happy to see this place here!
The Skinny Pancake (Stowe Mountain Lodge): Though it wouldn’t be my first choice, i’ts the perfect place for a quick breakfast around the mountain. It’s located in the lodge area which is super convenient, but inevitably overpriced.
The Matterhorn (near the mountain): This is the best après-ski spot in town and if you ever visit Stowe, you have to go here after the ski day for a drink. It does get really crowded so get there by like 4:00 for a spot if you can. They typically have a band and it’s a very fun, lively crowd. I even hear they have good pizza!
Mansfield Lodge (at the base of the mountain) : Probably the most convenience of all places, you can’t end a ski day without stopping in here to good to grab a beer and thaw out after a day on the mountain. They also usually have a live band and it’s fun for an hour or so until people head home to get a hot shower.
Idletyme Brewing (in downtown Stowe): This local brewery is best when it’s nice out as they have a huge outdoor bar and patio with fire pit. You can sip on beer flights and munch on bar food (burgers, sammie’s, salads) and have a beautiful afternoon.
Alchemist Brewery (in downtown Stowe): While it’s not exactly a “hang out” spot, you’ll want to trust me when I say you should go here and try some beer in the tasting room. Alchemist was made famous on their “Heady Topper” double IPA but they’ve stayed solid and cranked out a ton more local favorites, including Focal Banger. You can also buy their beer directly here, which is nice since it’s typically hard to find in town. 

So, the obvious thing to do when you come to Stowe is to go skiing or snowboarding. You can get a day pass, a season pass or an Epic pass (we have). Stowe has the highest peak in Vermont and definitely has that “resort” feel if that’s what you’re looking for. However, there is so much more to do in the area! Whether you come in another season, or if you’re just not that into skiing (like me!), I’ve compiled a list of my favorite non-skiing activities to do around town. Most are family friendly as well:
Stowe Mountain Lodge: At the base of the mountain, this is the absolute best location you could stay in and by far the most convenient. While it’s not cheap, this is a good route for those who can afford it and want to have everything at their disposal – ski lessons, ice skating, gym, spa, etc. It’s a really beautifully built resort.
Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa: This resort is built within the heart of Stowe, so you’ve got access to the local downtown shops, breweries, restaurants & more. It’s similar to Stowe Mountain Lodge in that they’ve got a gym, spa, dining, etc. but it’s not located on the mountain.  A nice alternative.
Topnotch Resort: We have quite a few friends who have stayed here and really enjoyed it. They’ve got rooms, suites and homes to rent at the resort. It has a lot of activities as well, including tennis, horseback riding, a spa and more.
AirBnB/VRBO: This is what a lot of people do as Stowe can be extremely pricey. If you’re here for a long weekend or with more than four people, this may be your most economical route (a lot of condos have ski busses that will pick you up on the way to the mountain).
Ski House: For us locals, this is the best thing to do. Going on on a “ski share” with a group can be a more economical option than staying even two weekends out of the whole year. We pay a seasonal fee and the house is ours to use, whenever we like.

the quintessential Vermont covered bridge


San Diego Travel Guide

I was lucky enough to spend a long weekend with two of my best gal pals from childhood and we had the best time. There’s something about friends that you’ve known forever – you can go without seeing them for a few months, yet you back up like no time had passed. That’s exactly what this trip was – catching up, sharing stories and just having the great conversation with my favorite people. Like I said, the best time! Given that I was only there for a few days, we shoved in as much as we could, but of course, there are so many places that we didn’t make it to.


Beautiful Pacific Beach with two of my best friends


Raglan Public House, Ocean Beach: a local spot perfect for burgers & beers. They’ve got an adorable outdoor spot with a huge greenery wall and overhead lights. Ideal for a low-key night.

OB Noodle House, Ocean Beach: Across the street from Raglan, this Asian inspired spot has a great bar with tvs, an indoor/outdoor vibe and a full crowd. Great neighborhood place.

Wonderland Ocean Pub, Ocean Beach: With a rooftop open to the water, this is the local spot to go for killer views. We enjoyed fresh fish, salads and local with a view of the ocean. A bit pricey but you’re paying for location.

Backyard Kitchen & Tap, Pacific Beach: We came here strictly for the beer, specifically the Cali Creamin’ & Benching Beaver PB Milk Stout, both on nitro. The nitro beer scene in San Diego is huge and it was new to me – we enjoyed sampling the delicious beers while sitting outside on their exposed patio. We didn’t eat, but it looked to be standard bar food.

PB Ale House, Pacific Beach: We started upstairs on their huge deck with heat lamps (it got so chilly at night) where we did a local beer flight, but the best spot was downstairs next to the fire pit. We sipped on some brews while watching the sunset. And what a sunset it was! Wow, I forgot how beautiful California is with the red and pink skies.

Café Coyote, Old Town: Hands down some of the best Mexican food I have ever had. The jalapeno margaritas and salsa had the perfect amount of spice. The fish taco & shrimp enchiladas were both outstanding and incredibly fresh. But the real star of the show was the homemade chips – something about local, house made fresh tortilla chips doesn’t even compare to the junk we buy in the grocery store. The ladies were making the chips & tortillas in the window, which was fun to see. The entire Old Town was a lively, upbeat vibe and you really felt like you were in Mexico. I would love to go back and try another spot in this area – I have a feeling you can’t go wrong!

Pure Press, Cowles Mountain: The perfect treat after hiking for an hour or two, this smoothie hit the spot. All of the smoothies, juices & bowls looked delicious and mine was a mix of berries, vegan protein & spinach. So delicious and refreshing! We kept hearing about all of the amazing acai bowls here but this was the closest we got. Next time!

Ironside Fish & Oyster, Little Italy: If you want a trendy spot with great service and outstanding seafood, this is the spot. We absolutely loved everything about Ironside, from the décor to the rose on tap to the oysters. I had seared yellowtail over a fresh Caesar salad for my entrée, which was out of this world. We all licked our plates clean and agreed that this was one of our favorite spots and great for a girl’s night out!

The Prado, Balboa Park: We stumbled across this place while exploring the park and lucked out that it was happy hour on the back patio. With beautiful scenery and an inexpensive happy hour menu, we each had one drink and shared a few small bites. It was the perfect spot to chill for an hour and refuel ourselves.

Great Maple, Hillcrest: Move over smoked salmon plate, I’ve found my new favorite brunch item. Holy sh*t y’all, if you haven’t had Chilaquiles, I recommend that you find some immediately. They’re basically Mexican breakfast nachos and they’re to die for. Again, the local tortilla chips made all of the difference. To balance it out, we shared these and a salad but truthfully, we had a hard time deciding. The brunch menu is amazing and I can see why the place was fully packed the entire time we were there.

Dukes, La Jolla: An ocean front spot in La Jolla, this restaurant did not disappoint. The mahi-mahi fish tacos were so fresh and the view was even better. Make sure to snag a table outside on the patio if you can. The restaurant has a Hawaiian theme and there was a lot that looked great on the menu but I was craving fish tacos – excellent choice.

Poke, everywhere: I couldn’t remember the exact name of the place we went but I know there are a million to choose from. Having heard about poke bowls forever, I was thrilled to finally have one. Let me tell you, this did not disappoint. Basically, a deconstructed sushi roll, if you like raw fish this is the best. Mine had spicy tuna & salmon over lettuce, topped with seaweed salad, cucumber, avocado and spicy soy sauce. Yum!


The stunning waterfront view from Dukes in La Jolla


There’s nothing like a California sunset!


Hike Cowles Mountain: With beautiful 360 degree view of San Diego (all the way to Mexico), this was one of the most beautiful hikes! Our route was about 1.5 miles each way and took around 75 minutes, including wandering around at the top. The parking is easy, the entry is free and there are bathrooms at the bottom. I heard that locals will do this often and I can see why – it’s quick, challenging & fun!

Explore Balboa Park: This 1,200 acre park is home to over 16 museums, endless gardens, various performing arts centers & multiple shops and cafes. We enjoyed just walking around and exploring. We stumbled upon quite a few gorgeous gardens and had happy hour at an adorable outdoor café. There’s so much to do here and it seems like they have a lot going on for those interested in the arts.

San Diego Zoo: We didn’t go here on this trip, but I have been before. It is consistently voted the number 1 zoo in the world, due to the wide variety of animals. I remember loving it and because the weather is pretty much perfect in SD, you can visit it year-round. It’s definitely worth going to once in your life, especially if you have kids or enjoy animals.

Visit Torrey Pines Nature Reserve: This is where my friend was married on the beach and, wow, it was stunning!  We hiked up to the top and then down to the beach, where we walked along for a while back to the car. Having the mountains meet the beach is especially unique and the fact that it’s a well-protected reserve makes it even more beautiful. The golf course is nearby (which you’ve probably heard of), as is downtown La Jolla, so you could really make a day of it.

Walk around Mission Bay: We took the pup for a long walk around the bay which was filled with bikers, rollerbladers, runners, etc. It’s a great spot for locals to go if they want to get some outdoor exercise while avoiding traffic and cars. The entire loop is about 8 miles so I can see why a lot of people who are training for marathons run it!

Well, there you have it – my city guide to San Diego. I’m hoping to visit again and add many more restaurants, bars, beaches & local attractions into my repertoire as I’m sure the list is never-ending. We had a fabulous time and hope to return soon!


View from the top of Cowles Mountain


The beautiful beaches of Torrey Pines Nature Reserve

A Snowy Seaport Staycation


When my friends over at these two Seaport hotels contacted me to stay, I knew I was in for a treat. As a lifelong, loyal SPG girl, I always try and stay at their brand hotels when I travel. They have been consistently comfortable, well-managed and within my price range. At first, I wasn’t sure which hotel would be a better fit for my husband and I so we opted to stay one night at each. The two hotels are similar in many ways but have distinct differences so I want to provide an honest comparison of the two, to help you determine which is the better fit for you next time you’re here in Boston.

a snowy seaport staycation

The Location


Since the hotels share a parking lot, they’re practically in the exact same location. Located on D street (pretty much smack dab between Southie & Seaport), the location could not be better. Especially for summer. Their front yard is “Lawn on D”, which is a huge summer attraction with food, drink, games and live music. It’s definitely the spot to be when it’s nice outside!

If you go left out of the hotels you hit the West Broadway region of Southie which has a variety of awesome bars and restaurants: Capo, Loco, Coppersmith (killer roof deck), Lincoln and more. You could even jog or bike over to Castle Island and hit the beach!

If you go right out of the hotels you’re at the Seaport waterfront which not only has a ton of restaurants (By Chloe, Row 34, Flour Bakery, Committee, Legal Harborside) but also has quite a few new gyms (Equinox, Soul Cycle, Core Power) and attractions (ICA museum, Harpoon Brewery, Laugh Boston, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion).

The Similarities


The adorable setup that was waiting for Mela in our room

My initial reaction to both hotels was the welcome feeling I received from the friendly staff. The check-ins were quick, easy & painless. Both have a wide variety of amenities that I believe all hotels should include: free WiFi, full access 24/7 gym, indoor heated pool, complimentary coffee & water bottles and a refrigerator in your room.

The best part? They were both dog friendly! In fact, Mela was set up with an adorable dog bed, dog blanket, food & drink bowl, a tennis ball, frisbee, some extra bags & treats. It was so cute and they really thought of everything to make Mela feel at home!

The Differences

While the hotels shared some similarities, they were very different.

The rooms:



We loved the large living space in our Element hotel room! ( top | jeans | boots, similar )

The Aloft room was small but functional. It felt very New York – tiny closet, minimal space and wouldn’t be comfortable for more than 2 nights. The Element room was huge – we had a living space, a full kitchen and an oversized bedroom. This is obviously better suited for families and those looking for an extended stay.



Aloft’s “grab & go” versus a continental breakfast at Element

The Aloft had a variety of “grab and go” options – good for someone on a work trip. We didn’t eat breakfast here since it wasn’t free but I did grab a coffee in the morning. The Element, on the other hand, had a full complimentary breakfast full of hot options, yogurt, fruit, baked goods, etc. Again, it was clearly targeted toward families. The downside was that they didn’t refill things when we were there at 10am so we didn’t have a chance to try it.

The Vibe:

This is where the hotels really differ, and it’s evident from the moment you walk in. The Aloft has a modern, hip vibe. The lobby is warm and inviting with music playing and a huge lounge area, including a cool bar, a fireplace, a pool table and various board games. The furniture has a CB2/West Elm feel – a lot of grays and blues with pops of color and abstract art. We had a nightcap here and found that a lot of other people had our same idea. It was a fun place to be!

Fun Fact: They host “paint night” here every weekend evening, which is a wildly popular and fun event for a girl’s night out!

The Element, however, did not have a warm or gathering feel. The hotel is hyper focused on being Green and minimal. There is no lobby bar, no lounge area, no music playing. You just want to get to your room and then get out. It’s definitely not the place to be if you want to hang out of meet other guests. The good news is the Aloft is right across the parking lot so you can walk right over if you’re craving that type of environment

The Verdict


We loved hanging out & playing pool in the Aloft Remix lounge

Both of these hotels are good options for those of you looking for a weekend Staycation or coming to visit Boston for the weekend. Neither has a spa, a full-service restaurant or an outdoor pool (very few Boston hotels do) so they’re fun weekend getaways but definitely not “resort” feeling or super high end. While we enjoyed our Staycation and one night at each hotel, we definitely preferred the Aloft over the Element. It was the right fit for us and we really enjoyed the vibe and the lobby area. If I were traveling with children, however, the Element would have been the better fit.


The beautiful Boston waterfront, just steps from the hotels

Thank you to the Aloft & Element Hotels for sponsoring this post. While the accommodations we received were complimentary, the honest thoughts & opinions were my own. I always am 100% transparent and truthful with my reviews.

A Day in Munich

On our way back from our honeymoon in Africa, we opted to have a long layover in Munich as it was the start of Oktoberfest. Neither of us had been to Germany and this seemed like the perfect time to get a taste of the Bavarian life!


Getting into Town

Munich has a very simple and intuitive public transit system. We headed straight into town from the airport with no problems. The train runs about every ten minutes and only takes 45 minutes to get into town so this is easy access for those of you with long layovers. From the airport, you can easily take the S-Bahn train (S1 or S8) into Marienplatz, which will put you off right in the heart of the city. The fare is only about $12 and there’s even a tourism office right when you get off if you have any questions.

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Once in Town

Forego walking around or taking the bus and rent bikes to explore the city. Munich is such a cute, charming city (similar in look to Zurich or Amsterdam) with endless cobblestone roads, winding streets, gorgeous architecture and a plethora of lush flowers and window boxes. I would have loved to bike around and get lost in the city but Mother Nature had other plans for us. Hopefully next time!

Spend time in Marienplatz. Often referred to as the “heart of Munich”, this central square (where the train drops you off) has incredible architecture, dating back to the 1600s. The town hall is located here and we heard that they’ve got a stunning Christmas market if you happen to be here during the holiday season. You walk about 2 minutes in every direction and there are huge outdoor beer gardens, restaurants, shops, grocery stores, and more.

Stroll through Viktualienmarkt (just a few blocks over from Marienplatz) – it’s basically a huge farmers market plus some. There are tons of open front restaurants with fresh baked pastries, hot coffee, fresh fruit, veggies, sausages, etc. There’s even a huge beer garden that opens at 9am, for all of you early birds!

Grab a happy hour adult beverage or night cap at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof rooftop lounge. The hotel is a few blocks from the heart of the city and their open air terrace offers a great panoramic view of the city. Unfortunately, it was raining the day we were here so the outdoor area was closed; however, it’s top on our list for next time.

Head to a local restaurant and experience a true “Bavarian breakfast”. Fresh off the plane, we walked a mere two blocks from our train stop to the Schneider Brauhaus to see what the hype was all about.  The lederhosen clad waitress didn’t speak a lick of English, but she pointed to the “Bavarian breakfast” on the menu, which consists of two sausages (eggs for me), a basket of fresh baked pretzels and a wheat beer. The craziest part? There must have been over 45 people in the place having the exact same meal – at 10am on a Tuesday, y’all! I’m not sure if anyone works there but whatever they’re doing, it looks way more fun than my typical Tuesday morning.

Lastly, no trip to Munich is complete without visiting an authentic beer garden! We went to the biggest and most popular beer hall in all of Munich, Hofbrahaus. The place has multiple floors, an indoor beer hall and an outdoor biergarten. There are hundreds of family style tables, where you sit down, order beers & make friends. There was a live Bravarian band playing and they were incredible – when’s the last time you saw an ensemble of a tuba, two trumpets and an accordion? The entire vibe was upbeat, lively and so much fun.

Though we only spent one day here, we just adored the city – the people, the scenery, the food (and drink of course!). It’s a lively, fun, friendly town with so much to offer. Throughout all of Munich, we just couldn’t believe the stunning architecture and colors. It was like a big maze of streets that felt very old world. Each block presented a new square more charming than the last!

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beautiful Marienplatz

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a typical store front in Viktualienmarkt

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the Hotel Bayerischer Hof rooftop terrace

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Cape of Good Hope Road Trip


If you’ve been following along on my honeymoon recaps, you know that we spent a week in Cape Town eating and drinking, we climbed a lot, we enjoyed both Stellenbosch & Franschhoek wine countries and took in all the sights that South Africa has to offer.

One “must do” that people kept recommending was the road trip to the Cape of Good Hope. Now, we considered hiring a driver but at $200+ for the day, we decided to be adventurous and drive ourselves. HA! Let me just remind y’all – in South Africa, the cars were small, old, stick shifts and they drive on the left side, like the British. And this place is hilly! We came thisclose to returning the car about 30 minutes in and calling it quits but we persevered on and have some funny stalling out driving videos to remember it by.

Though the drive says it’s only about 3 hours on paper, you should expect about 3x as much due to traffic, two lane highways, frequent stops, etc. In fact, the entire trip took us about 9 hours from start to finish and we tried to be efficient, therefore foregoing a few places we would have enjoyed staying longer. Here is the route we took:

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Stop 1: Muizenberg

It takes about an hour to get to Muizenberg, a popular beach town in the False Bay (most cities in Cape Town are identified by which bay it’s in). In fact, it’s considered the “birthplace of surfing” so naturally Terry wanted to try. I was trying to ignore the “caution – great white shark” signs everywhere. And I mean everywhere. I think I held my breath the entire hour he was in the water. But he had a blast and I enjoyed laying on the beach, photographing the ever-so-famous colored huts and enjoying the views. We had lunch at Tiger’s Milk, which has a stunning view of the water. We could have stayed here much longer if time allowed!


colorful huts line the beach

Stop 2: Simon’s Town

While surfing was high on my husband’s list, the penguins were at the top of mine! There is absolutely nothing cuter than a penguin colony at the beach, y’all! They even have these little huts for them to sleep in, like a little apartment complex. We just ooh’d and awe’d our way through this adorable place. There are hundreds of penguins and some are sunbathing, others riding in waves, a few sleeping or mating, just living their best life. It’s an absolute “must do” if you are ever in S.A. to come here. Also, we picked up some great souvenirs by local villages here (maybe a tourist trap but who knows, I love my wooden zebra salad tongs!)


the residents of Boulder Beach

Stop 3: Cape of Good Hope

Many people turn around at Simon’s Town, but we opted to drive the full Cape of Good Hope route and head down to the Southern Tip at the Cape Peninsula. There’s a beautiful nature reserve with incredible wildlife, rocky coast view & some seriously blue-green water. I wish we had taken a picture at the Cape Point (that sign you see everyone with) but we were running short on time and wanted to make sure to allocate enough time back. Side note: when driving this route you must keep your doors and windows locked. Why? Baboons! I kid you not, there are aggressive, mean gangs of baboons that break into cars and steal your stuff. Don’t believe me? Google image search “baboons cape of good hope“. Picture #1 is my favorite.


so aggressive…looking for food

Stop 4: Kommetjie

There are a ton of routes to go back and many beach towns to stop at. Kommetjie is a super famous surfing spot so we just made a quick stop here at the local beach shop for some tshirts (for him) and some snacks (for me). The break was huge but we didn’t have time to surf, though I know Terry would have loved to. Another beautiful beach town.


how beautiful is this drive along the Western Cape beach side?!

Stop 5: Llandundo Beach

The drive from Kommetjie to Llandundo Beach reminded us so much of the Big Sur drive in California – stunning cliffs, rocky coastal highway, little to no guardrails. It was scary but beautiful. I couldn’t stop taking pictures. Llandundo is one of the most expensive beach towns in Cape Town because it’s probably the most beautiful. We were told that a few years back it got voted “most beautiful beach in the world” by T+L or one of the big travel magazines. I couldn’t agree more!


Llandundo’s water is breathtaking

Stop 6: Cape Town

Back home we went! The drive was very uphill but with only a few stalled situations, we made it out alive. All in all, we spent a full day driving up and down the Cape Town coasts and explored so much that this beautiful city has to offer. Whether you take a tour, hire a driver or drive yourself, I can’t recommend this day trip enough. There are so many hidden gems around Cape Town and this really allows you to explore a lot at once.


back in time to watch the SA sunset from the V&A waterfront

The Cape Winelands

If you’ve been following along on my recap of our South African honeymoon, you’ve already seen my post about the Devon Valley Hotel and the stunning Le Petite Ferme Hotel that we stayed at while in wine country. The Cape Winelands is a huge portion of the Western Cape, but the only two towns we visited were Franschhoek & Stellenbosch. The region has a Mediterranean style climate and a lot of Dutch influence. Stellenbosch is home to one of South Africa’s leading universities and has more of a “city” like feel, which Franschhoek has a quaint, more European small town feel. They both are home to many, many wineries and let me tell you – they are fantastic!

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Wineries to Visit

Kanankop (Stellenbosch): This winery, known for their reds (mainly pinotage & cab) was on a huge plot of land. The staff was super knowledgeable and bonus, they sell this wine in a store in Boston. We loved their Pinotage so much that we brought home a special reserve bottle to be opened on our five year anniversary!

Glenelly (Stellenbosch): The property was really beautiful as it feels like you’re walking into a secret garden! They’ve got a huge patio with hanging mason jar lights and a tasting room upstairs with a large deck overlooking the vineyards. This winery is owned by a badass 93 year old French woman (she is even on the label). They were also known for their reds (we came home with 2 bottles)

Waterford (Stellenbosch): Perhaps the best known winery, it has a more estate/corporate feel. The property is huge but the tasting room is surprisingly warm & cozy. The tastings are done at tables or sofas in front of their huge wood burning fireplace. It was pretty crowded, but in a good way. We did a private cellar tour which was fascinating. We also did the wine & chocolate pairing, which I highly recommend!

Delaire Graff (Stellenbosch): This estate is truly that…an estate. The property has lodging, a spa, multiple restaurants & of course, many acres of vineyards. If you stay here you really don’t need to leave the property. The service is outstanding and one of the most grand places we visited.

Mont Rochelle (Franschhoek): Owned by Sir Richard Branson, I must admit that this was one of my least favorite spots. While the place itself is very modern & cute inside, we didn’t love the wine. It was okay.

La Bourgogne (Franschhoek): What a cute, charming winery this was. You’re greeted by four adorable little dogs who live on the property, creating an immediately welcome vibe. We sat outside on the picnic tables to sample our chardonnays (we bought 2 bottles) & dine on some avocado toast. It’s a great place to catch a mid-morning snack.

Holden Manz (Franschhoek): By far the most beautiful property we visited on day two, this winery has their tastings downstairs in the wine cellar and a stunning dining room upstairs. I imagine that many people get married here or hold private parties – the upstairs is that incredible! HM is known for their red wines.

Rickety Bridge (Franschhoek): The last stop on our tour, we enjoyed a cheese plate and a variety of wines. While it was nothing to write home about, the place was warm (it was rainy & cold this day) and the staff was friendly. A nice place to end!

Babylonstoren: We did not make it here but I’ve heard great things about this working Dutch farm. It’s recommended that you stay on the property to fully enjoy the wine, restaurants & all that the farm has to offer. On our list for next time, for sure!

Where to Dine

Indichine (Stellenbosch): One of the restaurants within the Delaire Graff Estate, this has been voted one of the best restaurants in South Africa by many. The vibe is modern meets funky with oversized copper tables and navy leather chairs. There are fresh orchids on every table and a huge wood burning fireplace. The art and flowers alone are worth seeing. The food was, as expected, spectacular. It is a very fancy restaurant and while they have a 7-course tasting menu, we opted for our own. The menu is small (4 each of starters, mains & desserts) but delicious. For example, we ate scotch egg, chicken larg, tiki grilled prawns and matchi pineapple. All unique and well worth it.

Tokara (Stellenbosch): The restaurant has a breathtaking view over the valley below
and Table Mountain. The menu is South-African with a hint of Europe. A stone’s throw
from the Delaire Graff Estate. Closed Mondays.

The Bird Cage: (Stellenbosch):  Quirky café thatdoes lovely breakfast dishes. Their main business is wedding cakes. This is one restaurant that will look great on Instagram, FYI.

Makaron (Stellenbosch): Located at the Majeka House winery. Arrive 30 minutes early to have drinks by the pool.

Tiger’s Milk (Stellenbosch): Delicious casual chain with great pizzas, salads & burgers.

Sacred Ground (Franschhoek): On the way in/out of town – a cute coffee shop with take away breakfast.

The French Connection (Franschhoek): French style cuisine; cute outside area.

Foliage (Franschhoek): Highly ranked on trip advisor. Beautiful, creative dishes using foraged ingredients.

Tuk Tuk Microbrewery (Franschhoek): Downtown by where the wine tram dropoff is. Great for a beer and a light snack or casual dinner.

A Few Tips

  • In Stellenbosch, opt for a private driver, as it’s much more personalized and they tend to know the best places. We paid 1440ZAR + tip and was well worth it.
  • In Franschhoek, opt for either a private driver or the wine tram. We chose the wine tram as it was less expensive and something new. You pick from 4 pre-selected routes and they organize the entire trip- so easy!
  • An average wine tasting is only about 40ZAR (~$3) and there are plenty of amazing bottles under $15USD. I highly recommend shipping back or taking home what you can. We only found 1 winery that exported their wine.
  • These aren’t tiny Napa pours…these wineries give you like a quarter of a glass per tasting so take your time & be sure to eat something.
  • Most wineries will have the option for a lunch or picnic to be organized ahead of time. Had the weather been warmer, we certainly would have opted for a picnic.



Cape Town Travel Guide, Part 1

Let me start by saying if Cape Town isn’t on your travel bucket list, it absolutely needs to be. This city is one of the most diverse, multicultural foodie hot spots I’ve ever been to. Given the cultural melting pot that this city has become, the culinary scene is blowing up and only getting better by the minute. Whether you want fresh caught seafood, authentic Italian, burgers & fries, or creative Asian fusion, Cape Town won’t disappoint.

hiking tips-1

We had a dining out “wish list” of about 50+ restaurants and tried our best to pick and choose a wide variety so we could taste a bit of everything. Here are some of our favorite places we ate and drank, broken down by neighborhood:

Green Point + City Center

Beluga: Asian inspired, we dined on a variety of sushi, dim sum & noodles. They’ve got a large local wine list – we dined in the wine cellar which was a fun experience.

Kloof Street House: This unique hot spot feels like an outdoor garden party. The place has a whimsical, bohemian feel with a lot of lanterns, chandeliers and plants everywhere. We sat on the glass porch and had a great view of both the interior & exterior. The food was outstanding – I had a delicious local fish (Kingklip, anyone heard of it?) and Terry has Mediterranean style lamb shoulder. We licked our plates clean.

Dear Me: The perfect lunch spot, this organic eco-friendly restaurant is in a cute area surrounded by shopping boutiques and coffee shops. Known for their fresh ingredients, we enjoyed two fresh pressed juices and a couple of bowls – bim bim bap for me and poke for him. We loved it so much that we wanted to come back for lunch the following day.

Savoy Cabbage: We didn’t make it here but heard outstanding reviews and it came highly recommended. This is definitely on my list for the next trip.

Camps Bay

The Codfather: We went to Camps Bay for this place alone. It came recommended by multiple people and I can absolutely see why. Perfect for sunset drinks, this restaurants is located across the street from the beach. The concept here is so cool: they don’t have a set menu; rather, you walk up and view the fresh caught seafood at the counter and you’re charged by the weight. It’s perfect for sharing because they grill all of the fresh seafood and then finish it in a huge pan with rice, veggies, potatoes and served with 4 homemade sauces. It was so fun to try a little bit of everything, including tuna, calamari, butter fish & shrimp. This is probably my top recommended restaurant here. A trip to Cape Town would not be complete without eating dinner at The Codfather!


The Test Kitchen: I wish. TTK is reservation only and they open up their monthly calendar one month in advance. I tried for about 3 months to get a table and it was booked solid…Every. Single. Day. If you’re lucky enough to get in, report back to me and let me know how fabulous it is!

Pot Luck Club: Another uber popular restaurants from the same people as The Test Kitchen, we were lucky enough to get in here (also book way ahead!). The whole Woodstock area is really awesome and these restaurants are built in a n old biscuit mil. The Pot Luck Club is located ion the top floor of the silo with a killer skyline view. It feels very NYC – sultry, hip, dark…and incredible food! It’s small plates with options from every flavor pallet. This restaurant was outstanding and I would highly recommend that you come here!

Burrata: Another option if you can’t get into TTK or PLC…Burrata is an Italian restaurant with classic but tasty staples, including pizza, pasta and a big wine list. It wasn’t my favorite restaurant we went to, but it’s a good back up plan.

Woodstock Brewery: A fun microbrewery down the road, we stopped here for a pre-dinner beer flight. They’ve only got about five main brews but they were great. During the day they do brewery tours so it would be a fun spot to go on a nice day.

Devils Peak Brewery: Another brewery that came recommended, but we didn’t make it here. The bartender at the Woodstock brewery also recommended it so it’s likely worth checking out.

As you can see, Cape Town is full of bars, restaurants, coffee shops & bakeries to keep your tummy happy all day long. It’s one of the better “foodie” cities I’ve been to and I’d say it’s well on par with San Francisco and New York.