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A Portland Photo Diary & Insider Guide

What to Do

Powell’s Books

A visit to Portland is not complete without stopping by one of the most iconic independent bookstores, Powell’s City of Books in the upscale Pearl District. One could easily spend an entire day here with the many floors and stacks of books in this massive bookstore. We even found our hardcover book, Dame Traveler: Live the Spirit of Adventure on the shelves! You can also grab a copy on their website.

Portland Japanese Gardens

The gardens made me feel like I teleported to Kyoto. The Portland Japanese Gardens are located in the West Hills and are incredibly peaceful. On a clear day, you can even experience spectacular views of Mount Hood. You can pre-purchase timed tickets online. $18.95 per adult.

Catch the Sunset from Portland City Grill

Great spot for almost 360 views of PDX from the 30th floor.

Alberta Arts District

This was one of our favorite areas in Portland. Thanks to how multicultural the Alberta Arts District is, the neighborhood is super vibrant with tons of colorful murals and endless trendy restaurants and boutiques. Every inch of the place is photogenic. Explore the area on your own or on a good tour with Eat Adventures!

Day trip to Portland’s Wine Country, Willamette Valley

With over 200 wineries, tons of farmer’s markets and beautiful scenery, the Willamette Valley is the perfect place to spend a day sipping on some of Portland’s best wines and it’s only quick 30 minute drive from downtown. Our favorite wineries were Domaine Roy & fils and Fairsing Vineyard.

Day Trip to Multnomah Falls

This stunning waterfall is an Instagram favorite and is so easy to get to from PDX. You can get there by car or take a shuttle from Portland’s Gateway Transit Center to the falls. Round trip fares are $10.

Where to Eat

Bollywood Theater

In the Alberta Arts District, this spot serves up very authentic Indian street food and Instagrammable interiors.

Bunk Sandwiches

Your go-to spot for a sandwich fix, especially their grilled cheese.

Shalom y’all

We absolutely loved the vibe of this location downtown. The space is small and cozy but the best spot to have lunch is at the gorgeous bar. The service was friendly and the food is just sublime.

1927 s’mores co.

Located downtown, 1927 s’mores co. is the most charming little slice of heaven. The moment you walk in you feel like you’re entering summer camp and the s’mores take you right back to your childhood.

Tusk

Dinner at Tusk elevates the Middle Eastern dining experience. The romantic and trendy ambiance is incredible and the delicious dishes are creative while also maintaining the authenticity of the Mediterranean cuisine.

Hey Love

Fun spot for drinks and group friendly.

Where to Caffeinate

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

We love the location inside the Ace Hotel thanks to its retro ambiance, cozy couches and delicious coffee. Pictured here: Dame Traveler: Live the Spirit of Adventure book.

Case Study Coffee

We absolutely loved this cozy coffee shop in the heart of downtown. Gorgeous interior, friendly service and delicious coffee.

Where to Stay

The Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Portland

This luxury hotel in the centrally located, Downtown PDX has one of the most beautiful views of the city from their rooftop, Departures. The excellent service is consistent with the Luxury Collection hotels and the posh aesthetic makes for a perfect stay.

Ace Hotel

One of our favorites in PDX, the Ace Hotel is a classic. The hipster and vintage style is perfectly aligned with the PDX vibe. It’s located in the Pearl District, making it super easy to explore the area by foot with easy access to some of the city’s top restaurants, bars and shops.

Woodlark Hotel

The interior design of the Woodlark is an Instagrammer’s dream. Light and airy spaces, vintage vibes and lovely attention to detail. Located Downtown.

Trip sponsored by Hotel Tonight.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. All opinions are my own.

 

Insider Tips North America

Washington, DC: An Insider’s Guide

Every inch of Washington, DC fills up with tourists every spring because of its iconic cherry blossom season… and there’s no doubt why. The pink blooms, beautiful weather and seasonal events are a treat after a cold winder in the north east. But I truly believe a visit to Washington, DC in the fall is a real delight! The area isn’t packed with travelers and visitors, and the quaint and historic quarters of the city feel colorful and alive.

As an American citizen who’s traveled far and wide, making the trip to our nation’s capitol feels like an important chapter to honoring my home country. Today, I’m excited to share with you all my seasonal discoveries I experienced this fall in DC. Here is my insider’s guide to autumn in Washington!

Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide

What To Do

Washington, DC is filled with many, many historic sights and relics, so it’s important to do your research before you hit the city! American history buffs will revel in all of Washington’s monuments, statues and museums. As a culture-seeking traveler myself, I’m always on the hunt for a healthy balance of historical places with local, authentic neighborhoods (and, of course, some delicious eateries in between)!

DuPont Circle

One of my favorite nooks of Washington was the residential neighborhood of DuPont Circle. Filled with eclectic eateries, warm coffee shops, shops and bookstores (always one of my favorite pit stops no matter where I am!), mansions and historic homes… DuPont Circle had my heart within minutes of exploring it. It’s the perfect blend of local/residential and urban liveliness!

Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Dolcezza Gelato
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide

Lincoln Memorial

A classic historical sight that had me speechless! The Lincoln Memorial is at the very top of every Washington bucket list you’ll find, but it’s for a good reason. Sit beside the Reflection Pool, especially at sunset and soak in the powerful message of Lincoln – “In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.”

Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide

Union Station

Train stations feel so nostalgic to me, and as an old soul, I feel like I’m constantly drawn to them. Union Station’s towering architecture is almost like the gateway into America’s capitol… and I loved photographing its beauty.

Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide

Capitol Hill

The historic Capitol Hill neighborhood of the city is scattered with some of the most important political meeting places in the country (the United States Capitol, Senate, Houses of Representatives and Supreme Court buildings)… just to name a few! It’s a bustling part of the city that’s also home to many 19th century row homes and markets too.

After exploring the iconic political buildings, get a taste of local life underneath the changing fall leaves! While exploring, I stopped at Peregrine Espresso for a warm cup of coffee while walking through the brisk autumn weather and loved it! I’d also highly recommend exploring Capitol Hill Books and the neighborhood’s Eastern Market too.

Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide

Library Of Congress

In between crunching the newly fallen fall leaves of the Capitol Hill neighborhood, be sure to take a stop into the Library Of Congress’s hallowed halls. Simply, utterly stunning – aren’t they? This research library serving the US Congress is the national library of the US and is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States… making a must-do in my eyes!

Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide

National Mall

The iconic, long stretch of the National Mall is flanked by some of the most important monuments and memorials in Washington… making it one of the most-visited sight in the city. You’ll find school groups, military groups, local workers, international tourists and people from all walks of life here. It’s a buzzing section of the city that cannot be missed!

Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide

Chinatown

I always like to explore smaller, immigrant-historic neighborhoods when possible… so I had to add Washington’s Chinatown to my autumn visit. The area is filled with such amazing markets and restaurants! The giant arch was also one of the largest in the world when it was built back in 1986!

Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide

Adams Morgan

In Adams Morgan, neighborhood charm meets monumental grandeur. Adams Morgan is DC’s only 24-hour neighborhood with live music seven nights a week, all night diners, early morning coffee shops and midday shopping at local bookstores, shops and vintage boutiques. Area restaurants showcase DC’s diverse cultural population with a focus on Ethiopian, Salvadorian, Barbecue, Vietnamese, West African, Middle Eastern, Japanese and Peruvian fare. We recommend having coffee at Tryst and dinner at Afghani restaurant, Lapis.

Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide

Where To Stay

Washington is the perfect getaway during those cozy, chilly fall months… especially if you choose a hotel that feels like a home away from home. As a last minute planner, I’m a huge fan of Hotel Tonight for finding the perfect place to rest your head, especially for last minute trips. I’m always completely inspired by the carefully curated properties they offer (and the Daily Drop prices that show a special deal every day).

The Line DC

Chic, un-stuffy and perfectly situated in the Adams Morgan neighborhood (a lively area of the city any season of the year) – The Line DC is an eclectic hotel I simply adored staying in. The hotel pays homage to its building’s 110 year history with every detail, from its full service radio broadcast hosted live from the lobby, its restaurant’s diverse American inspired-international menu and many seasonal, cultural events hosted on sight. The Line DC really felt like a place to rest and recuperate and meet up with friends and locals.

Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide

The Adams Morgan neighborhood (where The Line is located) was the perfect walking distance from everything I had on my list to see and experience!

Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide
Autumn In Washington, DC: An Insider's Guide

If you’re looking for a cozy weekend in the Northeast, I couldn’t recommend Washington, DC more! It’s filled with historic relics and lovely restaurants, museums, and quaint neighborhood gems.

Stay sponsored by Hotel Tonight.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. All opinions are my own.

Advice Journal Travel Planning

13 Of The Most Romantic Destinations In The World

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day coming up this week, today we’re sharing an unexpected list. Say goodbye to tips and tricks for dating and love, say hello to romantic destinations! So, whether you book your trip there with someone special, or just for yourself… get swept away with us today. From the lush countryside, the quiet of starry nights in the jungle or the hushed, full life of a bustling city… we narrowed down our list to include the destinations we believe are provide own unique kind of romance!

Paris, France

It’s a cliche that is just oh so true. Paris oozes a romance. With its rich literary history, dense and delicious culinary treats, opulent architecture and lush music… how could you not be swept off your feet?

Falling in love? Check out our guide to Paris’s most beautiful locations, our art lover’s guide to the City of Light or our literary guide to the city.

Siena, Italy

“La bella vita.” A beautiful life. It’s waiting for you in Siena. Enjoy slow living, savoring each and every moment, the nuances of every nook and cranny of this small Medieval town as you take in the evening sunsets of Tuscany.

Siena sound up your alley? Check out our round up of our favorite Tuscany towns and why we’re always dreaming of the Tuscan region of Italy.

Bruges, Belgium

There isn’t a more charming destination than Bruges. Get lost in the weaving canals, cobbled stoned streets and medieval, cookie cutter, leaning buildings. Bruges really lays it on with its quaintness.

Kauai, Hawaii

The “garden island” of Hawaii is essentially Jurassic Park come to life. Hike the tropical greens of the Na Pali Coast, learning how to surf with locals, sipping on fresh coconut water and watching the sun set over the cliffs of the island.

Tropical islands sound like your perfect romantic destination? Check out some of our other favorite islands in the world.

Kyoto, Japan

The historic, ancient city of Kyoto bedazzles the traveler with its classic Buddhist temples, gardens and imperial palaces. Spend hours taking in the city’s Shinto shrines, classic homes, bamboo forests, exploring the Gion district (once home to geishas) and taking in the city’s incredible cafe culture. Even if you only have a short stay in Kyoto, it’s sure to romance you!

Amalfi Coast, Italy

The coastline of Italy is flush with romance. The rugged shoreline swell with some of the bluest, clearest water to swim in. Imagine yourself sunning yourself on the shore and spending the next afternoons exploring the pastel hued shops and cafes, relaxing under the lemon trees and staying in terraced villas that dot the coast. See why it’s the perfect place for a solo trip or a the ultimate girls getaway!

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is the laid back city of your dreams. Nestled in the Catalonia region of Spain, it’s the perfect match for the traveler looking for the most delicious foods, wines and landmarks. Take in the modernist art and fantastical architecture of the city as you party into the wee hours of the night with locals.

New York, New York

NYC is often considered an acquired taste. But if it’s for you, there’s no place more romantic in the world. Enjoy the swirling, messy, bustling streets, the quiet historic boroughs, the smells and colors of the city that never sleeps.

Venice, Italy

Venice may possibly be gone in the next hundred years. But that means you absolutely must fall in love with this lagoon lying capital sooner rather than later. Imagine yourself dizzying lost in the canals of the islands, hearing the water lap beside you as you sip wine and nosh on delicious pasta outside of the Renaissance aged buildings.

Spend your time getting lost in this city, and you’ll find yourself utterly in love with Venice.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Lush, tropical Buenos Aires awaits for the traveler looking to feel the hot heat of the sun kissing their shoulders. It’s the perfect mix of cosmopolitan, culturally rich, history and beach-y. Lie on the shore of the South Atlantic Ocean in between stops to the balconied palaces and colorful streets.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Bundle up your scarf and gloves, sip on delicious coffees and fresh stroopwaffles while dodging the bicycles that whisk by. Take in some of the world’s best art in museums and window shop in some of the coolest boutiques. Amsterdam is truly a charmer.

Game Reserve, Botswana

The game reserves of Botswana is where travelers can find themselves incredibly close to the wild, untamed nature you could only dream of. Get in touch with the wonder of this world in beautiful Botswana. Safari exploration sound like your ultimate trip? Do your research! There are so many types of incredible safaris for any kind of explorer.

Porto, Portugal

The seaside city of Porto languidly sits awaiting visitors to find themselves lost there. Feel the seaside breeze while you explore the narrow, cobbled streets, Baroque buildings and impressive bridges, stopping whenever you fancy for delicious port wines and tapas. How could you not fall in love with this place?


Has the spirit of romance inspired your bucket list? What is the most romantic destination you’ve ever visited?

Food Insider Tips North America Road Trippin Travel Planning

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

As a resident of Seattle, I have been fortunate to experience the beautiful destinations scattered around the Pacific Northwest. What I love most about this part of the country, is that you can spend each season differently and somewhere completely new, which is why I’d like to share with you my favorite spots for each season! Here is our insider’s guide to the perfect weekend escapes in the PNW.

Winter: Lake Wenatchee

Why Lake Wenatchee?

Tucked away in the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains is a glacier and snow-fed lake, known as Lake Wenatchee. If you love everything that comes with winter, then this is the perfect winter escape for you. Lake Wenatchee will give you the outdoor access most suited for snow shoeing, back country skiing and cross country skiing. The closest ski resort, Steven’s Pass is also about 20 miles away.

The Lake Wenatchee area has many options for lodging but I most often book through Airbnb. In fact, the best Airbnb I ever stayed at was at The Duncan Cabin.

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

It’s a rustic log cabin that was originally built in 1890 by Norwegian immigrants and was renovated in 2014. My favorite part about this dreamy cabin was making breakfast on the wood-burning stove; I felt like I was transported back in time!

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Spring: Smith Rock State Park and Vantage, WA aka The Frenchman’s Coulee

When it comes to rock climbing, I couldn’t pick one place. Both Smith Rock and Vantage are equally as beautiful and both are worth checking out, but it really depends on the amount of time you have. Smith Rock is better if you have a long weekend 3+ days, and Vantage is best for a quick weekend trip. The Smith Rock road trip from Seattle is also stunning with beautiful views of Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge.

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Why Smith Rock?

I mean, first of all look at this place…

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Found in central Oregon, Smith Rock is not only breathtaking but has routes for all levels of climbers. Here there are more than a thousand routes that are bolted and waiting to be clipped into as well as miles of hiking and mountain biking trails.  

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Why Vantage?

Similar to Smith Rock, Vantage is a popular destination for rock climbers with incredible rock formations along the Columbia River Gorge. It’s perfect for those looking to practice their belaying skills as well as those who are advanced climbers. Nearby you will find hikes with views of the columnar basalt and a seasonal spring waterfall surrounded by blossoms.

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Note: If you’re a climber it’s best to come here in the spring before the high desert temperatures take affect. It’s also a great escape from the cool spring temps of Seattle. In the spring it reaches 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit and in the summer the temperatures can reach up to 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit.

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Summer: Shi Shi Beach

Why Shi Shi Beach?

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Located on the rugged Olympic Coast, Shi Shi Beach is the dreamiest beach in Washington. You can get here by car after you take the ferry from Seattle, but once you arrive at the trailhead it’s 8 miles round trip. Make sure you are prepared to hike in and out with your food, water (or water filter, there is a stream close by) and camping gear. 

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Once your camp is setup, it’s time to explore! The sandy beaches are covered with white bleached logs and go on for miles. There are stunning rock formations, also known as Point of Arches at each end perfect for the eager photographer to capture during sunset. At low tide, you can search tidal pools where you’ll discover crab, fish and starfish hidden between the crags of the arches. At night, if you’re able to gather dried driftwood you can make a cozy fire and fall asleep to the waves crashing into the shore.

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Fall: Leavenworth, WA

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Two hours east of Seattle is the Bavarian themed town of Leavenworth. This little town is charismatic with twinkling lights strung through the whole town! With Oktoberfest, breweries, Bavarian cuisine, live music, shopping and more it’s definitely worth checking off your list this Fall!

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Whenever I visit Leavenworth I stop at Icicle Brewery where I usually treat myself to their raspberry Hefeweizen or Chocolate Stout (warning: it tastes just like a milkshake). For dinner, I like to go to restaurants with live music and schnitzel, because when in Leavenworth, you must eat schnitzel! I’ve most often stopped at the Bavarian Bistro and Bar because there is no cover and they serve the best hot buttered rum in town that warms you up on a chilly fall night! It’s the perfect weekend escape in the PNW.

Bonus Location For All Of You Hiking Fans: Snow Lake

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Snow Lake is a gorgeous hike 60 miles east of Seattle in Snoqualmie Pass. It is 6.6 miles round trip making it good for all ages and fitness levels. The trail goes up above the South Fork Snoqualmie River through forests and over a pass to a gorgeous alpine lake. In early fall, I like to pack up lunch, head up to the lake and spend the day with friends surrounded by the striking foliage.  

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Limiting my favorite places to only a few was hard because there are countless places around the Pacific Northwest to be explored! However, I can say with certainty, that these have been the most memorable getaways for me and I cannot wait to discover more this spring! 

 

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Hotels Luxury North America

Hotels We Love: Four Seasons Chicago

With newly renovated rooms and views overlooking the Magnificent Mile, John Hancock tower, Lake Shore Drive AND the Chicago skyline, it’s no wonder why the Four Seasons Chicago is considered one of the best hotels to stay in the Windy City. It doesn’t just stop at the bird’s eye views, the building of the hotel offers indoor access to The Shops at 900 North Michigan (VERY convenient during Chicago’s cold winters), is equipped with a full organic spa, is decorated with original Art work from famous photographers and artists alike, a world class restaurant and more.


Room
With a multi-million dollar renovation unveiled last year, the Four Seasons Chicago‘s 280 guest rooms are shining brighter than ever. With light and airy tones and hints of blue inspired by its neighbor, Lake Michigan and plenty of natural light shining in from its massive windows, the rooms will make you never want to leave the hotel.

Lakeview Executive Suite
This room offers a sliding door that separates the bedroom from the living room offering the ultimate privacy and making this room feel like home. Windows cover the walls from the living room to the bedroom that boast views of Lake Michigan, Michigan Avenue and the city skyline.


Room Service
A wide selection of (delicious) options are offered in the hotel’s breakfast, all-day dining and late night menus.


Martini Man
The Four Seasons is always a winner when it comes to creative experiences making every stay at their hotels more than just a place to rest your hear. Case in point, the Four Seasons Chicago offers an in-room bartender in the evenings that will create a martini to your liking with tons of options and fun garnishes!


Allium
The Modern American Restaurant at Allium has just topped my list of favorite restaurants in the Windy City. We sampled a ton of delicious dishes from  from Chef Sean Murray: and the Lobster Nachos with avocado, goat cheese, pickled jalapeno and corn tortillas and the Brick Chicken were some of my favorite highlights.

Healthy juices to kick start your day: Turmeric Tonic (orange, cayenne, apple cider vinegar, sea salt) and Green with Envy (kale, honeydew, fennel, pear, lime, ginger).

Power Grain Bowl (wild rice, freekeh, kamut, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, cranberry-miso dressing)


Spa
With a 50 foot indoor pool (that was actually the location where the cannonball scene in the movie Home Alone 2 was filmed by the way!) is a pure dream with views of Michigan avenue from its windows. The Spa also offers world-class organic treatments where you can relax in the spa lounge, whirlpool and or steam room before and after. The Lake Shore Hydrating Facial was the perfect solution to our super dehydrated skin being exposed to the cold winter months in NYC. The Spa uses Sothys, one of the best product lines in the skin & beauty industry.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. I was invited as guest by the Four Seasons Chicago. As always, all opinions are my own.

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