Right now, Greg and I are in the midst of planning our honeymoon – which is by far my favorite part of wedding planning.¬†After looking at a few destinations, we’ve settled on Italy! It’s combines the perfect blend of food, culture, art, adventure, and (most importantly!) relaxation.

While in Italy, we’re hoping to explore cities, go to a cooking class, and take in some R&R by the pool and on the beach. It will hopefully be a happy and relaxing start to our married lives, after the rush of wedding weekend festivities.

Details are still being worked out, but on our list of stops is the stunning Amalfi Coast. Incredible architecture covered in blooming vines, crystal blue water, unbeatable cuisine – no wonder it’s on everyone’s list. Wish me luck as I plan this out!

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Happy New Year! I hope you had a fantastic Christmas and rang in 2018 with the people you love.

Greg, Ace and I traveled to Florida to visit my family for the Christmas holidays this year and made the trip via car for the first time. The 13 hour ride each way was pretty exhausting, but we broke up the trip on the way back with a stop in Charleston. More on what we saw and did in Charleston below, but read on for a recap of our activities during the holiday break.

New Smyrna Beach

I grew up going to New Smyrna Beach (NSB) on the weekends and in the summer. My parents recently moved there and are renovating a two-story house (affectionately nicknamed “the shack”) a few blocks away from the ocean. We had amazing weather during the first half of our trip and were treated to stunning sunrises and sunsets in the true Florida way.

On a free day, Greg and I also popped over to the lighthouse at Ponce Inlet. We took a tour of the museum that showcased the history of lighthouse-keeping and the history of the area. Much of the lighthouse grounds had been preserved, so it felt like taking a step back into a time with no WiFi, computers, or TV. The world was truly a different place back then, and mariners had to rely on lighthouses to guide their journey home. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend stopping by the lighthouse and the museum for a deeper look at Florida’s history.

Winter Park

It was so nice to be back in my hometown! With our wedding just a few months away, we took the opportunity while we were in the area to tour our reception venue and meet with our event planner/coordinator. After that was taken care of, we stopped by the church our ceremony will be held in.

Walking down Park Avenue quite literally was taking a trip down memory lane. I went to school from kindergarten until 8th grade at Saint Margaret Mary, which is the church (above) and school located right on Park Ave, and the place I’ll get married at in June. It’s also where I hung out with friends as a teenager after school and on the weekends. Although a lot has changed since I moved away, a few old favorite shops and stores are still going strong, like the Peterbrooke chocolatier and Barnie’s coffee shop.

It was a gorgeous day outside, so Greg, my mom and I went to blu on the Avenue for a bite to eat al-fresco. Hard to believe I was in short sleeves the day after Christmas. Floridians are pretty spoiled. I got the Lobster Cobb which was amazing – and incredibly photogenic in my opinion.

Charleston

The Holy City has been high on my list of places to visit for a long time now. Our short stopover on the way back to Arlington was just a taste of what the city has to offer. We had a wonderful meal at McGrady’s Restaurant, checked out touristy spots like the Battery and Rainbow Row, and enjoyed breakfast and coffee at Black Tap before making the final leg of the trip home. We’ll definitely be coming back for a longer trip soon – preferably when the weather is a bit warmer.

Savoring the last of these Christmas decorations. Until next year!

It’s starting to feel like Fall around here, and we lucked out with some clear, cooler weather during our trip to Hershey, PA last weekend. In a delightful twist of fate, Greg and I lucked out and were able to tag along on a trip with his family. We left D.C. after work on Friday and made the surprisingly easy 2 hour trip without a hitch.

The Hotel Hershey

Pulling onto the hotel grounds. This place is simply stunning.

Hello, Hotel Hershey!

The hotel is a sprawling Victorian-era build that was built in 1933. It’s perched on top of the ridge overlooking the park – giving it some of the best views around.

There are multiple restaurants, a bar, spa, gift shops, a coffee shop, indoor AND outdoor pools – all on the hotel grounds. Many guests take to lounging on the hotel’s expansive deck that overlooks the park, mountains, and town of Hershey, PA below.

Hershey Gardens

The next day, after a trip to Hershey Park and a chocolate massage at the Chocolate Spa for me, Greg and I decided to visit Hershey Gardens, a 23-acre botanical gardens located adjacent to the Hotel Hershey.

Included in your admission to the gardens is access to the Butterfly Garden, home to over 500 butterflies that float and fly and flutter right near you. It’s one of just 25 tropical butterfly gardens in the U.S. – making it a really unique spot.

The rose garden is a must see. There were roses in every shade, size and color imaginable, making for some very pretty photos.

There’s the Hotel Hershey in the background looking all pretty.

Looking back onto the fountain and butterfly garden.

Zero fun was had taking photos of the roses. And ourselves. Zero.

We ended the day with a delicious meal at the Harvest – also located right on the Hotel Hershey Grounds. The menu focused on local fare and had plenty of gluten free options.

After dinner we caught the last of the sunshine on the expansive deck in front of the hotel. They even had a fireplace going since the air had gotten pretty chilly towards the end of the day.

On Sunday, we did a bit more exploring – including paying a visit to Chocolate World and taking a tour of Hershey, PA by trolley. Then, we had to say goodbye. But there are already discussions in Greg’s family about going back around Christmas time. Looks like I might be back to Chocolate Town, USA soon.