Category Archives: The States

A Road Trip to Manchester

Road trips are the best, aren’t they? All the excitement of going somewhere new without the hassle of dealing with crowds, security check points and little kids kicking the back of your seat. Plus with road trips, getting there really is half the fun because of 90’s singalongs (is that just me?) and pit stops for whatever catches your eye like farmer’s markets and scenic views. So when my friends and I were in desperate need of a break from NYC, instead of hopping on a flight to typical spring break spots like Puerto Rico or Mexico, we opted for a change of pace and rented a car heading for Manchester, Vermont.

What the heck is in Manchester?

Thank you! I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who had no idea. Manchester is an adorable town that’s pretty ideal for skiers and snowboarders in the winter and those that like to flyfish in the summer. It’s centrally located to both Stratton Mountain and Bromley Mountain, and there are even several trails in Manchester for those that prefer cross-country skiing. That being said, we weren’t heading there for the winter sports but instead to relax, do some hiking, and just enjoy the adorable town. Oh, and let’s not forget about the fantastic outlet shopping to be had! So if you find yourself staying in or nearby Manchester for a few hours or even a few days, here are some places that you should definitely check out.

Fun fact: Manchester is the home of the Orvis flyfishing chain.

Must-do: Hike the trails at Equinox Preserve

equinox pond-002

Alright, winter isn’t exactly the best time for some hardcore hiking in Manchester as many of the trails are very icy or very muddy. That being said, we managed as best we could with the trails at Equinox Preserve. Mount Equinox is one of the highlights of the town, and up until 1996 the 900+ acres around it was owned by the Equinox Resort. The resort donated this to make sure the land would always be preserved. Start your hike by picking up a map of the trails at the Equinox Resort hotel. Their concierge was very friendly and gave us some excellent suggestions of ideal routes. Regardless of what trails you choose, at some point circle back to Equinox Pond where you’ll have a stunning view of Equinox mountain over the water. The pond also has a historic waterfront property which used to be an ice house, and the building is a popular spot for wedding venues. After you have finished up with the trails, walk back on Taconic Road to pass some beautiful historic homes. If you do happen to come to Manchester in the warmer months you’ll have even more wonderful trails to choose from so take full advantage of it!

equinox trail-002

 

Must-see: The Hildene House

estate3-001

The Hildene House is the summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln, Abe’s eldest son and the only child to live to adulthood. This house is spectacular and is just part of over 400 acres of the property. Robert first visited Manchester with his mother and brother when he was 20 and they actually stayed at the Equinox Resort at that time. The property was built in 1905 and has spectacular views of the Battenkill Valley as well as Mount Equinox. Descendants of the family lived there until 1975, the longest out of any Lincoln residences. Today it is owned and maintained by the non-profit, Friends of the Hildene. I really enjoyed walking through this estate, especially because most of the furniture and possessions were actually owned by the Lincolns. The house has a 1,000 pipe organ which was added in 1908 as a gift from Robert to his wife. There are over 200 rolls and the guide actually plays the songs for you as you tour the house. It’s actually quite comical at how loud it is but is still a fun peek into the past.

Fun fact: The garden in the back of the house is actually in the shape of a stain-glass window, an idea designed by Robert and Mary’s daughter, Jessie. The garden was a gift from Jessie to her mother, and can be seen from the windows of Mary’s room on the second floor. Of course the flowers weren’t in bloom when we visited, but if you go in the spring or summer you will be able to see that the colors of the flowers are coordinated to match the stain-glass look.

dining room-001

Must-peruse: The books at the adorable Northshire Bookstore

If only every town had a bookstore as quaint as this one! Think 10,000 square feet of pure bookworm bliss, complete with a pretty extensive children’s section as well as a delicious cafe. The company itself was founded in 1976 but the current location was only bought and renovated in 1986 (and then renovated and extremely expanded again in 2003.)  While this bookstore is always bumping, there is so much space that we never felt crowded (I love you Strand but you raise my blood pressure.) Oh, and let’s go back to this cafe! Spiral Press cafe is connected the bookstore but is way better than your average Starbucks in Barnes & Nobles experience. The food is legit and the seating is ample – we saw lots of students studying as well but there was always open tables. Definitely worth a walk-through, although you’ll probably walk out with a handful of great reads, too.

 

Where to stay:

The Equinox Resort is clearly the leading hotel in terms of the four-star experience, but for those of you that are looking for a more affordable stay there are plenty of other options as well. Ask yourself if being walking distance to the city center (where many of the outlet shops and restaurants are) is important or if you are ok with driving. We chose to stay at Manchester View, a hotel that is very close to the center (about a 10 minute walk to Northshire Bookstore) but is very affordable. It was a no-frills hotel but the rooms were very spacious and the grounds had some entries to trails and even a trout pond! Surprisingly you will notice a stark difference between the part of town that has more luxurious hotels versus the more budget-friendly options (think marble sidewalk versus no sidewalk.) We drove by most of the other hotels I was looking at which all seemed charming in their own way, too.

Where to eat:

Up for Breakfast: I have to start with this place – you MUST brunch at Up for Breakfast. This is non-negotiable. Delicious meals, absurdly large portion sizes, an obsession with chicken decor, and a friendly but super efficient staff. ‘Nuff said.

Spiral Press Cafe at Northshire Bookstore: You already knew this you savvy reader, you.

Mulligans: Excellent pub fare and great atmosphere.

Ye Olde Tavern: Next door to Manchester View, the food at Ye Olde Tavern is absolutely delicious. Know that it is definitely an upscale establishment. We stumbled in here on our first night thinking that it was more of a low key restaurant and were caught off guard. The food was excellent though so it was definitely not a problem!

 

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The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

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Reasons To Love New York: Storm King Art Center

It was back in April 2012 when Japan Tourism Agency sponsored a trip for me to visit Japan to help promote tourism. By far one of the coolest places I visited during that trip was the island of Naoshima, known for its abstract art installations spread out all over the island. So when I heard that there was a large sculpture park upstate, I was reminded of the awesome time I had in Naoshima and knew I had to check it out.

Storm King Art Center is absolutely beautiful. Located about an hour north of the city, it is home to over 100 art sculptures dating back through the last century. I had never heard about it before this year but it seemed to have gained a lot of popularity with its current exhibition, Zhang Huan: Evoking Tradition, specifically with its Three Legged Buddha sculpture.

While most of the larger sculptures are made of steel, the smaller ones are made of all kinds of different materials including rubber, wood, and stone. And if you are lucky to visit on a beautiful day like we were, then you may end up spending just as much time appreciating the scenery as well as the sculptures. The park itself is huge and they recommend leaving six hours to see everything, although we saw a good majority in about three. And while it can be a busy spot on weekends, there is enough space and a lot of different trails where you can avoid the crowds for the most part. I definitely recommend a visit now because of the beautiful fall foliage. The center is open until the end of the month (and then closed until April) so get there soon. And don’t forget to pack some snacks!


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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

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A Trip To The Keys

The Florida Keys! A little key lime slice of heaven just a 3 hour drive south of Miami. I never gave much thought to visiting Key West before; I think whenever I imagined clear turquoise waters and gorgeous sunsets I immediately would start dreaming of the Bahamas or Mexico instead. However, Key West can be a relaxing destination with less headache.

To make the trip a bit more scenic, we opted to fly into Miami and rent a car to drive through the keys. It turned out to be a great idea because not only is the drive beautiful but there’s so many places outside of Key West to check out. We dropped the car off at the Key West airport when we got in – the island is so small that you can walk or bike to the major areas. We even rented a scooter one day and did some sightseeing around town for a few hours in style. One of Key West’s best beaches, at Fort Zachary Taylor state park, is a must visit if you’re a beach bum like me. It’s a hike to walk to so I definitely recommend taking a bike or scooter there if you plan of making a day of it. Walking around Key West though is great, especially through it’s residential neighborhoods. One of my favorite parts of the weekend was checking out all the brightly colored, Victorian-style houses with beautiful wrap-around terraces and eclectic decorations and patio furniture.

And what’s the Key West nightlife scene like? I definitely recommend Key West if you are looking for a laid back weekend. Think bike rides, lobster rolls and maybe even fly fishing. That being said, if you want some rowdiness, you can find that at the many bars lining Duval Street. The average age in Key West is on the higher side but that doesn’t seem to stop the level of partying. While a few blocks of the top of Duval tend to be for the college/spring break types, the rest of the area has people of all ages enjoying their key lime margaritas (which made the people watching even more entertaining.)

Where to eat:

Start your morning right! Help Yourself has delicious smoothies and organic breakfast items to pick you up after a late night of overindulging. Reminded me of Joni’s in Montauk minus the gigantic line out the door. We went there everyday – I recommend the Happy Monkey smoothie!

For a delicious Cuban meal that won’t break the bank, make sure to make resies at El Siboney. It was the cheapest and quite possibly the best meal of the trip.

If you are looking for something different, take a boat ride to Sunset Key to dine outdoors at Latitudes. It’s part of the posh Westin cottages on the island and so its on the pricey side, but the food is delicious and the view is unbeatable. It definitely wins  best sunset spot for me. (Also, don’t let the stuffiness of their website fool you – the restaurant is absolutely flip flop friendly.)

For your seafood fix, I recommend 3 very different types of places that hits the spot. Eaton Street Seafood Market is great if you want to pick up some fresh seafood and ready made sides for a meal at home, or just some lobster rolls to enjoy outside on their benches. DJ Clam Shack also has delicious lobster rolls as well as mahi mahi fish tacos. It also has the added value of being on Duval Street so you can people watch while you eat. Finally, if you’re looking for something a little more sophisticated that is off Duval, be sure to make reservations at Seven Fish close to old town.

Guilty confession – I tried the key lime pie at every restaurant. Which one had the best? Can’t even tell you, they were all so good.

Where to stay:

We got lucky with our stay at The Palms Hotel. I was uneasy when picking hotels because hotels were either on the extremely pricey side (upwards of $400-500/night) or affordable but on the other side of the island. Some even had shared bathrooms! The Palms is pretty affordable for the island and only about a 15 minute walk or so from Duval Street. It’s definitely “cozy” but very clean and with a nice pool area to relax at after a long sweaty day of walking or biking around town.

However, I must admit – if I could afford it, I would have loved to stay at the Westin cottages on Sunset Key!

On the way back from Key West we decided to do a mini food crawl for breakfast and lunch and also made a stop at Bahia Honda State Park. I fell in love with this place and would have loved to spend hours at the park walking along the beaches long sandbars. I also realized just how much there is to see in the keys outside of Key West. Will I be back to explore more? Most definitely.

Book read: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

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Santa Barbara Dog Park


Meet Odie. A furry two year old malitpoo puppy who loves veggies, squeaky toys and a good game of chase. Odie has always been a bit coddled ever since he suffered a puppy virus that threatened his life when he was just a few months old. He’s been a blessing in our family, acting as the surrogate grandchild and taking the heat off my sister and I for the time being. While Odie loves people, we recently discovered that he has a bit of social anxiety when he’s around other dogs. So with that we have been trying to find places where he can be outdoors with plenty of space and the occasional dog around so he can get more used to them. This weekend we took a trip to Santa Barbara to head out to the Douglas Family Preserve, which is an off-leash park located up on the cliffs with stunning views of the ocean. It is the perfect place to stop if you are doing a road trip up north and need a quick pit stop to let your four-legged friend stretch. At the base of the cliffs is Hendry’s Beach, a dog friendly beach that’s also a great spot for surfers. While Odie is not a fan of the beach (to my utter discontent) he still humored us and let the humans enjoy the afternoon. If you’re in SoCal with your pooch, hope you have a chance to make it out here!

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Winter Break Continued: NYC

Blog post from Monday, December 31st, 2011, written at Brussels airport at 8:53am:

Back at the airport. I’m starting to feel like Tom Hanks’ character in The Terminal. At least the shopping is pretty good. I’m at Brussels airport today, having a three hour layover before my leg to NYC. Yesterday morning I flew from India to Milan with a layover again in Dubai (what a cool looking city by the way),  and had about three hours of sleep before 4am hit and I was off to Linate (Milano’s La Guardia, if you will.) I’m pretty wiped but so happy to be going home for a week. It will be so great to see my close friends and my cousins, and to relax and visit some of my favorite spots in the city. Also, lately (or perhaps intermittently for the last few months) I think I’ve been glamorizing up NYC more than it should be due to frustrations living in a new place. Ooh, Time Warner Cable would never make me wait a month before setting up my Internet! ::cough FastWeb cough::  Somehow I managed to conveniently forget how much I loathe TWC and their infamous 1 hour hold times. This morning I  had a “it’s good to be back home in Italy” moment when I arrived at the airport for my departure and was thankful I won’t have to deal with the chaos of the Chennai airport, only to wait in lines for an hour before finding which was the right line I was even supposed to be in for Alitalia. At least the world can unite over airport frustrations.

I think getting a little piece of home will be just what I need to reenergize myself and make me ready to hit the ground running for next term…

 

::Fast forward a week (and a day)::

Yes, that extra day is important! Because had I been writing this yesterday, fresh off my flight from JFK all groggy, jet-lagged and not really in school mode, I’d still be mentally in NYC. The trouble with an amazing vacation is of course the post-vacation blues that come with it, and this trip back home was no exception. And I’d be lying if a small part of me wasn’t questioning why I didn’t look at NYC schools as I was having dinners with my close friends and shopping at my favorite stores (Pookie & Sebastian is a must NYC boutique for you out-of-town ladies!) I had to remind myself of what compelled me to move to Italy and how much I wanted to broaden my global thinking, yet that voice in my head became a bit distant as I sat down to dim sum at my fav spot in Chinatown with the gang… mmm, pork buns and egg custard. ::pause for savory moment of reflection:: It was only today, after walking into class and giving hugs to my friends who had all gone their separate ways in the world for winter break, that I started to remember many of the positive things that come out of this experience, just one of them being the many fabulous people I’ve met. Oh, and one new exchange student made me laugh as she exclaimed that she had the best cup of coffee in her life yesterday. There’s nothing like a fresh face to show you what things you take for granted, even after living in a new place for only 4 months. It’s also a reminder to be appreciative of all the new opportunities and experiences I’m having Here and Now, while still being grateful for whats in my life back home (and how lucky I am to be able to call three great places home now.)

 

Fun fact: Milano is about 4,000 miles between both Bangalore AND NYC! (Am I the only one who thinks that is kind of a cool coincidence?)

 

 

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Wine, Cupcakes & Olive Oil: The Quaint Town of Los Olivos

I don’t come home to SoCal all too often, and when I do usually its just for a long weekend. Most often, I am too busy running around trying to see everyone to actually relax and enjoy the laid-back vibe I oh so love. So when two of my best friends suggested taking a day trip to go wine tasting my eyes lit up at the thought of a) day-drinking, b) enjoying Santa Barbara and c) well uh, day-drinking some more, with lots of quality gossip time!

Los Olivos is located in Santa Barbara County up in the hills in the Santa Ynez Valley. It’s actually about 40 minutes outside of the Santa Barbara you typically know (State Street, the pier, the gorgeous drive along PCH) but its in a beautiful area surrounded by lots of ranches and vineyards. To help give some context, Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch is about 5 miles north. The town was created in the late 1800’s because, in anticipation of a new railroad, many people came and bought land plots in the area. A local rancher first planted about 5,000 olive trees, and thus Los Olivos got its name. The town is best known for its wine-tasting, and the main reason we ventured all the way out there was because of an adorable place that pairs its wine with different flavored cupcakes. How could a girl resist?

The place is called Saarlos & Sons, and it shares a space with Enjoy Cupcakes. The combination of the two together is lethal. $20 will get you a flight of 6 mini-cupcakes and a variety of 6 different reds and whites to pair it with. The name of each wine relates back to various members in the Saarlos family – I enjoyed hearing the quick little anecdotes for each one. However, you should know that they don’t have tasting notes – as they explain it on their website, “Wine, like love, should not be explained, but experienced.” Our fav wine was the pinot grigio, and for the cupcakes it may have been a toss-up between the raspberry morning bun, the snickers, and the chocolate blackberry syrah.

Our next stop was Richard Longoria Wines, mostly chosen because of its adorable garden area. There weren’t any cupcakes this time (we were pretty sugar-out by that point anyway) but we did another wine tasting and chatted in the garden until they kicked us out. My fav was a Spanish red wine they had called Tempranillo. The best part of it was that the woman working there was kind enough to come out to us with each new wine when we were ready – can’t get much better than that on a hot summer’s day!

The town of Los Olivos gets most of its charm from its small size – being just a few blocks, you can walk the length of it in a matter of minutes. However, there’s plenty of places to choose from with wine tasting, and there was even an adorable olive oil tasting spot in the back. The only real downfall of the day came with the killer end-of-the-weekend traffic we hit on the way back. We broke up the drive a bit by pulling off on State Street and having some grub, and then N’Sync and other 90’s pop songs saw us through the rest of the way home. If you are in the Santa Barbara area, I would highly recommend checking out the different vineyards and enjoying some wine tasting yourself. However, if you’re in Santa Barbara there’s a good chance you don’t want to leave the beautiful beach anyway. Yea, you really can’t lose there – just another reason SoCal is soo awesome.

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Cruising Down the 101

It’s August. My program starts in a matter of weeks, and like most Europeans who take August off to travel and relax, I too am enjoying my summer vacation. Ok, well I didn’t make it out to Croatia or anything like my friend Robert did, but I am lucky enough that I’m from SoCal, a true summer beach destination in itself.

I left NYC, my home away from home for the last 6 years, a little over 2 1/2 weeks ago. As much as I’ve complained about New York, I really do love it. It is probably the best example of a true love/hate relationship to me – it kicked my ass and put a smile on my face all in the same day. I complained about living there constantly (about the size of apartments, about dating, about the cost of just about everything) but I also felt the biggest amount of pride living there as well. And I knew that the only way I would be ok with leaving NYC was if the next place was just as awesome to me. So when the opportunity to not only get my MBA but to get it in Milan arose, it was a no-brainer that I had to go. And the idea of giving myself a month at home to change gears and prepare for my upcoming year sounded like a good idea at the time, until I got here.

The first week I was back in Cali, I was miserable. Coming from a bustling metropolitan city to the suburbs is a hard enough adjustment, but adding on the emo-ness of moving away from many of my close friends and big city comforts was Rough. Don’t get me wrong, I am lucky that I still have a strong social network of both family and close friends here in Cali. I just needed some time to mope, I was allowed that! So mope I did, while stuffing my face with my mom’s home cooking to ease the transition. After a solid week of binge eating and watching the Olympics, I realized what a fool I was for wasting my precious time here. It’s not like I live in some obscure midwest state, I live in one of the most coveted places in the US! So I grabbed my latest NY Mag, uploaded a few Pimsleur Italian lessons onto my iPhone, and headed to the beach. And the moment I hit the sand I instantly felt better. It is true what they say about the sun doing wonders on your attitude, isn’t it Hallie?

The other day I laughed when Chris said “I’m pretty sure there is no such thing as stress in California.” I instantly thought about the road rage I experienced when I was stuck in traffic in LA last week and knew that wasn’t true, but it did get me thinking. Why is it that Californians tend to be more relaxed and generally happier anyway? I have noticed a definite difference in New York from those who are from Cali and those who aren’t. Is it the all-year-round near perfect weather, the close proximity to the beach, the abundance of avocados? It’s gotta be something.

Whatever it may be, for the last few weeks I have felt more like my old self with balancing time with friends, prepping for my move and, of course, hitting the beach as much as possible. As much as I love to travel, I can’t forget how lucky I am to be from here. I have about 10 days left in Cali before I head to Milan and am instantly thrown into a whirlwind of taking care of all my to-dos before classes start, so I need to make the most of my stress-free living now. But really, how hard can it be to open a bank account, get a new phone service and find an apartment if I don’t speak Italian, anyway?

Santa Monica Muscle Beach


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The Great Fireworks Fail

We formed a game plan while relaxing in Central Park. We had on comfortable footwear, were armed with lots of h2o and felt prepared to handle the crowd. Chris zipped up his backpack, put on his game face and solemnly said “Ok, let’s do this.” We were going to attempt the impossible: to view the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks from the West Side Highway, while only arriving there less than an hour before the show started.

We majorly failed.

In hindsight, we really should have known better. As savvy New Yorkers who have been living here for years we had no excuses. I personally blame my building for shutting down our roof and deck to avoid dealing with the crowds. And our game plan didn’t seem like such a bad idea… until we found ourselves packed like sardines with hundreds of other stressed and anxious people on 11th avenue. Suddenly I had a flashback to every alien/monster/end of the world movie that took place in NYC.

A crazy crowd and an even crazier cab driver

Did I mention that due to NYC’s famous highrise set up, we couldn’t see anything from even just one block over from the river. After trying unsuccessfully to get back to my apartment (because the cops actually blocked downtown pedestrian traffic on 11th), we just threw our hands up in the air and found the nearest bar to get some cold beers and laugh about just how pathetic that was. It’s a good thing I love a good story, even if its at my own expense.

2010 fireworks from my deck

NYC, you may have won this round, but I’ll be back…

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The Beautiful Game: My Fav Football Bars for Euro 2012

For better or for worse, for the last couple weeks I have been obsessively reading up on the UEFA Euro ’12 championship. And now that it’s finally here (yay!) I can barely contain myself. For those of you that are not football fans, the Euros is kind of a big deal. It happens every four years between the World Cup, and the majority of the teams are pretty strong. 16 teams are divided up randomly into four groups and play for the highest points. Once the group stage has passed the two top teams in each group move forward and the winners play the runners up of another group, before it becomes to the death with the quarters, semis and final games. As a loyal Spain fan, I am naturally honing in on Group C whos biggest rival is Italy, but I am also in awe of B’s “Group of Death.” Regardless, each group has already proved to have some highly riveting games and anything can happen at this point.

So if you’re in NYC and looking for a spot to catch the games on the weekends or somewhere to sneak off and watch in the middle of the workday, here are a few spots I recommend checking out regardless of what team you may be backing.

Germany:

Zum Schneider

If you dare to go here for a Germany game, be prepared for the chaos that is sure to ensue. On days when their national team is playing, not only do they have a DJ but they also have an oompah band. That’s right, I said an Oompah Band! And when Germany won the recent World Cup the bat patrons took to the streets in celebration. This spot is definitely not for those that are looking for a quiet place to watch the game, so do yourself a favor and just get involved!

Bierhaus

Bierhaus is a welcome relief from the typically subpar bars in Midtown. While its not an outdoor beer garden, its pretty spacious and there’s good sized tv’s to catch the game. Add a delicious bratwurst, giant beers and dressed up bar maidens, and it’s a solid spot to show your German pride.

Spain:

La Nacional

When Alexis and I walked into this restaurant two years ago to catch a World Cup game, we were initially disappointed to see only about 3 other people in the whole place. However, the whole place was soon packed with Spaniards who shared our excitement for the game, and we were one of the very few non-native Spanish speakers in the room. Football + Spanish cursing = music to our ears.

Circulo Español

Ok, full disclosure – I haven’t been here BUT I feel the need to share it anyway because I was tipped off by a Spaniard who was raving about it. The restaurant is located in Astoria and is a big spot for expats. The suggestion is to get there early enough to order the delicious paella and make sure it gets brought to you before the game begins and the waiters suddenly forget about you.

England:

Football Factory at Legends

Started by one of the owners of Nevada Smith’s, this bar is a hot spot for not only European football but the NY Red Bulls as well. It’s somewhat known to be a Chelsea bar, so you can bet that there will be a big crowd rooting on the Brits here.

Italy:

Diva

Surprisingly not a lot of Italian football bars in NYC come to my mind, but one restaurant that is defintely an Italian supporter is Diva. Located in one of my favorite intersesctions in SoHo, its a great open-air brunch spot to snag a table and watch the game. While there’s only one tv in the whole place, the atmosphere is lively and its still worth checking out. Tip: Make a reservation in advance, try to snag a table closer to the tv, and order some pitchers of sangria.

Other Awesome Football Bars:

Peter Dillon’s

Not gonna lie, I’m a little reluctant to write about this bar because its my secret spot and I like it that way. However, it is a no frills pub that is serious about it’s football. I’ve come to love this place over the years, and you can guarantee big football matches will be given top priority over other sports when necessary. Bring your own food, and make sure to order a drink at the bar or the bartender (who I love!) will give you hell about it.

Nevada Smiths

I kind of wanted to keep this spot off my list as well just because its the main go-to bar that everyone mentions, but you’d be hard pressed to find more hardcore football enthusiasts packed into one dark bar anywhere else. When it’s not a championship game, the bar is rather low-key with seats available and not too many people around. However, for tournaments you can definitely expect a packed house and no seating room whatsoever. That being said, the energy level is high and if you go with it (and not care that you feel like sardines) then this can be a great spot to catch the games. *Note: Nevada Smith’s is currently under construction so they’ve temporarily relocated to Webster Hall around the corner.

Café Felix

Alright, so this is a French restaurant but if you were watching the Spain/Italy semi final match of Euro ’08 here then you would have seen my table of red jerseys jumping up and down in happiness amidst a sea of sad blue fans. That afternoon at Felix is hands down one of the top five best moments I’ve had in NYC and why I am an advocate for watching games at that bar. The brunch is delicious, the drinks are strong and the crowd is as euro as you can get in Manhattan. That being said, it’s a small spot and reservations must be made early in advance if you don’t want to be standing in the back, and make sure they plan on having the projector down for the game you want to watch. You can expect to find me here if Spain makes it to the finals this year.

Honorable Mentions:

Smithfield – A popular spot where football is the sport of choice and with tons of LED TV’s.

*Update – Just watched the Group of Death matches here on 6/16 and it was phenom! Enthusiastic crowd, awesome bartenders and two floors to make sure each game on gets audio. YES.

Central Bar – Large, open Irish bar in the East Village that can draw a rather eclectic crowd.

Stout – Sure, the location is a little annoying, but if you’re around Penn Station looking for a good bar to grab a table and watch the game this is a good call.

Rattle N Hum – This  bar is supposed to be one of the top football bars for the Euros, and also offers lots of delicious craft beer.

 

So now that you are fully informed on the Where, the question is When are we meeting up to catch a game?

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Teach Me How to Dewey: A Guide to Surviving Dewey Beach

There’s a lot of the East Coast that I haven’t seen in my 6 years of living in New York. While I did make it down to South Beach I regret not checking out a lot of the beach towns in between. However, one thing I can say I did get right is that I’ve had my fair share of weekends at Dewey. What’s Dewey you ask? Only one of the best kept secret beach towns on the East Coast. Alright, it’s not so much a secret because the place is bumpin’ all summer, but not many people think of Delaware when they envision a fantastic beach weekend. And those in the know prefer to keep it that way.

Dewey Beach is an awesome party town full of skim boarders, sun seekers and day drinkers. Whether you want to dance to a cover band, paddle board in the bay or drink your face off, Dewey satisfies. But I don’t mean to make it sound like just a party town. There’s spots that are great for families, little pre-teen surfer kids, and even dogs. That being said, since I am a single twenty-something who is ready to rock my summer, I was one of the many revelers that took advantage of the awesome bar scene. So if you’re new in town and don’t know where to begin, here’s a dummy’s guide to doing the Dewey bar scene right.

The Starboard
The Starboard is pretty much home base for Dewey Beach. It’s the largest bar on the street (most of the bars are right next to each other, or a short walk away) and it is raging day or night. Because of the crowds, the bar offers VIP passes which you can pick up before the season starts if you wait in line. If you don’t have passes, don’t fret – you may be lucky enough to find a drunk girl to scalp her passes to you. Once you make it in you can find multiple bars, tons of space to get down and dance, and my personal favorite: delicious jello syringes! Say hi to our favorite resident bar patron Slacky if you see him!


Hammerhead’s

If you happen to make it over to Dewey Beach on a holiday weekend, you MUST stop everything you’re doing on Sunday night and head to Hammerhead’s. DJ Woody spins and he is ri-dic. This past weekend he had the whole bar dancing up a storm and not caring one bit that everyone was dripping with sweat. DJ Woody, come to New York please!

Another great night for Hammerhead’s is when Bernie Doherty is doing an acoustic set. His voice is amazing and he’s definitely a favorite. He was there on Saturday night, and I’m not entirely sure how often he’s there but hopefully you’ll have a chance to hear him perform.

Bottle & Cork
Just want to dance to some live music during the day? Then you have to check out Jam Session at Bottle & Cork. Jam Session takes place on Saturday afternoons, and on Sundays during holiday weekends. There’s a cover band and always a HUGE line out the door of people trying to get in to rock out. A favorite Dewey cover band that played over Memorial weekend is Mr. Greengenes.


Jimmy’s

If you’re not quite ready to tackle the craziness of the Starboard, then Jimmy’s is a fantastic middle ground spot for some drinks and grub. It’s a great open air bar and there’s always a decent amount of people around. Their steamed shrimp is delicious, they have different crushed fruit drinks available, and during the day you’ll most likely hear some live acoustic music. Get the watermelon crush, so delicious!

Rusty Rudder & Que Pasa

Que Pasa is a personal fav of mine and is great for when you want to slurp down giant piña coladas alongside the bay. Both these bars are next to each other and offer a more relaxed atmosphere. If you are one of the lucky ones who have a boat, you can park it close to Que Pasa and swim up for some drinks. The bay is also where you can try your hand at paddleboarding if you are up for it.

There’s a lot more going on in Dewey Beach (and its neighbor Rehoboth) than just a bustling day drinking scene.  Outside of the expansive beach, there’s also fantastic outlet shopping, a cute Funland for the kids to go on rides and play carnival games, and tons of cute restaurants and stores. I personally love the chill, non-pretentious vibe of the area too. I’m fortunate because my favorite otters Lorzo and Lex are from Delaware, but even if you aren’t from there I hope you’re able to check it out at some point. Great times and hilarious stories are sure to follow.

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