Cleveland Recap: Lake View Cemetery Self-Guided Tour

As you may have guessed, I was in Cleveland this past weekend visiting family and friends. One of the Cleveland attractions I’ve always wanted to do, but never got around to, is a tour of Lake View Cemetery. So with family in tow, I traversed the gravestone-lined, sometimes hilly landscape in search of history, both personal and otherwise. The cemetery boasts a number of gravestones and monuments dedicated to famous people, including our 20th president and Ohio native James Garfield, Eliot Ness, and Rockefeller to name a few. Some of my relatives rest in peace there, so it was nice to go and pay my respects, especially to my great grandparents whose gravestone I had never visited before. It’s also home to Wade Chapel, which features an interior completely designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and his studios, and still hosts weddings and services. It amazes me that I am still discovering these hidden gems of Cleveland that are free and open to the public.

My family and I opted for our own self-guided tour, but you can schedule a private walking or bus tour for groups of 12 or more. If you go the self-guided route, I would highly recommend finding a map online to help plan your trip. Most of the major landmarks are easy to find, but we had trouble finding Eliot Ness and some of our relatives. My sister actually used Google maps to find some of the points of interest. 
We started out with Eliot Ness (Section 7, Plot 8), the prohibition agent who brought down Al Capone, because his grave is not near any of the other major landmarks. When looking for his site, we also came across Harvey Pekar, the author of the autobiographical comic book American Splendor. His grave site is fittingly covered in pens and pencils that people have stuck in the ground over the years. Ness’s gravestone has a small toy cop car on top. Kind of charming.
We then moved on to Wade Chapel, the neoclassical building with the Tiffany-designed interior. It is one of the few like it left in the world. The theme is titled “The Voyage of Life.” Beautiful mosaics are featured on both the east and west walls, but the most stunning part is the stained glass window titled “The Flight of Souls.” It features Tiffany’s “Favrile” method, which makes it seem like the window is lit up even on a cloudy day.
Rockefeller is close by so we visited him next. While looking up the different monuments to visit online, I was reminded of the fact that Rockefeller was the first billionaire. It’s crazy to think someone could have amassed so much wealth during that time period.  
Last of the major landmarks is the James Garfield Memorial. It’s quite an impressive sandstone structure with a second-floor balcony that you can access by venturing up 64 steps from the lobby. The statue of Garfield is surrounded by stained glass windows depicting the 13 original colonies plus Ohio. You can find his casket covered with an American flag in the basement. It’s the only presidential casket on full display. 
 
The grounds are beautiful and feature various trees, shrubbery, and ponds. A cool but sunny fall day was the perfect time to walk around this lovely place.

Fainting Goat Island Inn, Nichols, NY

This past weekend we ventured to Nichols, New York for my cousin’s wedding. Nichols is a pretty rural area with a lot of farms, fruit and vegetable stands on the side of the road, antique stores, wineries nearby, and small-town charm. Other than its casino resort and racetrack Tioga Downs it feels miles and miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We got to experience the slower pace of a time gone by when we stayed at the Fainting Goat Island Inn. The Inn, which used to be a railroad hotel, is decorated with thoughtful touches and beautiful antiques that transport you to a different time and place.

You can curl up and read a book on one of the ornate vintage couches, have a drink at their bar, or swing for a while on the front porch. When you venture outside you can take in the beauty of the Susquehanna River and admire wildlife like eagles and deer. You’ll be greeted by friendly animals, including three white fluffy Pyrenees Mountain dogs, a potbelly pig named pork chop, ducks, and of course, fainting goats, who will faint if you are lucky enough to surprise them. Our stay could not have been better thanks to hosts Marnie and Bill, who made sure we had everything we needed and shared their tips for local attractions.

They recommended we visit Antler Ridge Winery in Ulster, PA. We had a great time trying wines and taking in the beautiful view. 

You can book the Nubian room (pictured below) or any of their other four available rooms on Airbnb.

The Nubian Room 

View from Antler Ridge Winery

Annapolis Trip

Details: H&M Dress / Baublebar Earrings / Coach Purse / Jack Rogers Sandals 

At the end of June, the boyfriend and I went to Annapolis, one of our favorite cities. We go almost every year. The downtown area of the city is so charming with its classic blue, yellow, red and white houses with gorgeous porch gardens and wreaths adorning almost every door. The restaurants and bars are an eclectic mix of Irish pubs, seafood restaurants and newer concepts such as a sushi joint and taco place. Here is last year’s guide to Annapolis including specific shopping and restaurant suggestions.

This year we split our time between Annapolis, Arlington, D.C. and Baltimore to see friends and family. We saw a great exhibit at the American History Museum on the flag from the War of 1812 that inspired the “Star Spangled Banner.” It was awesome! I highly recommend it. I tried a great restaurant in Arlington called Fig and Olive. And I got to watch the Cavs win a championship with my sister. All in all it was a great trip.

One of my favorite outfits from the weekend was this H&M dress. I think the blue and white pattern is perfect for summer and will look even better once I have a tan. The wide ruffle at the top is a great flirty detail.

While in Baltimore, I found my hat soulmate, spirit animal and partner in crime if I ever go to the Kentucky Derby….

Flag at the Naval Academy

Downtown Annapolis Harbor

Me doing a handstand in front of the Washington Monument

Annapolis Guide 2015

For the past few years, we’ve been drawn to the city of Annapolis for some work and some pleasure. With each passing year we’ve discovered new things to love and enjoy about the city. This year we discovered some new places that are sure to become staples in the years to come and revisited old favorites.

There is a lot to love about the city of Annapolis. As you can see from the photo above its right on the water and there are usually a multitude of boats docked for your viewing pleasure. The style of Annapolis is definitely inspired by its nautical surroundings. People dress preppy yet savvy. You’ll see a lot of seersucker, pastels and nautical print, but there are also a lot of smart, on-trend outfits. It’s a great place to gather style inspiration. I tried my best to fit in my lobster-print shorts.

For dinner the first night, we tried a newer place called Iron Rooster. They serve breakfast all day, which lucky for me included shrimp and grits with poached eggs. Pictured above is the Cakes on Cakes otherwise known as crab cakes served on top of fried green tomatoes served on top of cornmeal pancakes. Amazing!

The second night we tried a restaurant called Vida Taco Bar. We started with Margaritas and Ceviche. Of the tacos, my favorites were the Fried Oyster, Ahi Tuna and Shrimp.We will definitely be going back next year!

There are many fun bars to stop in at night. We love Ram’s Head. This year we tried a bar called Pussers. It’s not the classiest establishment in the bunch, but it’s right on the water and is a lot of fun. 

There is quite a bit of shopping in Annapolis. I always like to run into Lou Lou boutique to browse. That’s where I got my American Flag Scarf. It’s similar to CharmingCharlie because it is organized by theme and color, but I feel like the jewelry has slightly better quality and is more on trend. I always have to stop by Navette Boutique. It’s this very well curated consignment shop with brands like J.Crew and Lilly Pulitzer. It’s essentially like shopping the outfits walking down the streets in Annapolis. I’m super bummed I never got to run into a new boutique called Dear Annie. Looks like they have great stuff.

 The sign in front of Dear Annie Boutique. The place to shop if you are a hippy mermaid.

The Annapolis Bookstore is a must see on the list. It’s incredibly charming with an interesting selection of new and old books.

Annapolis is also very well equipped with antique stores. With all of the historical touches to the city and grand old houses, it’s not surprising that every antique store is filled with treasures.

Shopping and eating are only touching on a few of the things to do in Annapolis. There are a lot of historical tours by land or sea. The Naval Academy is a 2 minute walk from the downtown area. It’s such a beautiful campus right on the water. We always have to stop by to see John Paul Jones’ grave.

Where are you traveling this summer? What are you must see restaurants, shops when you travel?

Annapolis and DC: Travel Notes

This was not my first trip to Annapolis or DC, but this was definitely a trip in which I discovered some great new places. First on the list is Navette, the consignment shop where I bought this lovely J.Crew maxi dress for $16. I feel like the people of Annapolis dress pretty well and I am happy to take their second hand items from the likes of Lilly Pulitzer and Anthropologie.

The gold tassel necklace you see is from Absolutely Fabulous Antiques for $10. Further down on Maryland Avenue is Evergreen Antiques where I found this seashell jewelry holder for $10. Both shops are full of the nautical-themed vintage and antique items I love.

I can’t go to Annapolis without stopping in DC to visit with friends and family and to see the monuments and museums. My sister and I caught a very cool exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery called Dancing the Dream, which featured dancers throughout the generations — from Josephine Baker to Beyonce.

My friend took me to Farmers Fishers Bakers, a great breakfast place on the Potomac right in Georgetown. This was by far one of the best breakfasts I have ever eaten. It was like a gourmet breakfast buffet where the waiters never stop bringing you more food. I can’t say that I’ve ever had sushi and french toast all in one sitting, but I think I could get used to it!

Fall trip: Baltimore

Baltimore has an east coast vibe but the grittiness of a city that has seen hard times. It’s as if someone mixed Cleveland and Norwalk in a blender, and for that I like some of the juxtaposition. A $5 palm reading is in the same shopping center as a Cheesecake Factory. And at the same time, areas like Fells Point with locally-owned seafood restaurants, Irish bars featuring live music, and trendy clothing boutiques seem to prosper, with a younger preppier crowd filling the bars. Here are some photos:

Outfit to and from the airport: (Added the Hunter Wellingtons after the flight), Old Navy jean jacket, Ralph Lauren striped top, Target scarf, H&M skirt, Dooney & Bourke purse (thrifted)

Part of the Inner Harbor flooded while we were there. We went to dinner the first night in Fells Point. Bars and restaurants were having flood sales.

We went to Bertha’s Mussels for delicious mussels cooked in Guinness beer and broiled shrimp and scallops. Here is their ceiling light covered in green bottles.

I visited the Edgar Allen Poe House and Museum as well as his current grave site. Below is where he was originally buried.

I also toured the old U.S. Navy war ship the USS Constellation, which was constructed in 1854. You can walk through all four decks of the boat and see the seaman’s and captain’s quarters.

Weekend recap: Annapolis/DC

I had a great time this past weekend. We stayed in the beautiful and charming city of Annapolis, and by the end of the weekend, we did not want to leave. We went shopping in Georgetown, ate crabs at Cantler’s, saw some of the great monuments in DC, and visited the Naval Academy including a stop at the tomb of John Paul Jones. I also highly recommend listening to the Devil in the White City on audiobook if you are ever traveling. It made the 4-5 hour car ride go by extremely fast.