Wake up to fresh brewed pour-over coffee! Inspired by my amazing brother, this has been my quarantine ritual before I head to the office. Morning hugs from my sweet rose, bird, flower, squirrel cottage🌹🌷💗
I have a special love for this hotel where I’ve stayed many times. I actually never knew there was a beach front hotel in the Manhattan / Hermosa Beach area until my Mom and I happened upon it about 20 years ago. We were out for a walk along the Strand and there it was.
Since then, it’s my go-to place when I want to escape since it’s a 5-6 hour drive along the coast from where I live in Northern California. About two weeks ago, I was heading to Long Beach to meet my Mom and sister to visit Catalina Island. On my way home I pulled over and stayed the night at the Beach House Hotel in Hermosa Beach. Let me tell you a little bit about this special hotel and the area that surrounds it.
I lived in Manhattan Beach years ago and loved it. There are a bunch of small ocean-front towns that string along the cost…Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Long Beach and on and on. The coolest part of a lot of these beaches is that they have a walkway that allows you to easily walk or ride your bike – listening to the waves, dodging the seagulls, viewing elegant yards of the massive homes and of course stopping at top notch restaurants and bar. Voyeurism at it’s greatest! Before we get to the strand, let’s visit the hotel, The Beach House in Hermosa Beach.
This is a view from my room so you can see that you are right on the water. There are no roads with crazy traffic that you have to look over to see the ocean. No, you’re just there with only The Strand to cross before you can put your feet in the sand. When you enter the hotel you’ll find a beautiful lobby. I can remember my sister waiting on one of the couches on one visit and that was so special. And my Mom and even my childhood friend Anne. At night you’ll find the fireplace burning which is always nice on chilly coastal evenings.
The rooms are wonderful and are actually small suites with kitchenettes, a fireplace (gas now, but I can remember when you could burn a duraflame log!) Not all rooms face the ocean but some have partial views. If you’re in a full ocean front you can open the sliding doors, pour yourself a glass of champagne and watch the volleyball players, bike riders and people strolling along the strand while relaxing on your deck.
Here are some of the images of the hotel room. I always ask for a corner room if possible so you get a window in the bathroom. They can’t guarantee it but they always try.
Once you’ve dropped your luggage off and put on your walking shoes, you’re ready to explore! Let’s take a walk along The Strand…
If you go, make sure to take good walking shoes. Once you park you can get everywhere on foot or by bike. Let me know if you go! If you’d like to see more of my blogs on that area they are listed below. Cheers! Photogirl
I’m still blogging about my wonderful trip back east with my sweet Mom. The first day driving down to Cape Cod we found a quaint town called Duxbury in Massachusetts. If you’re in the area (note the map below) this is a must see town. I recommend visiting the Harbor area and a bakery called French Memories. The food was fabulous and one of our favorite places to eat! Here’s the harbor….
And photos from the French Memories bakery!
Hugs from Photogirl and Mom!!!! XOXOXOXO
Located off the coast of Massachusetts is one of my favorite places to visit. Noted as a New England summer colony, it encompasses quaint harbor towns, five lighthouses, sandy beaches and farmland.
I first visited the island with my sister and her daughter who was 6 months old at the time. To give you a perspective of how long ago that was, she just turned 21. This time I went with my Mom as part of our mother / daughter east coast adventure. So how do you get there? Either by ferry or air…we opted for the ferry ride. Let’s take a look at our adventure together!
If you plan a trip you’ll want to make sure you get ferry reservations. The above photo is from our car. When you drive on you’re packed in like sardines. I have no idea how the guys do it. Once you park, you make your way up a flight of stairs and there is an area where you can sit. It was cold and windy when we went so we sat inside. Otherwise, you can get a chair and enjoy the sun sea! Link to make reservations: https://www.steamshipauthority.com/
Above is my sweet Mom passing the time on the ferry. If I had been a really good daughter I would have packed food and drink. The Steamship Authority leaves from Woods Hole and arrives in either Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs. It takes about 45 minutes, the ride is really fast. You can take your car and I highly recommend you do. There are so many places to go and you’re limited if you don’t have wheels. When the wheels of our car made contact with the island we headed to Edgartown, which was once a whaling port with historic houses, restaurants, shops and even an classic snack shack. Here’s a map from Wikipedia so you can see the main towns on the island.
Edgartown also has one of my favorite places to stay, which my sister and I found years ago, called the Harbor View Hotel.
When you arrive you’ll first see a large wrap around porch where you can sip wine and look out over a beautiful walkway which will take you to the Edgartown lighthouse. Before I show you some photos of the light house let me share some historic photos that will take you back over 100 years.
As you can see, the hotel has kept it’s charm. Below you can see the historic hotel just before sunset. If you walk around the back you’ll find a lovely pool area along with beautiful walking paths to additional rooms.
The rooms are lovely and with a recent remodel the bathrooms are the best! Some with views of the ocean, others with views of the pool area and gardens. Below is a view from our bathroom if you can believe that! I checked outside and had my Mom stand in the bathroom clothed of course and I couldn’t see in. Feel free to close the blinds, I just wanted you to know I did the “test”.
Let’s take a look at the island. Again, I recommend to bring a car as it gives you a lot more flexibility to see the sights. A few spots you should visit include the following. Alley’s General Store in West Tisbury. That’s Mom sitting on the owner’s lap. The store is fabulous with incredible finds.
Morning Glory Farm on the outskirts of Edgartown is fabulous!
There are so many cool places to see on the island. The Grey Barn and Farm was wonderful!
The Behind the Bookstore was such a beautiful restaurant where you can sit under the trees, hidden away from the world!
The Atlantic had THE BEST MUSSELS!!!!
Mom with her absolute favorite…a root beer float! Even better when you can eat it by the water.
Let’s go back to the hotel and take a walk to the Edgartown lighthouse. There are multiple paths that take you down. They all converge onto one path that takes you by the water.
I’d like to thank Elizabeth Rothwell, Chris Bird and the amazing team at the Harbor View hotel for the lovely stay. The service is amazing and you’ll feel like you never want to leave. And all the wonderful people on the island. Everyone was so nice. On behalf of my Mom and me we want you to know how much we appreciated everything! Photogirl and Mom 🙂 XO
Want more on Martha’s Vineyard? Don’t stop now, click on the links below!
Getting to Martha’s Vineyard: https://photogirltravels.com/2014/05/19/7243/
Sunrise walk on the Vineyard: https://photogirltravels.com/2014/05/22/sunrise-walk-on-the-vineyard/
Menemsha Fish Market Lobster Lunch: https://photogirltravels.com/2014/05/20/menemsha-fish-market-lobster-lunch/
Breakfast among the flowers: https://photogirltravels.com/2014/05/20/breakfast-at-among-the-flowers/
Feeling the love expresso love coffee: https://photogirltravels.com/2014/05/21/feelingthelove-espresso-love-coffee/
All photos © Copyright 2019 Shelley D Spray. All rights reserved.Continue reading “We’re off to Martha’s Vineyard!”
When planning a trip do you pick the hotel as the destination? Or the location as the destination? I’m going to tell you about a resort that IS the destination and a place you should add to your bucket list. Nestled on the Northern Connecticut coast in one of the oldest towns in New England, you’ll find the Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa, a resort that will allow you to escape the craziness of life. Let me tell you a little bit about our stay with this beautiful inn and how it stole our hearts.
To back track just a little, my Mom and I went on a mother / daughter trip back east starting in Boston, then off to Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and then onto northern Connecticut. Staying along the coast we were able to stay at some beautiful places. The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa was our last spot and one of our favorites.
As you enter the hotel you’ll be immediately impressed with the luxurious lobby. To the left you’ll find the welcome desk and beyond the glass doors at the end of the lobby is a beautiful harbor, waterfront restaurant and bar.
What I remember most when we first arrived was the bellman named John. What a delight he was during our entire trip! In fact, everyone was nice. Scott at the welcome desk and Candace were all amazing. Unlike the large hotels, this is a family owned Inn so the service and amenities are first class.
Let’s first visit the rooms which are beautiful, and large! We looked at a few rooms and decided on the water front room with a king size bed. Mom could have done cartwheels in this room and even in the bathroom, yes – it was that spacious! 🙂
Our room (#201) had a balcony which overlooked the harbor and restaurant. We sipped wine, sparkling water, played cards and even had the pleasure of watching a wedding. It was especially beautiful at night with everything lit up including a cozy gas fireplace located down by the water.
We ate at the restaurant which is right by the water. What fun to watch the boats, people and have a really fabulous meal. That’s Mom and me eating fish and chips and salad. Mom wants to make sure everyone know we were sharing.
The grounds are lovely. There are two women who manage them and being gardeners ourselves, we were impressed. There’s also a spa and you’ll see the entrance below. You’ll be amazed at all the flowers, exotic plants and beautiful walkways.
Finally, the harbor. What a gorgeous area to walk around and see including a lighthouse you can rent and actually sleep in. They also have 3 saltwater pools, one we could see from our room.
If all of that wasn’t enough they love dogs!
On behalf of my Mom and me, thank you so much John, Candace, Scott and the rest of the team at the Saybrook Point Inn, Marina and Spa for a wonderful stay! We will definitely go back. If you decide to visit this beautiful inn please tell me about your visit! Cheers!!!! Photogirl and Mom XO
Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa website: www.saybrook.com
How long has it been since you’ve taken a road trip? Hit the back roads, your “out of office” prominently noted on your emails and your phone on silent. Just you, the sun at your back and a bag of Cheetos by your side. And if you’re really luck you have your Mom riding shot gun, buckled in and ready for an adventure.
About two weeks ago the start of our mother/daughter east coast adventure began! This kicks off a series of blogs that will share our adventures. The good, the bad and the ugly. I’ll share where we went, stayed and ate, along with some the history about the places we visited.
But first, I’d like to introduce you to my Mom! This beautiful woman is full of adventure. She’s a great traveler because she always seems to see the best in any situation. You can travel without reservations, which we’ve done many times, and she never gets worried and half the time is the reason we find an amazing place to stay.
OVERVIEW OF OUR TRIP
If you have a week and want to travel down the coast of Massachusetts, visit the Cape, Vineyard and Connecticut then this is the trip for you. The blue triangles note where we stayed. The dots are additional points of interest. I’ll be posting blogs on each location so circle back or follow my blog to be one of the first to see them.
HOTELS AND LOCATIONS
Hull, MA: Nantasket Beach Resort, 45 Hull Shore Dr, Hull, MA 02045, 781.925.4500
Hull is a bit of a “spring break” town and we didn’t really enjoy the town after dark. There were a lot of motorcycles, loud music and the one restaurant that we would have eaten in which seemed really nice (Jake’s Seafood Restaurant) was packed. The hotel was nice and if you need a place to stay in this town I would recommend it. The people were nice and the rooms were clean with nice views of the ocean. For more about this part of my trip click here: (blog in process, please check back!)
Chatham, MA: Chatham Bars Inn, 297 Shore Rd, Chatham, MA 02633, 800.527.4884
I had never stayed here and we both loved this hotel and it’s location. Exquisitely decorated it was a delight. The food was incredible, the rooms lovely and the service was great. It’s walking distance from downtown but removed from the shops and restaurants that are crowded with tourists. You can stroll along the beach at sunset with a chilled glass of wine. For more about this part of my trip click here: https://photogirltravels.com/2019/06/10/chathams-bar-inn-on-the-cape/
Martha’s Vineyard: Harbor View Inn, 8016, 131 N Water St, Edgartown, MA 02539, 508.939.3150 I have stayed in this beautiful hotel many times and it’s always been one of my favorites. Located in the upscale part of the vineyard in the quaint town of Edgartown, you’ll find this hotel out by the lighthouse. The large wrap around pouch is a charming place to eat appetizers, sip a local beer and play cards. The service is amazing and they take care of you. For more about this part of my trip click here: (blog in process, please check back!)
Stonington, CT: The Inn at Stonington: 60 Water St, Stonington, CT 06378, 860.535.2000 This was one of the nights when we didn’t have reservations. I had read about this hotel and had made a note of it on my map. After we toured the Breakers Hotel in Newport Rhode Island, we called The Inn and Stonington and amazingly enough they had a room! It was beautiful, the town was lovely and we absolutely felt blessed to find this charming inn. We were greeted and felt like we were home and among good friends. They serve wine and cheese in the evenings and you can sit on the deck and watch the boats in the harbor. For more about this part of my trip click here: (blog in process, please check back!)
Old Saybrook, CT: Saybrook Point Inn & Spa: 2 Bridge St, Old Saybrook, CT 06475, 860.395.2000 Truly this was one of the best hotels we’ve ever stayed in. The service was impeccable and John, the bellman, was a treat! The room was luxurious with a view of the harbor. You don’t need to go anywhere when you stay here. You can see the harbor, eat at the restaurant and just enjoy the property. This is a jewel and a beautiful place to stay! For more about this part of my trip click here: https://photogirltravels.com/2019/06/18/escape-to-one-of-the-oldest-towns-in-connecticut-and-stay-at-the-exquisite-saybrook-point-inn-marina-spa/
Other blogs included in this trip include:
Plymouth, MA: South of Boston, Plymouth is the site of the first Pilgrim settlement, founded in 1620. Plymouth Rock, a boulder in Pilgrim Memorial State Park, marks the place where settlers are thought to have landed on shore. The Mayflower II, a full-scale replica of the ship that carried the Pilgrims across the Atlantic, is usually anchored at the park. For more about this part of my trip click here: (blog in process, please check back!)
Duxbury, MA: Duxbury is a historic seaside town in Plymouth County. The highlight of this beautiful town is the French Memories bakery which we loved. 459 Washington St, Duxbury, MA 02331. For more about this part of my trip click here: (blog in process, please check back!)
The Breakers, Mansion in Newport Rhode Island: The Breakers is a Vanderbilt mansion located on Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island, United States. The building became a National Historic Landmark in 1994 and is a gorgeous home to tour! For more about this part of my trip click here: (blog in process, please check back!)
Concord, MA: Hotel: Concord’s Colonial Inn, 48 Monument Square, Concord, MA 01742 (978) 369-9200 Built in 1716, this beautiful historic inn played a key role that lead to the birth a new nation. It’s also listed by the Historic Inns of America as one of the top 25 most haunted historic hotels! The town of Concord is located northwest of Boston, Massachusetts, and is known for the American Revolutionary War sites in Minute Man National Historical Park. A key battle took place at the North Bridge and is commemorated by Daniel Chester French’s Minute Man statue. In the 1800s, Transcendentalist poet Ralph Waldo Emerson drafted his essay “Nature” at the Old Manse. He and writer Henry David Thoreau also frequented Walden Pond. For more about this part of my trip click here: (blog in process, please check back!)
SHELLEY’s TRAVEL TIPS
Before I share our adventures I wanted to talk a little bit about planning a trip. It truly is an art and there are some tips that I can share to help make it easier.
TIP 1: TRIP TRACKER
First, I create a simple spreadsheet to help keep things organized. Below is an example of what you can track. Also, note that I have multiple pages which highlight my notes. I also track confirmation numbers, cancellation policies, and notes. This is a quick glance document that helps you organize your trip. Any other suggestions are appreciated- please drop them in the comments section!
TIP 2: GUIDE BOOK
You may also want to create a Guide Book that has everything you need to know about your trip. I do this in a PowerPoint file and adjust the size of the slide so it’s 8.5 x 11. Below is a screen shot of my guide book. I just take screen shots of my reservations, sights I want to see, places I want to eat, cancellations, airline information, etc. and then print this before I leave. This can be emailed to your friends and family so they know where you are.
Stay tuned for the upcoming blogs! Either check back or please follow to be the first to read them! Photogirl and Mom!!!!