Set Sail With Mickey Mouse

Looking to take a cruise with standout entertainment, their own private island, larger than average staterooms, and ships with unlimited magic? Then look no further to the Disney Cruise Line.

Since Disney’s first voyage over 20 years ago, it has expanded to four ships sailing to ports worldwide including the Bahamas, the Carribean, Europe, The Mediterranean, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and more!

I experienced my first Disney Cruise when I was 12. Since then I’ve experienced other cruises but none stood out as much as the Disney Cruise. Now, some may say Disney Cruise is for kids, well yes, but they also tailor to families and couples.

Your Disney experience starts right when you walk on the ship with Disney crew members welcoming families by their last name. From there guest are free to explore the vessel! The ship itself boasts pure elegance with tasteful Disney features.

The cruise offers endless unique features other companies don’t offer like their private island on Castaway Cay in the Bahamas, rotational dining at themed restaurants, on ship firework show, themed voyages such as their Halloween Cruise, A Very Merrytime Cruise and Star Wars Day at Sea, characters appearances, and of course the Mickey Mouse shaped pool.

If you’re over the age of 18 you have the option to enjoy the secluded adult area on Castaway Cay, adult dining options, top of the line spa services, nightclubs and of course top notch Disney entertainment.

Planning on getting hitched? Disney Cruise offers destination wedding packages on the ship or on their private island. Learn more here.

What are you waiting for? Start planning your Disney Cruise here!

Guide to Eataly

Last fall Eataly opened in the Prudential Center located in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Since then tourist and Bostonians alike have flocked to take in the culture of Italy through the Italian market, culinary school, and eatery.

Although the market is incredible, if you been to Eataly, you know it can be hectic! You go in with such high expectations then you walk in and it’s a zoo, their’s pushing, people standing around and literally a line to Italy to get your gelato! So how does one make their Eataly experience enjoyable?

  1. Go early: be one of the first in line to explore the Italian market.
  2. Dine first: if you plan on dining at one of their signature restaurants try and eat as soon as you arrive. If you arrive later in the day and get put on the waitlist, no worries your 45 minutes to hour wait will allow you ample time to walk around and explore the wines, pastas, produce and more!
  3. Postpone purchases: plan to make your purchases on the way out as the registers are at the exit of the market.
  4. Grab a cannolis or gelato around midday: I’ve found more people grab their sweet treats in the evening.
  5. Don’t stand around: my biggest recommendation would be to keep walking! This eliminates traffic and congestion throughout the store.

Can’t make it to Italy but want to experience the culture? No worries, Eataly has 33 locations worldwide with three other locations in the United States (Chicago and NYC).

Open daily from 9 am – 11 pm.

Eataly Boston 3/5 stars

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The Roosevelt Hotel – NYC

Take a stroll down Midtown in New York City and you’ll walk into the Roosevelt Hotel located at 45th E 45th Street. With its 1920s charm, grand entrance, and five-star hospitality you’re guaranteed to enjoy your stay.

You may be familiar with the Roosevelt as it’s the backdrop to many well-known Hollywood films and TV shows including Mad Men, Maid in Manhattan, The French Collection and more. But what those movies don’t show is traveler experiences in the historic hotel.

Walking into the hotel guest will walk up a flight of stairs and into America’s past with a breathtaking grand foyer, an eye-catching chandelier, sitting area, bar, and gift shop. The lower level includes shops, hair and nail salons (perfect for a girls weekend). While the 19th floor hosts a private rooftop bar Mad46 with their signature drink the MadMojito.

The history is shown throughout the hotel with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, old fashion elevators, and 1920s décor in both the hallways and rooms.

The rooms are small (be prepared) but hey you’re in NYC, you’re not supposed to be spending time in your room!

Although the rooms were small they were clean and comfortable. We stayed in room 1708 and we really enjoyed our stay!

Learn more about the Roosevelt here!

Mad46 is open to the public May – October on Tuesday-Thursday 5:00 – 11:00 pm and Friday 3:00 – 9:00 pm.

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A Taste of Paris in Florida

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Located at 170 Beach Drive N.E. St. Pete, FL sits Cassis American Brasserie a Parisian style restaurant overlooking St. Pete’s waterfront.

So what’s a brasserie anyway? A brasserie is defined as a restaurant serving simple hearty food and drinks at affordable fares, a place that brings people together in a vibrant friendly atmosphere; and that’s just what Cassis American Brasserie does. Walking onto the outdoor terrace, guest will feel as though they walked into a Parisian café in the heart of Paris with its well-designed exterior and interior.

Cassis is perfect for families, a night out on the town or date night as the restaurant caters to all crowds whether you’re looking for romance or a good laugh with family and friends.

The restaurant offers menus for brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Each menu includes a variety of options holding true to the French/American flare that will satisfy anyone in your party from small bites to the dessert. It’s guaranteed guest will leave full and wowed by the service, atmosphere, and cuisine. Even four-legged family members get quality service with their own special menu making them feel like a king or queen.

Check out their menus here!

Not looking for a large meal? Stop by the bakery for pastries, ice cream or simply enjoy coffee or a drink on the outdoor terrace which looks out onto the harbor and surrounding St. Pete.

Cassis offers valet parking Monday – Thursday 5pm – close, Friday 4pm – 11pm, Saturday 10am – 11pm and Sunday 10am – 4pm

Skip the Caribbean and Head to Virginia Beach

Just a short drive from Washington, D.C. both locals and tourist are sure to enjoy this quaint beach town. Now, I must be honest, when my family said we were going to Virginia Beach for vacation I was upset. All I could think was, “why can’t we go to Disney or the Caribbean?” I had no idea what to expect or even if I would like it. Well, guess what?! I loved it. From the beach to the boardwalk to the restaurants to the town itself; the whole experience was beyond wonderful. I’m already planning my next trip back!

I would highly recommend this destination to anyone looking for a reasonably priced beach getaway. Read more for your ultimate Virginia Beach vacation guide.

 Stay

One of the reasons why I enjoyed Virginia Beach is because we had an oceanfront view, which is very common for the hotels along the boardwalk. Visitors pay reasonable prices for breathtaking views, proximity to the ocean, restaurants and more. When booking your trip check out these hotels and resorts.

Eat

No need to travel far for food! Most hotels along the boardwalk include their own signature restaurant (most seafood). All restaurants are around the same price and offer a variety of choices from breakfast to beach bites to happy hour and dinner! Here’s a list of a few that we tried. Pro tip: try the orange crush, which can be found at many of the restaurants along the boardwalk (you can thank me later).

 Play

With Virginia Beach being the last largest town on the Virginia coast I can promise travelers will find something to do. After spending a few days at the beach, venture off to Bush Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, Cape Henry Lighthouse or simply rent a bike a check out all the beautiful home along the coast.

 

What are you waiting for? Plan your trip today!

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Dining in D.C. & Georgetown

Among its historic landmarks, you will find D.C. offers a variety of dining options perfect to satisfy any foodie! The food scene in D.C. matches its diverse culture from small cafe’s near national landmarks to boutique style restaurants in Georgetown to larger chain options near the center of the city and more!

Having recently visited D.C. I had the pleasure of experiencing a few different restaurants and cafe’s that offered large menus with a variety of choices. Check out my favorites below:

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Martins Tavern: Ever wanted to dine with the president? Well here’s your chance (sorta)! Martins Tavern has seen its share of former presidents including a Henry Truman, The Bush Family, JFK and more. If your lucky you can even dine in one of the many tables the presidents sat in and let’s not forget the oh so famous booth where John proposed to Jackie. If you like a bar atmosphere, with comfort food and presidential history then I would recommend checking out Martin Tavern!

located at 1264 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington D.C. 20007 

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Ristorante Piccolo: Who says you have to go to Italy for homemade Italian food? Ristorante Piccolo is serving up popular homemade Italian cuisine sure to please any appetite. Pro tip: be sure to arrive early as the restaurant is small and fills up fast.

located at 1068 31st St NW, Washington, D.C. 20007

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Founding Farmers: Looking for a modern restaurant with homemade dishes? Then I highly recommend checking out Founding Farmers. In 2005 Mark White a third -generation farmer and the president of the NDFU  came together to showcase their passion by supporting their local farming community. That passion has led to having freshly sourced produce and more from over 40,000 farmers to the kitchen at Founding Farmers where all meals are prepared from scratch! I had the creamy vegetable bacon bucatini, which I gave two thumbs up. (pretty cool place right!?)

located at 1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington D.C. 20006 

The Don CeSar

The Don CeSar “Pink Palace” located in 3400 Gulf Blvd, in Saint Pete Beach, Florida makes you feel like you walked into the Great Gatsby era with its 1920s charm.

The hotel’s early days saw guests such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Clarence Darrow and more flocking to the sandy beaches of west Florida. The hotel was converted to a hospital during the war era and renovated back to a luxury resort in the 1970s. Since then the hotel has had its share of celebrities, films and more. Learn more about The Don CeSar’s history here!

The resort offers 277 guest rooms and 36 suites, which are newly renovated with breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding St. Pete. The Don CeSar runs on the pricier side but offers special package deals throughout the year. The resort also offers two fine dining restaurants, an ice cream parlor and we can’t forget room service for those midnight snacks!

Looking to get hitched? The Don CeSar offers select wedding packages for the special day. Check out all the details here.

After visiting myself and falling in love with the 1920s charm (and of course the PINK) I would give the resort 4.7/5 stars.

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Blackbird Doughnuts a Local Favorite

Located at 492 Tremont St, in Boston’s South End is a local favorite serving up fresh donuts and coffee.

If you love your morning Joe paired with a fresh donut then this is the place for you. Blackbird serves up unique gourmet donuts from scratch with all natural and local ingredients. It’s signature fluffy texture comes in a variety of flavors including Vanilla Glazed, Chocolate Sprinkle, Boston Cream, and more. If you’re more of a cake lover try one of their cake donuts. My favorites include The Blackbird, Blueberry Cake, and Mocha Chip. You can find the full menu here!

What’s really unique about Blackbird is they are a true Boston brand as they create special donuts around Boston holidays and sport’s teams. All while serving up their traditional flavors.

If you’re a die-hard foodie then this is a must stop location as Blackbird’s menu includes doughnut ice cream sandwiches. Yes, you read right – DOUGHNUT ICE CREAM SANDWHICIES! Customers can choose from any of the day’s doughnut selection then add vanilla, chocolate or swirl ice cream! Talk about the ultimate Instagram pic, right?!

Open daily Monday – Friday 7 AM – 6 PM and Saturday – Sunday 8 AM – 6 PM.

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Guide to Martha’s Vineyard

Summer home to several past presidents, Martha’s Vineyard makes you feel a world away with its whimsical charm and simplistic beach lifestyle. From its gingerbread neighborhood to the cliffs of Aquinnah to the famous Black Dog Tavern. I love Martha’s Vineyard!

Each summer I love taking a day to enjoy and explore the Vineyard. I usually rent a moped, as it’s the easiest way to get around and always end my day with a mudslide from Nancy’s before hopping back on the ferry to Cape. But what do I do with the rest of the day? As the Vineyard can be overwhelming for first-time visitors I’ve rounded up some of my favorite must-see attractions and restaurants for your vineyard adventure.

Tina Tips:

Rent a moped or bike: With the island being small and congested with traffic during peek season, why no see the island on bike or moped? Allowing you to see more without having to take the time to find parking. Making it more convenient rentals are less than a five-minute walk from the ferry.

Take the first ferry out of Falmouth: Don’t wait until mid morning. Hop on the first ferry. After you park on Palmer Ave. in Falmouth a bus shuttles you down to Woods Hole where the ferry leaves. The drive to Woods Hole can take an additional 30 min on top of the 45-minute ferry – be sure to leave early. Although you may feel you arrived early there are some great breakfast choices once on the Vineyard. I’ve recommended a few below!

Breakfast:

Espresso Love: From sandwiches to bagels to salads, to coffee and more Espresso Love will not disappoint.

Biscuits: Looking for a sit-down breakfast joint? This is the place to go. Don’t be surprised if you wait 40 minutes to an hour – but trust me it’s worth it!

Lunch/Dinner:

The Black Dog Tavern: A popular tourist destination with a beautiful view. Don’t forget to grab some Black Dog merchandise on the way out!

Nancy’s: Best mudslides and seafood. Grab a drink and watch the sunset on the dock.

Attractions:

 The Flying Horse: Test your luck on The Flying Horse. Maybe even have a friendly competition to see who can grab the most rings!

The Gingerbread houses: A whimsical, quite neighborhood. Makes you feel like you’re in a children’s book. Don’t forget to snap an Instagram picture.

The Cliffs of Aquinnah: The Cliffs of Aquinnah is a must see on the Vineyard. Take some time to observe the view, another great photo opportunity.

Jaws Bridge: Take the plunge, just do it!

Vineyard Haven: Shops, beaches, eats.

 Oak Bluff: Touristy shops, beaches, restaurants, bike and moped rentals.

Edgartown: Very upscale, shopping, beautiful homes and more.

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Guide to Fenway Park

 

DSCN0766With opening day only days away, Fenway Park is getting ready to open their gates to fans for the 2017 season. Whether you like watching from behind home plate, at the Budweiser deck, living the high life in the EMC Club or just like to hang at one of the many bars in the Fenway area here’s your guide to Fenway Park!

Don’t have tickets but want to catch one of the first games of the season? Looking for last minute seats? Ace Ticket is located right at the park. If you’re a planner you can buy tickets on SeatGeek or StubHub up to two hours before game time.

You have tickets but don’t know where to begin? If it’s your first time at Fenway I recommend entering through Yawkey Way to experience a true Bostonian pastime. Don’t forget to grab some street meat and Red Sox gear in the pro shop. However, if you’re a season ticket holder or a veteran to the games skip out on Yawkey Way and grab a beer at one of the local bars surrounding the park (Cask n’ Flagon or Bleacher Bar) . Tina tip: enter from “Gate C” this is towards the back of the park allowing easy and quicker access into the park.

 What if I don’t live in the city? Tina tip: do not drive into the city! With limited parking and garage prices through the roof, it’s best if you leave your car a few miles out of the city and utilize public transportation. If you’re coming from the east park at Riverside (D line) T stop in Newton and get off at Kenmore. Coming from the South Shore drive to Braintree and hop on the red line going inbound get off at Park Street and jump on the green line going outbound to Kenmore. And if your coming from the north hop on the commuter rail to North Sation then switch to the green line going outbound to Kenmore. If you plan to take the commuter rail be sure you give yourself time to travel as the commuter rail runs on a schedule, unlike the T.

I’m in, now what? I recommend grabbing food before you find your seats. If you’ve never been you obviously have to try a Fenway Frank. If you don’t like hot dogs the park offers a variety of other options such as steak and cheese, bacon-and-chicken kebabs, loaded baked potatoes, lobster rolls, bbq, a Boston favorite Tasty Burger and more. But be prepared to pay as prices run steep for both food and drinks.

What if I want a picture with Wally? If you’re not lucky enough to catch Wally as he’s making his rounds around the stadium no worries if you venture over to “Gate K” fans will find life like statues of Wally and sister Tessie for that perfect Instagram pic.

Looking for the best seats? Honestly, the park doesn’t have a “bad seat” or “the best place to watch.” I’ve sat everywhere except the green monster and I’ve never had a bad experience or a poor view. However, I recommend sitting in the bleacher seats, this section is always filled with people looking to have a good time. It’s near a lot of the popular concessions, the Budweiser deck and you get the ultimate view of the Fenway without paying an arm and a leg. Tina tip: if you’re sitting in the grandstands and happen to be in front of one of the poles, go to will call and they can assist in finding new seats if the game’s not sold out!

 Interested in the history? Being one of America’s oldest ballparks, Fenway Park is filled with history. If you’re looking to learn more about the history of Fenway take a tour during off hours. You’ll have an opportunity to see some hidden gems the park offers, stand on the green monster and if you’re lucky you may even see a player or two!