Tag Archives: beach

Day Trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

I’ve long maintained that Rockport is my favorite Massachusetts town. And that’s still true. Mostly. Rockport IS my favorite, but if I could choose to live in any town, it would be Newburyport. (If only it weren’t quite so far north!)

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

Newburyport is best-known for being the first port in New England. There is a short, but lovely, boardwalk along the river where you can watch sailboats – and on the rare occasion gawk at the out-of-place larger-than-life yachts that come up from the Cayman Islands.

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

Shopping in Newburyport

Another reason I love Newburyport is that it is a great place for browsing and window shopping.

My personal favorite stores to poke around in are Souffles (a great little kitchen store and coffee shop), Pretty Poppy (for affordable jewelry and accessories), the Brass Lyon (for nautical themed gifts), and Vintage Goods.

There is a great men’s shop (John Farley’s) and those are hard to come by. There are a few local chains here as well – Modern Millie’s (a vintage/consignment dress shop) and Bobbles and Lace (more ladies clothing). Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

My favorite place to shop in Newburyport is Oldie’s Marketplace – it’s a huge barn at the end of the riverwalk. It’s full of old thrifted goods – everything from old bottles, to antique furniture, to old records.

Exactly my type of place that I like to hunt through.

Eating in Newburyport

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

If you are there for lunch, stop at the deli counter in Fowle’s Drugstore and get a panini! It doesn’t look like much, but it’s delicious!

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

If you’re there for dinner, another favorite of ours is Agave – for delicious Mexican fare. There is usually a wait – so call ahead!

If you are heading out to the beach, like we were, stop at the Black Duck Market for some goodies. It is located in the Tannery, which just happens to be the best (free) place to park in Newburyport.

Plum Island

Directly off the coast is Plum Island – a reserve. While many Massachusetts beaches are more cove-like, Plum Island is a tried and true Atlantic Ocean beach.

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

This means the waves are bigger, the water is colder, and the drop-off is pretty quick.

While it’s not my favorite beach for swimming (at least my kind of swimming – which is more like floating in a bathtub), it’s a great beach for lounging! The long beach means the shore’s not congested and everyone is able to spread out.

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

It costs $5/car to get into Plum Island reserve. While you’re there don’t forget to drive around the reservation and enjoy the beauty.

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

Day trip to Newburyport and Plum Island

What’s your favorite way to experience the beach?

I like a good book and a nice breeze!

Italy Travels: Cinque Terre Part II

Two days in Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre is a UNESCO world heritage park, and it’s easy to see why. The area is full of natural beauty that should be preserved. In 2011, Cinque Terre suffered from flash flooding and mudslides, and the area was massively devastated. It has since rebounded, and, as an outsider, I would have never guessed. With the exception that several of the hiking trails were still closed. The trailheads from Riomaggiore to Vernazza were closed, leaving only the Vernazza to Monterosso trail open – which is lucky for us because it’s the longest and hardest (!)

Two days in Cinque Terre, Italy
The views are breathtaking from above. The Vernazza-Monterosso trail is the only one from which you can view all five villages. If you visit and do not hike in Cinque Terre, you are only getting half of the CT experience.

This hike is certainly not for the faint at heart. You are, quite literally, climbing a small mountain.

The trails are narrow and rocky – a far cry from the wide paved sidewalks you’ll see on the easier trails. Trail passes can be purchased at the trailhead for about 5 euro per person. They are good for 1 day. To purchase a trailpass that includes train passes, purchase your pass at the train station.

Two days in Cinque Terre, Italy

I’d recommend hiking early in the morning. We waited until late morning and the trails were PACKED. And when you have a 12″ wide trail and a brigade of “older” German female hikers wielding sports bras and hiking sticks trying to pass you the opposite way…. well, you’ll be glad you decided to head out early. Otherwise you’ll have to watch them all get a hairy armpit in the face (not mine, obviously) as they clamber by.

Yes, the trails are narrow enough in certain spots that you have to touch strangers.

Two days in Cinque Terre, Italy

While the hike took about 2 hours in the morning, we hiked back mid-afternoon in the height of the heat. It was HOT, but the trails were empty, and we did the hike in about 1 hour.

Both times were an amazing experience, but I’d certainly try to time it so you aren’t hiking with the masses.

Two days in Cinque Terre, Italy

Monterosso al Mare

Monterosso al Mare is the largest and most resort-like of the five CT villages, and has the largest, sandiest beach.  As it’s the only village accessible by car, it is also significantly more populated.

Two days in Cinque Terre, ItalyYou can rent an umbrella and lounge cars and sit the day away in the sun. (We looked longingly at the beach, but failed to think to bring our swimsuits on the hike with us.)

Two days in Cinque Terre, Italy

There is a much larger town to explore. Italy has amazing old churches hidden in every town.

Two days in Cinque Terre, Italy

And sleeping cats lie in patches of sunshine all over Monterosso.

Two days in Cinque Terre, Italy

If shopping is your idea of vacation, Monterosso is your place. Of all the Cinque Terre villages, it has the largest number of shops to look through.   Two days in Cinque Terre, Italy

Overall, Monterosso was a colorful and fun place to spend an afternoon! A welcome distraction from a morning of hiking.

Two days in Cinque Terre, Italy


Two days in Cinque Terre, ItalyOn our last afternoon we stopped by Manarola  on our way out of town. Looking down on the town of Manarola is the “classic” Cinque Terre photo opportunity you see all over Pinterest and covers of travel books.

Manarola is a bit larger than Vernazza and we walked through town, among the many boats that were pulled up on to the roads. If you’re looking for “deep water swimming”, this is your place. And, although we weren’t able to test the waters, it sure looked fun!

Two days in Cinque Terre, Italy

Before we departed CT, we added fresh anchovies to the list of local specialties we tried. They were not bad, just really salty.

We absolutely loved our stay in Cinque Terre and hope to return again someday! While I had spent quite some time debating whether to visit the Amalfi Coast or CT, I don’t regret my decision one bit! It was beautiful and relaxing.

Next step, Firenze!

Read about how much we loved Vernazza and our Cinque Terre hotel experience here!

Day Trip: Fire Island


My husband’s family lives in Long Island, so we go there often! Occasionally during the summer we will take a day trip to Fire Island. Fire Island is a barrier island about 30 miles long on the southern shore of Long Island. There are all types of communities and beaches as you go along the very narrow island – some for families, and some not (aka naked beaches)!

To get there you will need to take a ferry, which are located all along the coast of Long Island. Don’t plan on taking your car with you. Most places don’t allow cars period.


I visited Ocean Beach and Sunken Forest and they were both amazing beaches! The water is chilly and has really big waves and the sand is white and silky.

Apparently Ocean Beach is called the “land of no” because you can’t bring any food or beverages with you, nor can you listen to a radio or “disrobe” as the sign says. We, however, snuck in food and drinks. Just don’t eat in front of the lifeguards. Although this rule is highly annoying, the beach is picture perfectly clean!

Sunken Forest is a great place to take a walk through on the raised boardwalk and offers lots of shade. You’d hardly know you’re at the beach when you’re in the middle of this park.

Because there are no cars allowed at Ocean Beach everything is within a close walking distance. Ocean Beach is covered in people riding bicycles and wagons. There are sidewalks and walkways all across the island.

Looking for a bite to eat? Check out Maguire’s at Ocean Beach! They have a beautiful bayfront dining deck and delicious menu. (That mozzerella bacon panini rocked my world. Just sayin’.) And the inside of the restaurant is awesome too! Check out those fishing nets on the ceiling.

There are also a lot of cute shops – some with classic touristy beachware and others with some really fun finds.

Fire Island makes a great day trip! Especially if you are looking for a beach near New York City. There are many different beaches and communities all along the island, and Ocean Beach and Sunken Forest are only two of them. Be sure to research the beaches before you go because they all have different flavors.

Have you been to Fire Island?

Reflection on Collection

I collect seaglass.

Not the kind that comes in a giant bag from Pottery Barn.

I pick it up piece by piece whenever I visit the beach near our house. I scan the sand beneath my strides, my eyes constantly peeled for that little sparkling reflection of glass amongst the rocks.

I stick it in my pocket until we return home. Then I toss it in a jar by our front door.

They add up quickly, don’t they?

This is one of my favorite collections.

When I was little I collected all kinds of things. Barbies, rocks, Pez holders, beads, stickers, pogs.

I didn’t accumulate these pieces in the mall. I found them all while walking on the beach with friends or family. Some of them are from my Mom, some are from my husband. Some I found while running on the beach and others I found while soaking in the sun.

Every piece is a memory of sand between my toes, distant sailboats, long beach chats with my husband or watching stormy clouds roll in.

I have found blue, green, white, purple, brown, pink and even “seapottery”.

The whites are my favorite.

I like this collection because it can keep going and going and going.

Sometimes I fill up a bottle and give it as a gift.

Somehow I don’t think a collection that was bought could be just as meaningful.

Or beautiful.