I’m a travel expert with Forbes Travel Guide

 

I’m venturing farther into the world of travel journalism, and am loving it. I recently reviewed Sanderling Resort in Duck, N.C., for Forbes Travel Guide and have another resort review that will be published on their site soon. To read my work with Forbes Travel Guide, click here.

Visit Savannah, the spooky south

I visited Savannah in March and fell in love with the city — the food, scenery, history … to-go cups. I decided to save my Savannah trip for the October issue of Breathe since it would finally be cooling off in the low country and also because Savannah just happens to be America’s Most Haunted City. Perfect timing for October, indeed.

While I was in Savannah, I met Kristin Luna, an amazing travel journalist and the brains behind the blog camelsandchocolate.com. Luckily Kristin not only happens to be a talented writer, but she’s also a phenomenal photographer, so we featured her photos alongside my story. Very excited to share some ink with my friend Kristin.

Indian Summer

Breathe designer and photographer Amanda and I took a R & R retreat to Virginia Hot Springs for our Indian Summer cover story for the September issue. I usually see these travel trips as “work” (if you’re a travel journalist with an agenda, you’ll understand this, and if you aren’t I sound spoiled), but that definitely wasn’t the case with this trip. Amanda and I instantly bonded with our guides at Natural Retreats, and it was just what we needed after putting out three consecutive issues by ourselves. It was a well-deserved trip indeed. Check out my story on the area and Amanda’s awesome photos of our trip in the September issue (flip to page 15). For a more snarky take on the September issue (and my dislike for football), click here.

Also, win a Virginia Hot Springs spa and sport retreat with Natural Retreats (just like our trip!) through Breathe Magazine here. And check out some of the cool photos Amanda (via nice camera) and I (via iPhone) took below.

Colorado in the summer

20120730-190032.jpgI just got back from visiting my parents and brother in Colorado. Spent six days between Denver and Breckenridge and it wasn’t nearly enough time to do all the things I wanted to do. Was hoping to get to Aspen and Boulder to see friends. Definitely next time. Check out some iPhone photos I snapped from my recent adventure.

20120730-190048.jpgGot to spend a few days with my older brother. People have mistaken us for twins in the past, which I find funny because he is a good nine inches taller than me.

20120730-190111.jpgMy parents have a gorgeous view from their front deck. Woke up and drank my coffee on their front patio every morning. Heaven.

20120730-190124.jpgMy bro and I took out the mountain bikes for a spin in the rain.

20120730-190138.jpgBought a new pair of 4FRNT Madonnas while I was out there. Thank god for summer ski sales!

20120730-190207.jpgOne morning we walked downtown to take a gondola ride. The gondola goes up Peak 8 with a stop in Cucumber Gulch and another right before Peak 8 base.

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20120730-190243.jpgWe brought my bro’s dog Sophie along for the gondola ride. She didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as we did.

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20120730-190411.jpgMy mom and I spent one morning biking from Breckenridge to Frisco.

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20120730-190524.jpgSome bad weather put a damper on our biking trip though.

20120730-190534.jpgOn our last day in mountains, we drove over to the Sapphire Point Overlook at Lake Dillon. Check out these gorgeous views!

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20120730-190638.jpgMy bro lives in downtown Denver, so naturally while visiting I had to get a glimpse of the beloved Denver Post.

20120730-190701.jpgSee you in December, Colorado!

Beach camping survival guide

For the July/August issue of Breathe we made a little Beach Camping Survival Guide with our picks for high-end gear, places to camp, advice and a recipe for a Lowcountry boil. On Memorial Day weekend I ventured down to the Outer Banks to do some “research” (AKA lay in the sun and drink beer) for this story, but our trip ended up turning into a mini vacay catastrophe. To read/see what really happened on our beach camping trip, click here. But, we were able to turn it into a “survival guide” because in reality that’s what we were doing while beach camping … kind of.

Rappahannock meets Chesapeake

This story is about my adventure to Irvington on Virginia’s Northern Neck. The two-day trip was filled with delicious food and wine, a stay at the Hope & Glory Inn and glimpses of the Rappahannock River and Chesapeake Bay. Read the story in the July/August issue of Breathe. Here are a few personal shots of the adventure.

To read more about the Irvington trip, check out our blog posts on Breathe. For what to do, click here. For where to stay, click here. And to read all about our favorite Irvington memory, the Dog & Oyster Vineyard, click here.

Savannah: Buzzworthy Bees

As most of my friends know, my goal in life is to have a menagerie. I want llamas, goats, chickens, ducks, peacocks, piggies (pot and teacup), rabbits, barn cats and a whole lot of dogs. Another animal now on my list — after visiting the Savannah Bee Company — is bees.

The Savannah Bee Co. has two shops in Savannah — one off Broughton and another down by the river. The bee company’s factory is on Wilmington Island, about a 15 minute drive from the historic downtown area.

We visited the bee company’s factory to see the bottling and big ol’ drums of honey.

Ted, founder and owner of the company, took us through the factory and showed us stored honey comb that awaits its honey extraction.

We ventured outside, around the back of the factory, to see the hives of worker bees. Ted soothed the bees with smoke and gingerly pulled out panels of honeycomb and bees.

The bee company makes more than just honey. With all that beeswax and honey, they have a line of body products, too.

Here I am standing in front of one of the hives, clad in my bee garb. I think it’s a nice look and can see myself as a beekeeper in the future! Savannah Bee Company was one of the highlights of my trip. I highly recommend it if you are visiting the area.

Meandering in Savannah

My favorite thing about visiting a new place is freely walking about — meandering on my own time, at my own pace, stopping as I please for a snap shot or people watching. Before I arrived in Savannah, friends described it as a “walking city.” After traveling across Europe and seeing what actually institutes a walking city, I felt American cities weren’t “walking cities” — until I visited Savannah’s historic district.

After eating at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room in the heart of Savannah, a few of us decided to meander through the historic district. Antique shops pepper the downtown area, hidden on the ground levels of old historic mansions.

Friends and colleagues recommended I visit shopSCAD, Savannah College of Art and Design’s student art shop, while I visited Savannah. The college campus is scattered throughout historic Savannah. While I walked throughout the downtown, I saw students carrying giant painting portfolios, rushing to and from class. I loved shopSCAD. I bought a painting and chatted with a recent grad from the fashion program, who rang me up for my purchase. So many cute finds in the shop. I secretly eyed the Golden Girls and Betty White notecards, lusted after the high-priced large portraits and fell in love with the set up of the shop.

Horse and carriage, trolley rides, walking tours, as well as “the slow ride” — a 15-person bike vehicle — are great ways to see the historic area instead of walking.

On my walk from historic Savannah to the river, I stumbled across the Mercer House, the house that the book and movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” is based upon. Sadly, I haven’t read the book or watched the movie, but after walking on the premises of the spooky property, I desperately want to know more about it. Since I got home to Charlottesville, Va., I have already checked Best Buy, Target, Instant Netflix and Redbox for the movie — and have yet to find it.

The pink azaleas lit up the Forsyth Square underneath the live oaks and moss before I came to the giant fountain in the middle of the park.

The cemetery has about 500 tombstones but has nearly 10,000 bodies burried in the plot, according to my ghost tour guide. After the Revolutionary War, grave robbing was prevalent in the cemetery, and when George Washington visited Savannah, residents requested that he help build a fence and gate around the tomb plot.

Stay tuned for more Savannah posts. Can’t wait to tell you all about the inns, food and bees of Savannah!

Savannah: Juliette Gordon Low

While in Savannah, Ga., we visited the birthplace of Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low. The house is regal and you can tell that her parents, the Gordons, were Savannah socialites. Luckily we visited the house at a momentous time — the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts! In the 1950s, after Low’s passing, the house was scheduled for demolition, but just in the nick of time, local Girl Scouts came to the rescue, raising money from Girl Scout troops around the country to save the house. Young girls around the country sent in their “Dimes for Daisy,” and saved the old mansion. The house now stands tall and proud, drawing in more than 17,000 Girl Scouts from 90 countries around the world.

This is a print of a young Juliette Gordon Low. The original hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.

This is a portrait of Juliette’s mother, Eleanor Kinzie Gordon. Eleanor was from Chicago and at one point “dated” General Sherman before the Civil War. Our tour guide told us a funny story about General Sherman visiting the Gordons. Juliette (AKA “Crazy Daisy” to her family) apparently climbed into his lap and was looking at his head funny. Sherman asked her what was wrong and she asked him where his horns and tail were. He asked what she meant and she replied, “Well, aren’t you that old devil Sherman?” General Sherman traveled around speaking after the Civil War and told stories about “Crazy Daisy” and her mischievous remarks. This was long before she became famous.

This is a picture of Juliette Gordon Low in her uniform. Although a socialite and lover of fashion, you would find her proudly wearing her Girl Scout uniform.

Girl Scout patches in the gift shop, celebrating 100 years of Girl Scouts.

Patches for Juliette Gordon Low’s birthplace also sold in the gift shop. I always wanted to be a Girl Scout and seeing these patches made me remember how I lusted after the green uniform and colorfully embroidered patches when I was in elementary school.

Savannah: Flannery O’Connor

My first day in Savannah, Ga., we visited the childhood home of the acclaimed Southern Gothic writer (Mary) Flannery O’Connor. I have only read two of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories, which I admit I read upon hearing I was going to visit her house. I read “The Geranium” and “The Barber” as well as the thorough introduction to “Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Short Stories.” I have quite a bit more to read though.

The house (left) was built in 1856 and Flannery’s cousin Kate purchased the house in 1910. When Kate bought the house, it was only a mere 40 feet deep, and in 1916, she added on to the back of the house.

Mary Flannery was born in 1925 and was baptized at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, across the square from her home. She was raised in a strict Catholic setting and went to girls grammar school across the square from her house as well. Our tour guide and the house manager said that Mary Flannery was a very precocious child and that she didn’t like attending the children’s mass, so instead would attend mass with the adults.

This is a picture of Mary Flannery when she was 3 years old. As you can tell from the picture, she seemed very serious even as a child. When Mary Flannery was 6 years old, Kate gave her chickens. Mary Flannery taught them how to walk backwards. The Pathe News heard about her backwards walking chickens and drove down to Savannah to film her with the birds. The short film was called, “Do You Reverse?” Later in life, Flannery said that day when she was filmed with her chickens at the age of 6 was the high point of her life and since then, it had all gone downhill. This was the beginning of Mary Flannery’s love for birds.

This is a picture of Mary Flannery as an adult. It hangs in the dining room of her childhood home. Later in life, her face looked more skeletal after battling lupus.

Mary Flannery’s childhood bedroom. Mary Flannery used to read the kids in her neighborhood “Grimm’s Fairy Tires.” She terrified the neighborhood children with the stories, scaring them away so they’d never come back. The kids who grew up with Mary Flannery described her as a “different” kind of girl.

This is the parlor of the O’Connor’s home. The picture over the fireplace is of her father, Edward O’Connor. Edward died of lupus in 1941 when Mary Flannery was 15 years old. Mary Flannery got her storytelling from her dad and said that when she sat down to write a story, she felt as though she was writing for the two of them.

The mantle in the parlor with pictures of the O’Connors. Edward on the left, Mary Flannery and her mother, Regina, in the middle, and Mary Flannery on the right.

A peacock fan in the O’Connor’s bedroom. Flannery O’Connor loved peacocks and had them at her adult home. She died when she was 39 of lupus. A few of her famous works include “The Geranium,” “Wise Blood” and “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”