Saturday, May 27, 2017

USA: Five places I've loved, and five I want to try (inspired by Trek America!)

Earlier this month I wrote about the awesome Trek America event I went along to, ceelbrating the debut of their VR films of various National Parks. It was absolutely amazing, and left me full of inspiration and ideas for my own travels stateside. I love going to the US, whether it's to catch up with friends, to visit family, or to explore. I've been lucky enough to see a lot of the country so far, but am also aware it's so vast I still have a ways to go (14 out of 50 states down has me at just over a quarter of them...).

In this post I'm going to look at five places I've loved, and which I'd like to visit again, and another five I'm chomping at the bit to get to!

Five places in the US I've loved and I want to visit again

1. New York


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Amtrak: NYC to Boston


When deciding on how to travel from New York to Boston on our latest USA trip, we had several options. We could fly, drive, take a bus, or take the train. As neither of us had taken a train in the US before, we decided to opt for the latter. The train from NYC to Boston is fairly swift (around 4 hours) and we booked onto first class for a little extra space too.

We were excited to experience train travel in another country and I was especially looking forward to seeing Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts as we whizzed by - the train line wends its way north along the coastline and I was excited to see the Atlantic from a new vantage point.

We journeyed down to Penn Station with our suitcases and perched in the lounge to await our train. The station is absolutely vast, with escalators and corridors going every which way! I was really grateful we had a porter to help us find our train and carriage as otherwise who knows what journey we may have ended up on.


Our travel day was clear and warm, with beautiful skies. It was lovely to look back at the city as we left the five boroughs behind and made our way onwards. The seats were comfortable and the air conditioning welcome, and we soon got comfy and read our books and played a little Uno as we travelled through the industrial belt just outside of New York City proper.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Tipsy Afternoon Tea with Amara



One of the things I love about blogging is the community I get to be a part of. Like any group, there can be infighting, catty moments and jealousy, but in the main I find myself small enough and old enough (eleven years and counting writing my thoughts here!) to be able to trundle along quite happily in a little Claire-bubble. Like everyone I have good days and bad days, lists I make and lists I fail to make, but in the main I cannot complain about my lot. There have been a lot of good things, but I'm most grateful for the kickass women and men I've got to meet along the way, and the cool brands I get to work with and the fun events I get to attend.

One such event happened last week, when I was one of the lovely Erica's plus ones (she's so fly she got two plus ones - bow down :)) to an event hosted by the lovely folks at Amara. Amara is already a site I spending far too much time browsing (homewares are my homeboys) so I was delighted to be able to make the event and meet the team! 

Amara have a site just full to the gunnels with beautiful, stylish homewares, so it was no suprise that they chose one of the city's chicest hotels, the Sanderson, for their event. Once there we had a little time to recover from the rainstorm outside before taking our seats for the Alice in Wonderland themed tea; The Mad Hatter's Tipsy Evening Tea, to be precise. 


Trays were brought, beladen with miniature cocktails. The cherry liqueur, orange marmalade mini espresso martini and the dark chocolate and raspberry liqueur mini martini were flavoursome, creamy delights, but I especially adored the teacup cocktails comprising spicy mango syrup and Falernum rum infused with hot Mad Hatter tea and pear and rhubarb liqueur infused with hot Mad Hatter tea. The delicate fruit and floral flavours were exquisite! As well as these we sipped Perrier-Jouet bubbles aplenty as we chatted and giggled the night away.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Santa Maria Novella, Florence


While in Florence, one of the places we were determined to visit was Santa Maria Novella, the beautiful basilica in the heart of the city, a stone's throw from the train station and our hotel, the lovely Hotel Diplomat.



Chronologically, it is the first great basilica in Florence, constructed before the magnificent Duomo (more on which soon!).



Saturday, May 06, 2017

Feeling inspired by Trek America 360


At the end of April I was invited along by the team at Trek America to attend a US-themed event to celebrate the launch of their 360 experiences - amazing VR films where you can view some of the USA's most beautiful national parks in glorious VR. As someone who loves to travel and is a fully paid up America fan when it comes to holidays, I was so happy to be able to attend!


The event was awesome, with so much to do, see and enjoy. There was a band (the phenomenal Loose Change) playing American rock and country classics, food from the four corners of the US, a casino where you could gamble your Trek dollars, and a superb guestlist - I spent the whole evening bumping into dear blog-friends. I'd popped along with the lovely Emma, and I finally got to meet the fabled Aftab, too!


Thursday, May 04, 2017

Wine tasting with Divino in Vino


Last week I was very kindly invited along to a wine tasting with the team at Divino in Vino. The older I get, the more inquisitive I get about wine, its history and provenance, the flavours you can explore and the many types of wine you can enjoy. So the chance to attend a wine tasting (along with a bevvy of lovely bloggers who I always enjoy catching up with) was a golden one.


We met in Pidgin, the most delightful little restaurant in Hackney (and owner of its very own Michelin star). We were to take over the premises to be guided through a six wine tasting by the lovely Silvia, a wine expert who has been working in the field for several years and whose passion and expertise inspired her to start Divino in Vino, to arrange wine tastings that help people to explore the many wines available.


Monday, May 01, 2017

My Travel Menu

Another month, another travel link up! I've been loving all the pictures from Traverse (and kicking myself for not getting tickets - 2018 here I come!) and have been doing a tonne of holiday planning for our summer trip over the Bank Holiday weekend so am very much in a travel mood :). The theme of this month's #TravelLinkup is a travel menu.

The question posed to us all was "If travel was a menu, what place is your starter (short haul), main (long haul) & dessert (lasting impression)?" A food style setting out and a travel theme? You know I'm on board!


Starter

Scotland-beach-sunshine

Scotland-beach-sunshine

Hi, I'm Claire...

Hi, I'm Claire...

About Me

I believe in 80s pop, 90s teen movies, and proper thank you notes. I just like smiling...smiling's my favourite.

I write here about London, food, books & travel, and a lot more besides. I'm never happier than when having adventures, cooking for friends, or lost in a good book.

If you'd like to work together, or if you'd just like to say hello, my email is: countrymouseclaire@gmail.com

Please note that on occasion affiliate links may be used in this blog. All items received for review or paid posts will always be disclosed.

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