Wednesday, March 31, 2010

First Stop in LA

Just in case my last post scared you (with my overly earnest healthy snack options), fear not:  we are also madly in love with In-N-Out, and it is our first stop the second we clear the rental car parking lot.  The In-N-Out on Sepulveda Blvd. is about a 3 minute drive from the lot, and besides having perfect burgers, it has the best view of the LAX airport.  We like to sit outside, and watch the airplanes come in for landing.

Monday, March 29, 2010


We haven't flown in months--and we are off to Los Angeles and Santa Barbara tomorrow for a week. I had to re-do our travel activity kit, since Clara's interests have evolved.  I'm trying to put together enough things so that it will work for the flights both ways, and restaurants. I'm putting in I-Spy , this Fifteen Puzzle , an old handwriting primer (it's old school with nice cursive--we'll see if that's successful), and while there are Little Miss books pictured here, we're going to sub them out with the paperback Little House on the Prairie , which we're going to go buy right now. I'm putting everything in this clear Mr. B bag, because it's easy to see whatever is in it.  Mr. B isn't in business anymore, but a ziplock would do just fine.

I also love this suede notebook --I just had to replace the notebook since the other one was full, and made sure all the pencils were sharpened.

Another task for today is the charging of the DVD player.  While I'm pretty sure that Delta will have the in-flight entertainment system in the seatbacks, sometimes the programming they have isn't appropriate for Clara, or it has some kind of malfunction.  I'm also notorious for forgetting the charge it, or not bringing the plug, or the headphones.  So I am taking care of all of this today, so hopefully it all goes smoothly tomorrow. I've learned to always bring the wall plug and the car charger, as you never know what you'll end up needing.
I made a stop at the food coop and picked up food for the three of us for our 6 hour flight. Every time I do this, I end up with leftovers that we end up putting in the hotel mini-bar, and are always so happy we have it.  We do the same thing on the way back from wherever we are--usually we stop at a Whole Foods and head straight for the buffet or the prepared foods section.  You just have to remember not to buy water, or anything liquid like yogurt, because there's nothing more annoying than throwing out something and then buying it again after you go through security.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

File Under Rentals: Camogli, Italy

Years ago Matt and I went to the Cinque Terre, and loved it.  It's an area I've always wanted to go back to, but wanted to wait until Clara was old enough to walk the billy-goat paths that connect the towns.  I think my favorite part of the whole experience of being there, is that you get to go on these walks, and at the end of each path (most of them are about 45 minutes between the towns, or at least the towns I went to), there are great places to eat. I've started looking for possible places to rent, and think this one looks really nice.  The town of Camogli is at the top of the Cinque Terre, and you can easily take a train there, if you don't feel like the hassle of a rental car.  That's another great thing about this area--you can take the train so easily, and then do a train/walk combo to get around.

The Good Old Days

How cool is this book?  Matt found this for me a while back, and it makes me so happy whenever I look at it.  I love the drawings and the concept. Somebody please re-print this (it's from 1962)...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cookbooks That Inspire Travel

(above, some of our collection)
I've bought books on in the past, so I get emails when new cookbooks come out. Usually I can't stand getting emails from anyone trying to sell me anything, but I like getting these, because they are always books or chefs I haven't necessarily heard of, and I'm always so pleased with whatever I order.  I just saw that Jamie Oliver is coming out with a book on April 15, inspired by his travels in Europe. I really love Jamie Oliver (who doesn't?) and I like the way he approaches travel (his magazine showcases alot of it), so I bet it will be good.  
Here are some of my favorites that I learned about from the UK site, but are now on Amazon in the States, so you don't have to worry about expensive shipping charges...

Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros (Greece, Finland)

Kitchen of Light by Andreas Viestad (Scandinavia)(this has inspired a trip to Norway, hopefully this summer!)

Beaneaters and Bread Soup by Lori di Mori (Tuscany) (this showcases all these different farmers, restauranteurs, and artisans, and we used it as a guide when we were there)
French Feasts by Stephane Reynaud (Actually, I like every book by him!) 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bring Back From Brazil...Granado Products

I am such a sucker for packaging.  I was just going through my stack of tear sheets, and found one that had Brazilian products on it--and the Granado products caught my eye.  I can't believe that Matt was just there for a week and I didn't know to ask him to bring me some back.  They have a baby line too.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Travel Moment

I found this image (film camera--probably why it looks so good!) from a trip we did in Stockholm when Clara was just three.  We were on a little ferry boat, and I just love the light and her expression.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sunscreens for Kids

My friend Stephanie has asked me to post about great sunscreens...and since I haven't seen the sun in many months, I feel a little out of the loop.  First of all, I have to say, that when it comes to kids, I am always going to go for the natural option.  For myself, I am more interested in what will blend in and not be shiny or greasy all day.  So for now, I am really just writing about kids, and if you need to put this stuff on, be prepared, it might make you look like your ready for a Kabuki debut.

Last summer, we used Burnout Sunscreen, which we picked up at a natural food store in Half Moon Bay, and the person selling it to me was a surfer, who said it really worked.  It did.  And it did rub in easily.  Check out its claims on their website.

I'm also a fan of Soleo, out of Australia...but it is a bit greasy.

Our friends Dewey and Stephanie who live in Santa Barbara and are always in the sun, sent me some Solar RX Sunblock, which I am going to try as soon as I get to the sun.  I am sure if they like it, it must be great. I am hoping to try it out over spring break, so I will let you know.

When in doubt, I look at Christy Coleman's site to see what she likes.  I think she's really smart, and I like what she links to.  She has a very informative list here.

Please let me know if you have something that works well for you.  We all need to know this stuff.

Lancaster PA

On our way to Bedford Springs, we broke for lunch in Lancaster.  It was a nice mid-point for us, and I had always wanted to go to the Lancaster Central Market there.  Apparently it's the oldest one in the country (although I feel like I've heard that claim from others), and it's in a nice town that has some great antiquing. The market was good, not great.  It had some fantastic pancake and johnny cake mixes for super cheap ($2.75 for a bag), and great jams, and delicious local yogurts.  But it didn't have alot of options for lunch, so we just cobbled together something from the different stands.  Across the way is the Heritage Center Museum, which has a very cool section for kids, with Amish wooden toys they can play with. Head to North Queen and Walnut Streets if you're into scoring some cool finds in junk shops and antique stores.
Below: Heritage Center Museum

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Old Bedford Village

About 10 minutes drive from the Omni Bedford Springs Resort, (which I wrote about in yesterday's post) is this fantastic living history village. We got there an hour before closing, and rushed through it as fast as we could, but I would go back, and plan to spend at least a half a day. It was so well done--there's nothing cheesy about it.
(above: an officer, and his rooster)
(above is the restaurant, and below is the inside)
(above: basket maker)
(above: the shoemaker)
(knife-throwing, and they showed matt how to do it)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Northeast Indoor Pool Series: Omni Bedford Springs Resort

I've been wanting to write about this place since I started this blog, because I like it so so much.  But I held off, because I think most people don't think about driving into the heart of Pennsylvania in the middle of winter.  Now that spring is almost here, I imagine that you might read this and actually take the trip.  Today I'll write about the resort (and its beautiful indoor pool, that uses their natural mineral spring water), but all this week, I'll write about the road trip to and from...because if you want to build a whole trip around the getting there and the coming back, there is great stuff to do both ways.
  Here's the story with the Omni Bedford Springs Resort:  It has been around for forever--since the early 1800s--as it was a destination because of its eight mineral springs.  In 2007, it re-opened, after a brilliant renovation, that cost a whopping $120 million, and brought the hotel back to its historic grandeur, with just the right amount of modern.  It's really the best renovation I think I've ever seen.  Everything there is really perfectly done.  It's the kind of place that would make these kinds of people happy: history buffs, antique/vintage shoppers (great antiquing in town), food/wine obsessed, design obsessed, spa goers (world-class spa with well trained therapists and great products). The rooms are so well appointed, the staff is great, and the food is so good.  It's about four hours from NYC, so you really would want to stay at least two nights, to make the drive worth it...but enough talking about it--look at the pictures.
(the antique flag behind reception)
(1796 Room, one of three restaurant options at the property--the decor is so insanely perfect)
(The Crystal Room, where breakfast and buffet meals are served)
(the outdoor pool, which was lovely, but it was too cold to use.  note the shallow ledge that is perfect for toddlers, and the cabanas perfect for naps)
(outdoor fire pit/smore happenings)
(the spa indoor whirlpool, with cold plunge in the back, and the original water bottles from the bedford springs)
(a staircase in the hotel--just to show you the level of perfect renovation that happened)
(reproduction wallpaper)
(hand forged local room numbers and signage)