discovering Dijon

Not long ago I was invited to join Rendez-vous en France, the official site for France Tourism, as a select few traveled the country to create their new campaign Fall For France. Considering there were several regions of France I hadn’t yet explored, I eagerly accepted the adventure and boarded the train with Rail Europe. In under two hours I arrived to Dijon.


Dijon being the capital of the Burgundy region, naturally day one was spent wine tasting.


Bourgogne being my top choice in wine, I discovered new reds and even a few whites.


Being in the expert hands of the Dijon Tourism Office, our next stop was a special one.


The Clos de Vougeot vineyard was created by Cistercian monks of Cîteaux Abbey in 1336. This medieval wine farm was highly recognized for centuries. The Château de Clos de Vougeot, sitting regally within the stone wall, was added in 1551.


Since 1945, it is the seat of the Order for the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin.


Wine is no longer produced, but this historic Château holds many stories within it’s walls.


It was now time to enjoy the city, and why not from the 46m high La Tour Philippe de Bon?


The sunlit views were stunning, and I was eager to explore by foot down below.


I spent countless hours walking, looking up, admiring the architecture, the historic details.


I discovered a new love for a city and it’s neighboring landscapes. With local products in hand, including a few bottles of Bourgogne, Dijon mustard (I couldn’t leave without a tasting), and gingerbread (another specialty), I vowed to return when the vines are filled with leaves. Maybe even with a certain someone. There is much more to see… and taste.


My next adventure is taking me to Italy…feel free to follow along on Instagram + Facebook!


from south to north fork

Growing up on the South Fork, I rarely left the Hamptons. Possessing some of the most beautiful beaches in the US, it provides the ideal respite from life in chaotic New York City, and with family and friends all around, what more does one need? On this trip home however, we decided to venture north to Long Island’s wine country. With over 35 wineries, we decided to stop for tastings at the second oldest Lenz Winery, and Pindar.

IMG_2127The North Fork is a 30-mile-long peninsula, the easternmost part of the North Shore. Orient Point sits on the tip. Between the two forks are two large islands, Shelter Island and Gardiners Island. Much more rural feeling and not as chic as it’s southern counterpart, the North Fork is filled with vineyards, apple orchards and farms. An ideal weekend or day trip.

IMG_2070Enjoying the views along the way, we drove to Greenport where we stopped for lunch.

IMG_2079IMG_2120Many of the eateries were closed following the long Memorial Day weekend, including Claudio’s, the oldest same family owned restaurant in the United States, opened in 1870.

IMG_2123IMG_2051We took a walk in the village and the charm of Greenport was felt around every corner.

IMG_2102IMG_2093 IMG_2108   On the road home, the fruit and vegetable stands were enticing.

IMG_2160We enjoyed our time and tastings in the north, but were happy to call the south home.

scenes from Sicily

Last weekend my Italian and I ventured to Italy’s most southern region, Sicily. This was my first trip and his second. I had no idea what to expect in this island rich in culture and cuisine. After taking a swim in the still warm waters of the Mediterranean, we headed to our first destination, the island of Ortygia in Syracuse. This charming city reveals baroque facades with Greek,  Roman and Arab influences in it’s centuries old architecture. With Sicilian hospitality, we immediately felt at home.




One morning we spent at the archeological park where a massive Greek theater from 5th-century BC awaits it’s visitors. During the summer season it’s brought to life with classical concerts.

IMG_9897Being adventure seekers, we decided to drive to Noto. Destroyed by an earthquake in 1693, it was rebuilt to become the grandest baroque town in Sicily. Noto was recently added to Unesco’s list of world heritage sites, certainly worth a visit! And did I  mention that Noto is known for it’s gelato? More on that later…



IMG_9790The next stop on our Sicilian adventures was Modica. This multi-layered medieval town is uniquely atmospheric with it’s high and low levels, allowing for an incredible view. Here too, you find the most delicious chocolate and confections. How could I resist?



Our last stop was Taormina, the chic, sophisticated town that seduced many an artist and writer in it’s day. Here was the capitol of  Byzantine Sicily in the 9th century, and today it remains an international hotspot boasting views of a still active Mount Etna.



Four days spent beneath the Sicilian sun, learning about ancient history, discovering hidden beaches… dining on fresh pasta, fish and local sweets (the latter of which I’m devoting the next blog post to). A perfect holiday.

adventures down south

In mid-August my Italian and I decided to do like the Parisians, leave Paris to the tourists, and venture south. I had heard a lot about the unpretentious charm of France’s Cap Ferret, and was eager to discover it for myself. It has been likened to Montauk, the most unspoilt part of the Hamptons, where I grew up. Our first stop was lunch in a rainy but elegant Bordeaux. I know little of this city, this being my second visit, but look forward to becoming better acquainted in the future.

IMG_5619Rather than head directly to this trendy enclave, we stopped in Arcachon for a few days. Just enough time to meet with friends and climb the highest sand dunes in all of Europe.

IMG_5737The Dune du Pilat measures 107 meters high and I felt rather accomplished reaching the top!

IMG_5697We spent the afternoon climbing, jumping, running… and sitting beneath the late summer sun.

IMG_5968Our next stop was Cap Ferret. We settled in with a plate of oysters, local wine, and a view.


The dominant mode of transport is by bike. And that is how we explored this little French paradise.


I could immediately understand why it was compared to Montauk with it’s chic yet relaxed vibe.


After many great meals including at the highly revered Chez Hortense, it was time to bid adieu.

IMG_6006Via boat and train we made our way back to Paris filled with sounds and tastes of the sea.


This past spring when my mom came to visit, I thought about where to bring her. Last year we had explored Chantilly, and while it would have been a lovely time of year to visit Giverny, I opted to be more creative and we ventured to Auvers-sur-Oise. This commune, only about 27 kilometers northwest of Paris, was once home to the Impressionists. More specifically, Paul Cézanne, Charles-François Daubigny, Camille Pissarro, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and, Vincent van Gogh.


IMG_1742This was a trip into Van Gogh’s life. It was incredible to be amidst the church that he once painted.

IMG_1744It is here that he rests alongside his brother Theo, who passed away only 6 months after Vincent.

IMG_1750The next stop was Château d’Auvers where we discovered a most insightful interactive journey into the lives of the Impressionists. A unique experience! Not to mention the breathtaking gardens…


As the sun was setting we walked the length of the estate, reflecting on years long gone.

IMG_1820It was time to bid farewell to Auvers-sur-Oise. Like the artists before us, we headed back to Paris.

adventures in the keys

Admittedly, I’ve seen much more of the world than of my own homeland. My dream of driving cross-country to experience what is truly America remains to be realized. One day. For the time being my American adventures remain in New York and Florida with family and friends. During our recent trip to the Sunshine State, we did have the good fortune to take a mini road trip to the Florida Keys, along with my mom and her husband, final destination Key West.

IMG_5166Our first stop after nearly 3 hours of driving was just past Key Largo, which left much to be desired with it’s multitudinous strip malls and pharmacy’s, a kitschy fish restaurant in Islamorada. Savouring the catch of the day (and not thinking too much about which day it was actually caught), we continued on our way until we reached our destination for the night in nearby Marathon.

IMG_5224 Our secluded refuge was Tranquility Bay Resort, also home to the iguanas.

IMG_5232And tranquil it was, surrounded by clear blue stillness.


That evening we experienced a magical sunset along the 7-mile bridge… that alone worth the drive.


And still in time to sit beneath the glowing sky with a bottle of French wine.


The following morning we got back on the road, crossed the infamous bridge and made our way to Key West. First stop, Hemingway’s House. Not to mention his cats, all 45 of them.


Here is one of the 6-toed wonders, drinking from a urinal Hemingway ‘installed’ in his garden.


We also explored the infamous brothel Blue Heaven, where Hemingway spent many an evening.


After carousing the scenic town and indulging in key lime pie like proper tourists, we headed south.

IMG_5614To the southernmost tip of the USA. Last stop before the long drive home.

IMG_5697Guided by the setting sun alongside the historic Bahia Honda Rail Bridge… filled with memories.

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