Tag Archives: wine

Cape Cod MUSTs

3 Jan

Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod – The wine tastings are $10 per person and you try 5 wines.

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White Crest Beach in Wellfleet, MA – the cliffs and beach are beautiful.

The Beachcomber – It’s a bar & restaurant in Wellfleet, MA.  The drinks are great and the nachos are even better!

Cape Cod Chip Factory – The tour is really not all that great since you just walk down a hallway while looking through windows into the factory and reading the history of the factory.  However, at the end you can buy a lot of different types of Cape Cod chips that I have not seen in stores.

Provincetown – Visit the art galleries, walk around, and see a show.

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Eat dinner at the Lobster Pot in Provincetown, MA.  I don’t even eat seafood and I loved the food here.

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Our Honeymoon to South Africa and Mauritius

2 Dec

 

I created a video of our honeymoon to give you an idea of what can be done in two weeks in South Africa and Mauritius.   Soon I will be posting our itinerary and more detailed information about each of the locations.  Stay tuned to CourtneyMara.com!

The Essential Travel Guide to Perth

25 Mar

Perth, in Western Australia, is one of the most modern and fastest growing cities in the developed world.  Despite this, it is still what would be considered a ‘hidden gem’ when it comes to taking a holiday in Australia. Most tourism in the country centres on the huge coastal cities in the south and east, that everyone around the world knows about. If not there, then the ‘Red Centre,’ with Uluru, Alice Springs, and thousands of miles of outback, tends to enjoy much attention.

A huge city and well on course to become a global business hub in recent years, Perth offers just as much as the other areas mentioned.

To prove it, we looked at some of the great things to see, at places to eat, and at where to stay when you travel there.

Getting to Perth

Before experiencing such a great place, you need to get there first. While Perth has a major international airport taking flights from cities around the world, look to add a touch of adventure to your trip.

Travel into another major city by aeroplane, and then use a company such as Transfercar to enjoy cheap or free car hire across the country to Perth. Yes, such a journey will take a few days, but it will give you the opportunity to add another experience to your break.

Some free time will also allow you to plan what to do when you get to Perth.

Getting Your Head Down

If you are looking at the higher end of accommodation yet do not want to pay a fortune, consider somewhere like the Metro Hotel. Four stars and close to the city centre, it is clean, tidy, and comfortable, with great transport links out of and around Perth.

Alternatively, the Underground Backpackers Hostel is almost in the dead centre of the city. This location will give you great comfort at even more of a bargain price.

Finding a Bite to Eat

With hundreds of bars and restaurants, finding the best can be a chore. Depending on your tastes, Perth offers something for every palate.

The Red Cray Seafood Restaurant offers great tasting fresh dishes for lovers of fish, crab, and a range of exotic seafood. Saowanee’s Place is one of the better Thai restaurants in Perth. Sawanee’s has won awards in each of the last five years if you need any more convincing.

What to Do

As with every Australian city, Perth is a culture and heritage rich place with so much to see and do.

  • Outside of the city, head south to the popular town and wine region of Margaret River, where you will find great shops and restaurants.
  • Back in Perth, take a tour of the once notorious Fremantle Prison, a former Australian convict site now on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
  • Sea life lovers have to visit the Aquarium of Western Australia, home to the country’s largest single aquarium and one of the best such centres in the country.

There will be even more to discover when you get to Perth. Print out and keep this list for those annoying occasions when your mind draws a blank.

This article is written by Transfercar, a car rental Australia service, providing travellers free transport for major cities in Australia.

 

The MUST SEEs of Rome

8 Mar

Matt and I only had a few days in Rome, but we were able to see A LOT.  Below are some of our MUST SEEs of Rome!  And, make sure to stay tuned to CourtneyMara.com for the post containing our full Italy itinerary, which will show how we really saw so much of Italy in just 8 days!

  • Visit the Trevi Fountain

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  • Tour the Colosseum.  Book your tickets in advance (DO DO DO).  This saves you from waiting in the line that goes on forever!  Also, I highly recommend the tickets that include the upper level and dungeons.  The photo taken below was from the upper level.  You can only go there with a tour.  We booked our tickets through TickItaly.com.

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  • Visit the Vatican.  Again, I recommend booking your tickets in advance to skip the huge line and I highly recommend a tour.  We bought our tickets through the Vatican’s website.

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  • Eat a lot of gelato!   I recommend Old Bridge, which is next to the Vatican, and Giolitti.  

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  •  Visit the Aventine Key Hole.  Amazing view of St. Peter’s Basilica.  The picture below is of Matt looking through the key hole.

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  • Go inside the Pantheon!  It’s free and just incredible.  

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Enjoy Rome!

A Couple Days in Venice

17 Jan

Matt and I spent a couple days in Venice in November 2012.  Venice is a MUST DO sometime in your life.  It is incredible.  Venice is made up of 144 islands.  We spent our two days there just walking, walking and walking.  We tried to explore as many islands as possible.  Below are some of our recommendations:

  • Eat, eat and eat!  We loved dinner at Hosteria Al Vecio Bragosso (see picture below).

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  • Take a ride in a gondola.  MUST MUST MUST.  

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  • Visit the Venetian/Jewish Ghetto.  There is a very interesting history that can be read about here.

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  • Drink Prosecco and eat tiramisu near Piazza San Marco.  It is totally touristy and over priced, but the area is so romantic and iconic.

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Have a great trip to Venice!

Please post your recommendations in the comments section below.

One Day in Tuscany

10 Jan

Matt and I spent one day exploring Tuscany with a tour we booked through Viator.  It was my favorite day in Italy.  I HIGHLY recommend this tour.  The tour picks up in Florence and starts with an hour in Siena.  Siena is a UNESCO world heritage site and is known for its medieval architecture and its annual horse race called the Palio.  We toured the main church (see picture of inside the church below) and shopped in the main plaza.

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After Siena we had a wonderful lunch at an organic farm.  We had the most scrumptious garlic bread and pasta topped off with an all you can drink wine tasting.

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After lunch we went to San Giovanni.  The architecture and town were incredible.  I felt like I was walking through a real Renaissance town.  We spent about an hour there.  Matt and I hiked to the top where you can see an incredible landscape.  We then went to what is said to be the best gelato place in the world.  I believe the place was called Dondoli Gelataria.

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Our last major stop was in Pisa.  I am sure you can imagine what we did: we climbed the Leaning Tour of Pisa.  I recommend getting advanced tickets so you don’t have to wait in line.  This is a MUST DO.

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The day ends around 7pm in Florence, Italy.

Enjoy Tuscany!

4 Days in San Francisco

10 Nov

In November 2010, Matt and I spent four days in San Francisco.  We had the best time and constantly remind ourselves of how much we love San Francisco.  The following is an itinerary for our four days in San Fran:

Day 1:

Walk around Fisherman’s Wharf.

Eat clam chowder in a bread bowl.

Eat ice cream sundae at Gharadelli.

Go to Pier 39.  See the sea lions. DON’T do the mirror maze.

Walk up Lombard Street.

Take the trolley.

Visit Chinatown.


Day 2:

Visit Alcatraz.  Book your tickets well in advance.

Have lunch at the Ferry Building Marketplace.


Day 3:

DO a wine tour in Sonoma and Napa Valley.


Day 4: 

Bike to Sausalito.  You’ll bike over the Golden Gate Bridge.

DO eat in the Italian district.  We loved North Beach Restaurant.

Enjoy San Francisco!

Around the World Embassy Tour

9 May

Last Saturday, Erika, Stacia and I hit up Embassy Row in Washington, DC, for the Around the World Embassy Tour, which was part of Passport DC. Here are some of my comments about the embassies that we visited:

Brazil:  The Capoeira was entertaining.  The ambassador’s residence was beautiful.  Disappointed by the lack of food and drinks especially for a country that has such great food and drinks.

 Turkey:  Great art and booths about the different areas of the country and Northern Cyprus.  Wine tasting was not so great, but appreciated.  There were some food samples that were ok.

Japan:  Cool exhibits, such as the tsunami exhibit.

Chad:  You kind of just walk in and then walk out.  Super small space, but interesting to learn about a less familiar country.

Cote d’Ivoire:  We were treated like queens at this embassy.  The financial attache took a picture of us with guys dressed in traditional outfits.  We were given a good size plate of food.

Belize:  Not impressed.  Food for sale. No entertainment when we were there.  I think/hope they were still getting set up.

Indonesia:  Beautiful building.  The stairwell took our breathe away.

Mozambique:  Good info.  I really want to go to this country.

Peru:  Free drinks.  Food outside looked good, but they were charging.  Llamas were adorable.  This is a great embassy to visit.

Rwanda:  Supposedly great coffee (they ran out by the time we got there).  Beautiful brochure.  Not much to the embassy.

Venezuela:  GREAT juice!  The guava juice was amazing.  There was a tour, then juice outside, then music, then a tourism room.  Great set up.

Australia:  Best overall experience.  Got fake tattoos.  Did a wine tasting (great wine).  Tried some good cheese.  Saw some lizards.  Great exhibits.

Don’t forget that THIS SATURDAY is Shortcut to Europe: European Union Embassies’ Open House!  I hope to see you out there!