Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bookmark These: Paris Blogs/Posts

As a travel editor, I think I get asked the most about what to do in Paris. And since I am most certainly no expert, and don't get to go as often as I would like, I thought it would be good to list some of the sites I go to, when I'm planning a trip there. And if you have any favorite sites or posts on Paris, tell me.

20 Little Cities has daily posts about everything that's new—museum exhibits, restaurant and store openings, and shows for kids. You can either scroll through and feel very up-to-date on what's going on, or you can look by neighborhood.

My other favorite is/was Babyccino Kids...and I only say was, because it seems they haven't updated their Paris section since 2010. However, there is still really fantastic information there, and it would just need to be double checked to make sure whatever you want to go to, is still open.

A new blog to me that I haven't spent much time on, but seems very good, especially for parents of under-5s, is Petit Paris.

And here are some posts I found just now that have some really good information in them. I think that, when possible, it's always good to find a post where you can relate to the writer and their kids, as two boys above 6 are probably not going to relate to my posts about merry-go-rounds.

Here's a Paris post from a father of two boys.

I like this blog from an American mom who lived in Paris for four years with her family.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dreaming of Cinque Terre

I think the only trips I'm able to plan in advance are summer and Thanksgiving. There's something about the timing of winter and spring break (not that we would take both off) that is too close to the holidays, that I can't muster up the energy to plan. So here I am, with spring break coming in two weeks, without a plan I'm committed to. I can't tell you how many times I've opened up the Delta window (we have miles with them) and plugged in NYC to....everywhere. But enough about my first world problems. In my google black hole, I found this amazing place in the Cinque Terre, which is one of the prettiest places I've ever been. Now that Clara is almost nine, I think it would be a blast to take her there and to walk between the villages. How beautiful is this spot, La Mala. Even if we don't make it this time, it's on the list for when I actually do plan ahead.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Waverly, NY: Outsider Art and a Trove of Arrowheads

If you're ever near the town of Waverly, NY, which is right off of Highway 17, you have to take 5 minutes to duck into this shop, the Broad Street Exchange, not to shop, but to check out the owner's amazing sculptures he does with found toys and jewelry.
Just down the street is a archaelogical center called Susquehanna River Archaelogical Center of Native Indian Studies, where you'll see a huge amount of arrowheads and finds, mostly curated from the local, amateur archaeologists' collections. This area contained a large community of native American Indians, and the amount of historical finds they are still turning up is astounding.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Reason for New Zealand

For once--something revolutionary in air travel, that is thoughtful of all of us that fly in coach. (If I read one more article about all the new and exciting things that different international airlines offer in first--from birthday cakes being baked to in-room showers...)
Air New Zealand has created a new seating set-up, which some are calling "cuddle class", on their long-haul flights between LA and Auckland, and London and Auckland, on their 777-300 planes, where the seats become a flat bed. The way this happens is you lose your foot rest area, which folds out to create more sideways sleeping space. We always wanted to go to New Zealand, but now it's on the really short list. Now I just have to find how to use miles to book a flight...I looked at prices for spring break and they were around $1600 per person from LA to Auckland, and around Christmas they jump up to around $2000. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

LA Places to Stay

Our friend Becky was looking for some ideas on where to stay when it's her son's spring break, and I realized I don't have enough LA hotel info up on the blog. Here are some of my suggestions: If you're going to LA for vacation, especially with a child, stay near the beach. My personal favorite hotel that we always stay at is the Sunset Tower in Hollywood, but when we go, we are not on vacation. We are trying to squeeze in visits with our friends, all who live and work all over the city, and we want to be in a central location. We also like that it has a bar and a restaurant that our friends are happy to come to, so we don't even need to get in a car to go meet them. But that's a very isolated situation, and I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for most families on a vacation. Here is what I would do--stay at any nice property in Santa Monica or Venice, so that you're close to the beach, the Santa Monica Pier, and Abbot Kinney, which has some of my favorite places to eat.

Venice Beach Eco-Cottages: These are one bedroom cottages, have a 3 night minimum, and the prices range from $215-250 per night. You could shop at the farmer's market and cook dinner at home, (or at least breakfast!) and there's a washer-dryer. (We haven't stayed here--I have just heard good things about it.)

Everyone talks about Shutters, but it's very expensive, and often unavailable. I also figure, if you're going to LA because you want to go to Universal Studios, the La Brea Tar Pits, the Getty, and then to squeeze in a trip down to Disneyland or Legoland, how much time are you really spending in your hotel room anyway? I'm putting in this Loew's Santa Monica, because the downside of the Venice Beach Eco-Cottages is no pool! Loew's isn't cheap, but I bet that since it's a bigger hotel property, you could probably use some kind of mileage program to get a free night. (We have not stayed here.)

Hotel Oceana Santa Monica: We stayed here when Clara was a baby, and I can tell it's been updated nicely since we were there. I loved the location, and the pool in the courtyard. Our really good friends have stayed here many times and love how relaxed and homey the vibe is.

The Viceroy: We stayed here probably several years ago, so I don't have the most current review...but we did really like it. The location was great--there's a great breakfast restaurant right across the street. And it's just up the street from the beach. And a walk away from the Pier.

Our favorite places to eat:
On Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach:Gjellina (for lunch, or very early dinner--it's a mad house at regular dinner hours), Shima, Axe
In Santa Monica: Huckleberry Cafe, Tavern