Fall in Manchester, Vermont

Fall in Manchester Vermont

There is no doubt that fall is my favorite season. Spending the days picking apples, exploring pumpkin patches, enjoying the sugar rush that comes with fresh-baked cider donuts before curling up in front of a roaring fire and watching college football or sipping a pumpkin beer outside. Luckily, just a few hours from New York City we have been able to enjoy these things for the past two weekends. Manchester, Vermont is a perfect destination for Fall adventures as it provides something for everyone whether you’re a single girl looking for a weekend filled with Instagram moments, shopping and relaxation at the spa or a family of five trying to please children of different ages.

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Breakfast: My favorite spots for breakfast are Up for Breakfast and Little Rooster Cafe. Up for Breakfast has been a Manchester favorite for years, attracting locals and tourists alike with their comfort food and friendly service. They don’t take reservations and during peak season the lines can get long, but the relaxed atmosphere and amazing breakfast will quickly make you forget. I recommend getting there early, especially if you are a family looking for extra seats. Little Rooster Cafe, located less than five minutes away from Up for Breakfast is a great spot if you want something a bit more refined and don’t want to deal with crowds.

Lunch: If you need a break from shopping or hiking, my three favorite spots in the area are Ponce Bistro, Zoey’s and JJ Hapgoods. Ponce Bistro is located near the outlets and many of the local attractions so it makes a perfect place to relax. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating, depending on the weather, and their lunches are delicious – whether you’re craving a warm bowl of soup or a sandwich. Everything, even the lunch meat, is prepared in house and made to order. They are not open for lunch on Sunday and Monday, so make sure to take this into account when making your plans. The owner hails from Brooklyn and his mother is Puerto Rican, and both factors heavily influence the delicious food. Zoey’s Deli has the best sandwiches in the area, often so large that Bo and I are able to share one! We stop here when we want a quick bite or need lunch for the drive back to Brooklyn. Save room for the homemade chips that come with each sandwich and possibly, if you have a sweet tooth, their freshly baked cookies that are the size of your face! A new favorite of ours, which we only discovered last weekend, is JJ Hapgoods General Store. Located in Peru, just 10 minutes from the center of Manchester, this restored general store has outdoor and indoor seating, which accomodates everyone, even your dog! Their food is hands down our favorite lunch in the area and the fried chicken sandwich is the best the Southern girl has ever tasted!  Like many spots, they aren’t open for lunch Sunday through Tuesday, so plan accordingly! While we haven’t been here for breakfast or dinner, they serve both and it has been highly recommended by our friends and family in the area.

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Dinner: There are a multitude of dinner options in Manchester but only a few that have survived the test of time and attract locals and tourists alike. The Silver Fork is an intimate, six table dining experience that serves a seasonal menu that can compete with any New York City restaurant. Since it seats so few each night, reservations are highly recommended and often need to be made a month in advance especially during peak season. As mentioned above, JJ Hapgoods is a casual dinner option that serves wood-fired pizzas, local craft beers and more in a relaxed setting complete with white lights and fire pits! If you want a quaint, Vermont experience the Dorset Inn Tavern delivers reliable food, extensive wine menu and a cozy atmosphere that is always decorated for the season.

Drinks: If you’re looking for a happy hour spot or night cap, the Falcon Bar at Equinox Hotel offers a roaring fire pit outside throughout the year where you can sip one of their 50 varieties of wine or a house cocktail and stay warm. They have live music on the weekends which make this the perfect spot to begin or end your evening.

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Activities: If you’ve come to Manchester in search of cider doughnuts, pumpkin patches and Fall foliage then spend at least an hour exploring the Equinox Valley Nursery’s famed pumpkin patch. Their fresh, hot cider doughnuts are incredible especially when enjoyed with a side of apple cider. You can explore their pumpkin fields, corn maze and laugh at their many scarecrows before picking the perfect fall decor to take back home. If you are in search of retail therapy, the Manchester Designer Outlets offer more than 40 different stores where you can update your wardrobe and home. My personal favoriets are Yves Delorme, Vineyard Vines, J Crew, Theory, Kate Spade and Tumi. You can also find great things for your kitchen and freezer at the Vermont Butcher and Kitchen Collection and Le Creuset! If you want to stretch your legs and enjoy fall foliage and incredible views, there are many hikes in the area ranging from short out and back hikes to day-long excursions. Over the years we’ve done each of these four hikes and have enjoyed each one!  Last but not least, if you want to go home relaxed and rejuvenated, the Spa at Equinox is our favorite spot for facials and massages. Your service also provides you access to their year-round heated pool and fitness center! I can personally recommend their prenatal and deep tissue massages as well as their Vitamin C facial.

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Where to Eat in Savannah, Georgia

There is no denying it, the best seasons to visit Savannah, Georgia are fall, winter, and spring. Whether you’re a tourist or a local, this lovely Southern town is the perfect destination for a long weekend especially if you live in an area of the country that has brutally cold winters. As most of you know, Bo and I were both raised in Savannah, calling it home until we each left for college at the age of 18. While we only get back 3-4 times per year, the gorgeous moss covered oak trees, marsh grass sunsets, beach walks, history, and, of course, our family still make it our favorite city. Whether you are in town for 24 hours or moving there permanently, I thought I would put together a list of our favorite places to eat in Savannah and Tybee Island

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Most of these spots are conveniently located within walking distance to downtown, historic Savannah hotels but a few of them are out on Tybee, our beach which is a 15-20 minute drive from downtown Savannah.

Eats

  • B. Matthews Eatery – This bistro located near River Street is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but their weekend brunch is what keeps me coming back! The made from scratch biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, or mayme’s omelette make this a regular stop anytime I’m home.
  • Mrs Wilkes Dining Room – There is no better fried chicken in Savannah. Only open Monday through Friday the wait is well worth it. Enjoy family style Southern food in the heart of historic Savannah and wash it all down with sweet tea.
  • The Olde Pink House – A perfect location for a date night dinner their menu will leave you drooling but leave room for dessert. I highly recommend the scored flounder.
  • Zunzi’s – Incredible sandwiches and an extensive vegetarian menu bring locals and tourists alike to this small spot which blends South African, Italian, Swiss and Dutch flavors together due to the owner’s backgrounds.
  • Vinnie Van GoGo’s Pizza – A cash only Savannah institution serving up thin crust pizzas in the heart of City Market.
  • Crystal Beer Parlor – When all you are craving is a burger and beer there is no better spot than this Savannah institution which reopened downtown a few years ago.
  • Vic’s on the River – Enjoy views of the waterfront while enjoying fried green tomatoes, crawfish beignets, lump crab cakes and shrimp and grits. Go hungry and with a fun crowd because this is one of my favorite places to steal tastes from other people’s plates!
  • Elizabeth’s on 37th – You can go for lunch if you aren’t looking for a formal dinner experience or date night while you’re in town. Everything on their menu is incredible and the staff makes you feel like your family as you dine in an old, Savannah home. The herbs on your salad are from their garden, I dream about their cheddar biscuits and orange marmalade and the restaurant has hosted the likes of the Marc Jacobs and the Dalai Lama to name a few in recent years.
  • Starland Cafe – This is currently my favorite lunch spot in Savannah. While their sandwiches and soups look delicious, the salads are what I always find myself ordering as they include a unique menu of ingredients and are always piled high with fresh, local, seasonal ingredients.  Their famous, homemade pimiento cheese is also a delicious way to start the meal!
  • Treylor Park – This downtown spot is perfect for lunch, dinner or drinks as the fun atmosphere is perfect for almost any occasion. We’ve been to wedding festivities as well as a casual afternoon of “bar food” here and enjoyed the food and drinks both times. While the PB&J wings and friend avocado can’t be missed, their drink menu is creative as well. If you go on a weekend expect to wait as this is a very popular spot especially during the cooler months when their back patio makes the perfect spot to dine or sip.

Sweets

  • Leopold’s Ice Cream– Located on Broughton Street this local ice cream shop has been in existence since 1919 but reopened in the current location in 2004. The small shop draws crowds daily thanks to the delicious, creamy ice cream. My favorite flavors are mint chocolate chip, peanut butter chippy and lemon sorbet.
  • River Street Sweets – A perfect rest stop during your River Street exploration, you can thank me later for introducing you to turtles and Southern pralines.

Sips

  • Rocks on the Roof – The roof of the Bohemian Hotel has become an evening or weekend meeting spot due to the gorgeous views, delicious cocktails and convenient location.

Tybee

  • North Beach Grill – After spending the morning enjoying some beach time or an afternoon climbing to the top of the Tybee Light House there is no better spot on Tybee then sitting beach side enjoying some life music and seafood fritters, fish taco or one of their more Caribbean dishes.
  • The Breakfast Club – This diner features a chef who is a Culinary Institute of America alum and a multi-page menu filled with dishes such as the Blackhawk burrito, Grill cleaner, country fried steak and other solid foods. I personally love their omelets, filled to the brim with vegetables and shrimp or their egg florentine. They do not take reservations so I recommend getting there early, especially in the Summer months.
  • AJ’s Dockside – My family loves enjoying lunch or dinner dockside at this restaurant as they have some of the best seafood in Savannah. Over the years a number of local places have come and gone but AJ’s has been a staple since 2003 and seems to get better with every visit.  Their menu includes all types of options but the only thing I typically order is their fried shrimp and oyster plate.

Feel free to ask me any questions you may have via the comments, Twitter or email!

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A Celebratory Savannah Weekend

We are back in New York after a wonderful, long weekend down in Savannah. It felt wonderful to disconnect and spend time with our families during this last trip before we meet Baby Girl Diamond in June. In fact, this was my last flight and most likely last time leaving the city until after she arrives. This trip was perfectly planned as I truly feel it helped us transition into nesting mode.

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We took the last flight down to Savannah on Wednesday night, which meant we didn’t crawl into bed until 1 AM. Thursday morning we woke up to gorgeous weather, which I enjoyed during a power walk with my mother-in-law. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and enjoying lunch and dinner at two of my favorite, casual Savannah spots. My favorite lunch spot in Savannah is Starland Cafe. While their sandwiches and soups look delicious, the salads are what I always find myself ordering as they include a unique menu of ingredients and are always piled high with fresh, local, seasonal ingredients.  We finally tried their famous, homemade pimiento cheese and it was a delicious way to start the meal! IMG_2440IMG_2444

That evening we headed out to Tybee Island to enjoy one of my favororite, Southern indulgences – fried seafood.  My family loves enjoying lunch or dinner dockside at AJ’s Dockside restaurant as they have some of the best seafood in Savannah. Over the years a number of local places have come and gone but AJ’s has been a staple since 2003 and seems to get better with every visit.  Their menu includes all types of options but on Thursday night the only thing I had on my mind was their fried shrimp and oyster plate.

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Friday we balanced things out with a long walk on the beach and beachside salads at North Beach Grill. The weather was 80 degrees and sunny, warm enough for us to enjoy a few dips in the ocean during our walk!

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That night we headed to the first of two reunion events for our high school, Savannah Country Day School. I somehow forgot to take pictures, but it was wonderful to catch up with the staff and fellow alumni while also seeing campus for the first time in at least ten years.

Saturday, I had the joy of celebrating Baby Girl Diamond at a shower hosted by some of my mother-in-law’s dear friends. It was a lovely lunchtime shower that included a delicious shrimp casserole, strawberry and spinach salad as well as cookies from Two Smart Cookies. Their iced, cutout cookies are soft and chewy just the way I love my cookies!  It was so wonderful to spend the afternoon catching up with these wonderful women, many of whom have known Bo since he was a young boy. We laughed and reminisced as I opened gifts and listened closely to their tips and tricks for raising Baby Girl Diamond. I was so thankful that not only my mom and mother-in-law were able to attend but also my brother’s girlfriend and my aunt, who came down from Chapel Hill, NC for the occasion.

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Saturday evening we had our second reunion event, a party for our class at one of our classmates beautiful homes. It was a joy catching up with some people we hadn’t seen in 15 years. I was especially thankful for the words of advice I received from the numerous moms. I walked away with a few good books and blogs to read based on their recommendations.

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Sunday we spent the day relaxing and soaking in the last of our trip with both families. We went to church with Bo’s parents in the morning before relaxing on my parent’s back porch with our books for the afternoon. We pushed our stomachs to their limit with a delicious barbecue birthday celebration for my aunt which included Boston Butt that had been smoked for 15 hours, baby back ribs, squash casserole, pasta salad and birthday cake. 

It’s safe to say that Bo and I are both craving lots of healthy food and workouts this week after a relaxing and indulgent weekend at home in Savannah.  This week I have a number of posts planned including maternity workout gear, an exciting and fun giveaway and more!

Your turn – What’s your favorite meal or food when you’re home?

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