Travel Bug

Wanderlust - Wan-der-lust (noun)
A very strong innate desire to rove or travel about.



 Life's Priorities.

I've always envied people who can just pick up and "Off they go" for months at a time to places I've only read about, or seen on TV.

I've seen travel blogs where couples head out to hike in Tibet, or Pub Crawl in Ireland, or Snorkel in the South Pacific and became green with envy.

Ahh, to be able to live the life of a traveler, how utterly amazing would that be?

But time, and funds, and life's priorities, don't allow me to go-and-seek, as often as I wish.

But that's ok, because I would not change my life one bit. 

I love my life's priorities.

Kids, Dogs, Jobs, and  Responsibilities, can sometimes hinder a
 person who's Wanderlust is about to burst at the seams.

So when hubby and I see a window of opportunity, free of life's priorities, we try to grab it.

Anthony Bourdain & Samantha Brown we're not, but here are some of our simple Wanderlust Adventures - Just in case you catch the Travel Bug one day too.

2011 - September
Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Another reason to always check Expedia for great package deals.

And yet another reason why I simply love my dear friends.

One crazy phone call from me screaming about the great deal Expedia had for

3 nights to Fort Myers Beach, and off we went.

We stayed beach-front at this darling hotel.

Click Here to See Neptune Inn's Website

Sometimes a gal has to get away.

No words necessary.

Apologies, but we couldn't resist.

2011 - May
New York, New York

My dear friend's birthday was reason enough for my Wanderlust to take over.

So we headed to New York City to spend four glorious nights.

Travel Partners:
Me & Hubby
My daughter and her friend
My dear friend (the birthday girl) and her husband

 Washington Square Hotel located in the HEART of Greenwich Village was our lodging choice, and oh what a GREAT choice it was.

Washington Square Hotel is located on a quiet Greenwich Village street nestled between wonderful brownstones, charming restaurants and quaint alleyways with eclectic shops galore.

The photo below is the view from our hotel window.
I could have pulled up a chair and just gazed out the window for hours.
  Listening to the sounds and taking in what NYC does to my bones.

This charming brownstone is directly next to our hotel.
Rumor has it that Sarah Jessica Parker
lived there, this is not confirmed, but I want to pretend it was true.

Directly across from the hotel, is Mario Batali's famous restaurant Babbo.

Just up the street from our Hotel is MacDougal Street; my favorite little street in Greenwich Village.

As you can see why.

The Infamous Cafe Wha? located on the corner of MacDougal Street.
The beginnings of Bob Dylan.
Such history on this street, you can feel it in the air.

How on earth, in such a busy city, could there be a charming, quaint alley, with not a soul on it but us?

I think it was meant to be.

Also located on MacDougal street is the cutest little restaurant called:
The Olive Tree Cafe.

Charlie Chaplain movies playing in the background.
Chalkboard Slate tables.
Dark Wood panel and trim with a fireplace and Stained Glass lamps.
Oh and the Horseradish Mashed Potatoes!
To Die For!

But the main reason I wanted to stay at the Washington Square Hotel, is because of it's location to Washington Square Park.

When someone says New York City, they probably think of Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, Times Square... boy, not me.

My mind instantly wanders to Washington Square Park.
I DREAM about this park.
And our hotel was directly across the street.

Washington Square Park is a meeting place and center for Cultural Activity.
No matter the weather, the day or the time, you will find street performers, talented musicians and artists, and all-round the best people watching, bar none, of any place I've ever been.

 Washington Square Hotel has a continental breakfast each morning, with to-go containers, so you can pack up your breakfast, and take it across the street and eat in the park.

It was something I looked forward to each morning.
Breakfast in the park.  I felt like a true New Yorker.

See how excited it made us?

If I had my way, I might never have left Greenwich Village our entire visit there.

I love it that much.

There is so much to see in Greenwich, it could take you weeks upon weeks to see, explore, and eat your way through it.

Inch by every charming inch.

But alas, there were others in my traveling party, so off we went to find other adventures in this wonderful city.
So the confusing Subway was exactly where we headed.

Hubby loved looking at the Rats that would dart and shoot below on the tracks.
So quirky, but that's why I love him.

What fun we had, exploring the city.

It appears, from looking at my all my photos....all we did was eat.

And that very well could be the case.

Pizza of course - Several times!

Oh and here's the Birthday girl & her hubby eating Chinese Food from a Street Vendor.

I seriously think it was the best fried rice and veggie spring roll I've ever had.

Here we go again!

I'm about to order possibly the BEST frozen Margarita I've ever had from Panchito's.

Off to Little Italy.

 Da Gennaro restaurant served us the most delicious Sangria this mid westerner has ever had.

Oh and of course New York's Hot Dogs.

Touristy I know, but you MUST have a Gray's Papaya Dog or a Papaya King dog.

Link to Papaya King

Oh, and of course, I had to get my baby girl a Cannoli.

Seems as though we were forever taking pictures of eating or waiting to eat.

I refuse to get bi-focals, so this "double glasses" situation, made it very inconvenient when you are constantly looking at menus!

As if eating food on our own was not enough.
We HAD to take a foodie walking tour.

FOODS OF NEW YORK - a Greenwich Village Walking Tour,

LINK TO Walking Food Tour of Greenwich Village

 A 3 hour walking tour of Greenwich Village, sampling some of the most delicious items, was just what these starving tourists needed.

I could post and talk about this magical place for days and days.

So here are just a few of my favorite things to do in the Big Apple.

1.  Hop on the Subway and head over to Brooklyn in the early evening.
Your eyes won't believe the SPLENDOR of the NYC skyline and the beauty of the Brooklyn Bridge.  
It's literally breathtaking.
If you have the energy, and if weather permits, walk the bridge back over into Manhattan instead of taking the subway.

2. Central Park is very large and it can be overwhelming deciding on what and where to go within the park. 
You will get loads of opinions from people on their favorite places and landmarks of this beautiful historical park.

If you have limited time to visit Central Park and can only see one area, PLEASE visit
The Sheep Meadow.

It's so incredible, it makes Hubby want to do hand-stands!

Sheep Meadow is like a secret hiding place. 
A  quiet oasis in the middle of a hustling and bustling city.
15-acres of lush green grass with one of the best views of the city's skyline.

3. If you're adventurous and don't mind a little excitement beyond the ordinary, take a stroll in the early-evening to the East Village - St. Marks Place and eat at YAFFA CAFE.

Eat alfresco on their front or back patio; Or for an eclectic East Village feel, eat inside. 

You wont believe the crazy mix-matched decor of Technicolor dream scape.
Zebra, cheetah and colorful floral patterns cover every inch of every wall.

Very low-lighting by strings of Chinese lanterns and dangling grapevine lights. 
It's so out there that it works!

4. If you are a cheese lover, then Murray's Cheese Shop in Greenwich Village on  the famous 
Bleecker Street is a MUST!

There's even a bench out front of Murray's so the men can wait outside while the ladies sample cheese after glorious cheeses.

Grab a chunk of cheese from Murray's, and a loaf of crusty bread from the bakery next door, and head to Washington Square Park for an afternoon of people watching.

Which leads me to my next "must visit" choice.

5.  Washington Square Park - Greenwich Village

If I could, I would take a trip to NYC just to sit in this park.  

Day or night, night or day, hands down, one of my favorite all-time places to be.

What a wonderful mini 4-night vacation with the people I love, in the city I love.

Goodbye New York.

Thanks for the Memories!

Until Next Time.

2011 - February
Naples & Fort Myers Beach Florida
.  8 degree temps and 10 inches of snow was getting a bit too much.
We wanted to warm our bones for just a bit.
3 Nights in Naples, Florida - 1 Night in Fort Myers

We had never been to Southwest Florida, so everything we did, and everywhere we visited, were done by scouring the Internet for the perfect place - and what a glorious surprise!  Everything indeed, was PERFECT.

We started our decent into Fort Myers Airport at the most spectacular time.
I think I took 30 pictures from the plane window - I could not believe the beauty I was seeing.
So far, so good!

Neptune Inn
Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Link to NEPTUNE INN Fort Myers

We instantly fell in love with this Retro Florida Style inn right on the Gulf of Mexico.

Since we arrived at the hotel after sunset, we weren't sure exactly how the property looked in the daylight. Totally oblivious to the glorious surprise we would have when we opened our door in the morning.

A short walk up the beach that morning, lead us to this little bridge, which lead us to the best "Steamed" bagel sandwich I'd ever eaten. Seriously, EVER.
Tuckaway Cafe - Fort Myers Beach

Tucked away, this darling cafe makes their bagels and waffles fresh, every day.
Owned by a husband and wife whose specialty is "steaming" their bagels to make the best breakfast sandwich you've ever had. By steaming them, the bagles are soft, and the cheese is gooey.
Plus, Natasha shows you the best way to eat your bagel sandwich.  She will pull back the foil and fold it over the bagel for you, so you can have the best bagel sandwich-eating experience you've ever had.

Next stop, Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island is a Barrier Island sanctuary just north of Fort Myers beach that is world renowned for his shelling beaches. You will find young and old with buckets and bags bending over collecting hundreds of shells. Visitors stooping over, picking up shells, has become known as the "Sanibel Stoop".

Hubby doing the Sanibel Stoop.

After our afternoon of shelling and enjoying our short time in Fort Myers Beach, we head to Naples.

After searching the Internet for the perfect place to stay in Naples, we chose

The Cove Inn - Olde Naples

The instant we pulled into the Cove Inn, I fell totally and utterly in love.

Located right on Naples Bay situated on a natural peninsula of land extending into the waterway with spectacular views of calm bay water and gorgeous boats.

Link to COVE INN Naples Florida

Our room had a private balcony that overlooked the Chikee Bar and heated swimming pool.
The millisecond I walked into that room, I knew this was a place I will come back to over and over again.

This was the very first picture I took from our balcony.

 All settled into the room and off to the dock we go.  Down to the end lead us to 12th Ave, which lead us to Naples, Pier.  A short walk, 10 minutes or so, lead us down 12th Avenue and right into incredible shops and restaurants - then out to Naples Pier.

Next day we went to another beach in Naples called Clam Pass.
Simply Stunning.

I might have to make this photo my new desktop photo.

Someone was feeding the seagulls.

 Perfect ending to a perfect day, Dinner, a 6-pack of Corona and a Sunset Catamaran Cruise.

The next morning, we got up early for a day-trip tour in the Everglades arranged by Southwest Florida Eco Tours.  Dad and Son, came and picked us up in a very comfortable van, and off we went through the Everglades.  And it's TRUE.  There really are Gators just hanging out on the side of the road.
I made the dumb tourist comment and said "Oh Look, a Crockodile" and boy was I corrected!


Airboat Ride searching for Gators.  Here Gator Gator Gator.

Back from our Everglade adventure, we cleaned up and realized it was our last night in Naples.
Back to the daily grind tomorrow.
We heard from the locals that the best place to go catch a sunset, listen to some guitar, and have a cocktail, was Naples Beach Resort.  Boy were they right.  Suggestion: ASK THE LOCALS!


Sunset 6:20pm.  We must have gotten there right in time because there were two seats with perfect views waiting for us.

People started gathering with their chairs and pictures.  We got there just in time.

 Now we wait.

Back to our hotel and to The Dock Restaurant for our last dinner there.
Outdoor dinner on the dock by the boats, the trees lit up, it was so memorable.

Link to THE DOCK Restaurant

Last morning, coffee on our balcony.
3 hours and we have to head back to the airport.
Goodbye Cove Inn.  We will be back, FOR SURE we will be back.

One last quick trip to the beach on the way to the airport to soak in some sun and warm our bones before the bitter cold back home.

Goodbye Naples Beach.

Goodbye Friend

2010 - September
New York City

Quick 2 night 3 day trip to New York City
Thank You Expedia, for such a Fantastic Bargin Price

Raddisson Hotel
32nd & Broadway - Midtown Manhattan
Probably the BEST location in Midtown.
Subway entrance literally feet away from the front door.
Charming little greenscape (Hearald Sqauare) park directly
across the street.

Such an ideal location and home base.
Macy's across the street.
H & M 1 block away (which made my daughter utterly happy)

 All checked into the hotel, and off we go.
We only have 3 days to see the city and haste makes waste.
Down to the Subway we go.

First Stop.  Canal Street in China Town.

Poor Hubby.  He thinks we're going there for some Chinese Food.

Little does he know.

He's such a good sport.

I bought him something to eat from a street vendor and he was totally fine with hanging out while my daughter and I finished our girly stuff.

Shopping bags in tow, back on the subway for our next stop (I sware she spent her whole week's pay on that street).  Momma taught you right :)

Times Square

Lunch at Shake Shak in Times Square

Central Park

My baby girl loves her camera

I don't think I have one picture of her without an H & M shopping bag in her hand.

Dinner in Little Italy

My FAVORITE part of the trip - Greenwich Village's Washington Square Park at night.
The ambiance, the talented performers, the people watching, just incredible

Met up with a Blogger Friend in Washington Square.
Was simply one of those nights that goes down in the books.

 Listening to the performers in the park at night, was something unforgettable.

What a glorious end to a beautiful day.

Lower East Side Tenement Museum
Amazing immigrant history in this building, simply amazing.

Lunch is served

 Crazy fun vintage clothing store in Greenwich Village.
Could have stayed in there for hours, but figured Hubby had been on "shopping stand-by" enough on this trip.

Incredible City.
Wonderful quick 2 night get-away.
Oh we will be back. You bet your Big Apple we will.
  See you soon NYC.

2010 - February
Laguna Beach, California

12 degrees in the Midwest - led to a fantastic deal on Expedia -
led to 3 quick nights in Laguna Beach with 75 degree weather.

A quick escape from life's priorities was just what the doctor ordered.

 Tides Motel
Located in Downtown Laguna Beach on Pacific Coast Highway
Charming Retro 1950s Style
FABULOUS location

 The Tides Motel sits directly across the street from my
all-time favorite area in Laguna Beach
Cliff Drive - Utterly stunning views, all within walking distance from The Tides Motel

First morning woke up early and walked 1/2 block to Las Brisas for Breakfast Buffet.
Located on Pacific Coast Highway with the most incredible views.

After breakfast, another walk down Cliff Drive.
We just can't stay away from the views

Charming little park on Cliff Drive.
Note to self:  "Must come back here with a brown bag lunch to sit and just take in the wonder"

Stumbled across a morning Yoga class in a dream-like location.
Somehow, if I lived here, I think I could drag myself out of bed in the morning to attend an exercise class located here!
These poor people, I do feel sorry for them.

We can't take it anymore, we simply must head down the steps to the beach.

Somehow I knew hubby would love looking around for sea creatures in the nooks & crannies.

After exploring on the beach, we walked a few blocks to Downtown Laguna's Main Beach.
Sincerely the most charming beach town I've ever seen.
Maybe it didn't hurt that we had just left below zero wind chill.
It felt like heaven.

People getting a massage on the beach!
Only in California!

Most possibly the best little impromptu 3 night get-away we've ever taken.

One more walk down Cliff Drive before we catch our flight back home.

Oh look honey.
A cute little beach house For Lease on Cliff Drive.

 Good bye Laguna Beach.

Thank you for the most wonderful quick little vacation that satisfied my Wanderlust.