Thursday, October 28, 2010

Easy Weekend Getaway

Last winter I drove to Vermont, and passed by this cute property, the Sylvanus Lodge . It's in Hillsdale, NY, but it's pretty much in the Berkshires area. I didn't go inside, but from looking at the pictures, and seeing how reasonable it is ($80-$125 in peak season), I think it's worth giving it a try. The studio apartment is really the only option for families, and it can sleep up to five.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Reason to Choose Newark

My husband just flew through Newark this week, and called me up ecstatic. An Oyster Bar just opened up in the last several months! He is a die-hard Delta man, but since the food in their terminal at JFK is so awful (I liked the Todd English restaurant there the first time, and never again), and the upgrade seems a ways off, I'm trying to convince him to switch his allegiance to Continental.
Thank you Matt for the photos. And you can read more about it on his blog, The William Brown Project.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Demystifying Car Rentals

One of my favorite travel experts out there is Joe Brancatelli . Last week he did a piece for on rental cars, and how to get the best deal. Even though I've travelled a ton, somehow I'm always confused at the rental car counter--I get insurance amnesia--am I supposed to get it? Which one am I supposed to not take?  Well, this piece not only answers that and breaks down many other mysteries, but also shares some booking sites that can apparently save you tons of money. Check it out!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Brooklyn Weekend

What a great weekend we had staying in town. I hadn't been to our farmer's market in ages and there were such cute amusements for kids I almost felt like I could have been in Paris. Well, maybe that big arch in the background had something to do with it. (Farmer's Market is at Grand Army Plaza on Saturdays, and not only is it at the top of Prospect Park which has loads of great things to do (carousel, zoo, meadow, playgrounds, lovely walking paths), but it's right across from the Brooklyn Public Library, and just down the road is the Brooklyn Botanical Garden).  We also discovered a great place for breakfast or lunch, called Cheryl's, on Underhill, just off of Eastern Parkway, which is a 5 minute walk from any of the above, and has the most delicious pancakes.
 Delicious donuts and hot apple cider from the market
 Organ Grinder Lola and Master Bob let kids have a try...
 Underhill Playground which is like kid utopia--families bring their old toys and leave them there for everyone to play with.
 Clara wanted to wear her kimono to the botanical garden.
 The Patrick Dougherty sculpture exhibition at the BBG is amazing.
 Who knew--the first Children's Garden in the country...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Best/Cheapest Midtown Meal

A couple of weeks ago I had an event in midtown, and brought Clara along with me. Afterwards, we needed to eat quickly, and I wanted to find a place that wasn't a typical overpriced midtown restaurant. I decided on Menchanko Tei , and it was perfect. One bowl of noodles and an appetizer of dumplings was enough for the two of us. That plus the most perfect mug of draft Ichiban, and we walked out (in less than 30 minutes) for $22. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

A New Travel Resource

I love this new site Design Tripper . And I'm not just saying that because they interviewed me. They have a great eye, and even though it isn't officially a parenting travel site, there's a lot of information for families. Bookmark it!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Coney Island

 It's a little embarrassing to admit that I hadn't been to Coney Island before this September. Somehow every time we think about it, I imagine that it's going to be too hot, or too crowded, and I talk myself out of going. But one day in late September we had a school holiday, and it was a mild day, so we decided to jump on the train and check it out. We spent about an hour and a half there--we went on some rides (we liked Dino's amusement park the most--it had the best rides for a younger kid), ate a hot dog, walked around...and that was about it. Clara loved it and kept saying that she needed to bring her dad next time, because he would go on the scary rides with her, and he would like how "old-school" it was.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Charged Batteries Make Life Better

When we flew to Zurich on this last trip, my husband begged me to fly Delta, since he has status with them, and needs all the miles he can get to keep that status. Personally, I never want to fly a US carrier to Europe. I just think that the European carriers are consistently better, especially when you're flying in the back (which is me, most of the time). But this time, I gave in, and rather than flying Swiss, we flew Delta. On the way over, the flight was great--new plane, good entertainment system. But on the way was awful. I sat down, and pointed out to Matt that the seatback had no TV, and mind you this was a 9 hour and 5 minute flight. Thank god I had charged Clara's DVD player, which bought us a solid 5 hours of entertainment. And luckily I had a full bottle of Bach Rescue Remedy, which helped me calm down (even though Matt swears it's just a placebo). The moral of the story is: always bring a DVD player--don't assume the airline will have a functioning in-flight entertainment system, and make sure that DVD player has a full charge. Oh, and fly Swiss if you can.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

One Day in Zurich

We had an afternoon in Zurich before we flew back to New York, and unfortunately, it was on a Monday. Learn from our mistake--don't plan on seeing Zurich (well, walking around and shopping) on a Monday, as many shops are closed. We still had a lovely day, and probably saved ourselves some money. See below for our highlights from the day:
The carousel in the square right by the best toy store, Pastorini Spielzug.
Save your bread scraps in Zurich--always a hungry swan nearby.
One of our favorite places to buy teas, Schwarzenbach, but since it was Monday, only the cafe was open.
This is a Swedish store, but we still like to wander into it, even in the guest and birthday books.

Globus has a nice food hall, and big store, but we like the grocery part of it the most...especially this pizza packaging.
 Very cool store in the old town (Aldstadt).
 How cute is this teddy bear store in the old town?
This is one of our favorite toy stores of all time. Four floors of creative play. 
Very cool home store. We bought a bread board there years ago, and we love it.
Silber is the kind of store like how Ad Hoc used to be in NYC many years ago. Always something you've never seen before. This time, we discovered tongs for tea candles. Love them.

A very traditional spot good for beer and weisswurst.
Sprungli is one of the chicest chocolate shops, and we always bring home a couple of bars as presents. This trip we also discovered the gelato, which was a huge hit.
While they have a couple of these shops in the city of Zurich, you can also find it at the airport. Our favorite find is the Edelweiss head scarf, and there are some really cute wooden toys as well.
While this picture doesn't tell the story of this restaurant, the Kronenhalle is one of the best restaurants we've ever been to. It definitely has the grandest art collection, but what makes us want to go back if we ever find ourselves in Zurich, is the spirit of the room, the staff, and the delicious food. We always get the avocado vinaigrette, and love it every time.
The market across from the hotel (below) has such lovely fresh produce, and we loved the way this farmer put his garden roses into tin cans.