Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - Tasting on the Northfork

Harvest is in full swing, and while I might not be able to experience it all at home in Napa, there's a world of wine at my doorstep on the Northfork.  It's the perfect time to plan a weekend escape from NYC.  While it can be done in a day-trip, I'd highly recommend spending at least one night to truly enjoy and savor the region.  

One of my favorite places to visit is Bedell Cellars.  

We were greeted by a glass of bubbles to kick things off, who can say no??

Our wonderful host, Chris, took us through the cellar.

We tasted through so many of their wines, I was a bad blogger enjoying the moment more than taking notes.  What I did take note of was their delicious 2010 Musée.  A typical Bordeaux blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Syrah, the wine is big and bold, just the way I like it.  Full of dark, black fruits, a hint of spice, and medium tannins, this is certainly a food wine.  

What's so cool about Bedell besides their lovely wines, is the art in their labels.  Each bottle showcases a specially commissioned work by world-renowned contemporary artists.  

Next, we visited Duckwalk Vineyards.  Definitely the opposite end of the spectrum with a huge tasting room and more of an impersonal feel.  This was definitely a place for large buses and tour groups, which made the experience feel very corporate and lacked that personal touch.  I did really enjoy their Southampton White, a blend of Chardonnay and Cayuga grapes, it was light, refreshing and had a hint of salinity that would make it a great oyster wine.  The backyard was a lovely place to enjoy the sun with a live band playing.  They also allow picnics.

Last stop was Osprey's Dominion.  I don't have any pictures because unfortunately we had such a terrible experience it's not really one I wanted to document.  The hospitality staff were unwelcoming and the wines were undrinkable.  They do have nice grounds for picnicking, lawn games, and live music, but I would only recommend if you sneak in your own wine from another vineyard!

After getting our fill of wine tasting, we made our way to Shelter Island for the night.  Stay tuned for details of our fabulous stay!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Antique Hunting at Brimfield - My Tips and Tricks!

We woke up with the sun to make the drive from Marblehead to Brimfield.  Mom and I have hit many antique fairs in our days, but it was so fun to go with a specific purpose, an actual need and an entirely empty apartment to fill with furniture beyond the little trinkets.   

After parking, we prepared ourselves, like going to battle!  For anyone planning a trip to the fair, below are my tips and tricks for successful navigation!

1.  Pay for the premium parking.  Main lots in the center of the action charge between $7 and $10.  If you're seriously shopping you'll appreciate having the car close-by to unload every once in a while.

2.  The fair is DIRTY, don't dress up, you have no one to impress.  Easy, comfortable clothing is key, and weather appropriate.  It ranged from extreme heat to pouring rain over the three days we were there.  Don't forget your sunscreen!

True fashion plates right here!
3.  Keep your hands free, backpacks stashed with reusable totes are great for collecting your treasures along the way before making a trip back to the car to unload.

4.  Bring your lunch (and breakfast and snacks).  We packed a cooler with healthier options than the fried dough and Polish sausage on offer from the food court.  It's carnival food at best.  Everyone was jealous when we pulled our kale salad and grilled tri-tip out on the lunch table.

5.  Goes without saying, but make sure to remember anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer.  You'll be touching lots of old dirty things, and bathrooms are porta-potties.

6.  Early bird gets the worm.  It does pay to get there early.  Certain fields are paid entry on their opening day so it's best to hit these right when they open (May's and JJ's-check show website for opening days/times).  I would also recommend going during the week vs. the weekend as there was a huge influx of people on Saturday.

Mom enjoying breakfast in line for JJ's
Crowds literally running as the gates opened, exciting but terrifying
7.  If you find something you love, buy it.  Chances are if you walk away to think about it, it won't be there when you return.  Luckily this only happened to me once, but I'm still thinking about that tufted velvet bench in the perfect shade of coral pink ;-)

I got "Carried Away" at Brimfield - that 1930's prohibition bar on the left came home with me!

8.  As for lodging, plan ahead of time.  We booked in mid-July and all boutique B&B's were full.  We ended up with one of the last rooms at the Publick House which worked out just fine.  They had an on-site restaurant which was convenient to walk downstairs at the end of a long day, the food was totally decent.  My only complaint was that they didn't accommodate early breakfast.  They should know the majority of their clientele that week are going to be heading out before the 7:30 breakfast start time.

I had been saving my pennies and spent it all down to the last dollar!

I had to have it!  My last impulse purchase.....

Thanks to all of the lovely vendors who helped engineer our Uhaul to fit all of my finds!
Selfie in our "Orange Is The New Black" van 
We made it back to NYC with everything intact, a miracle indeed!  Stay tuned for pictures of it all unpacked in my apartment!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Travelogue - Marblehead, Massachusetts

Post Labor-Day, Mom and I wanted to take one more trip to enjoy those last bits of summer.  We had such a fabulous time in Maine last year, we decided to spend two days in Marblehead, MA before heading to Brimfield for the world-famous antiques show, full post on that adventure coming soon.  I mostly wanted to see if I could beat my record of eating lobster 3x per day, not quite but I sure tried my best.

We spent one night at The Harborside House and one night at The Harbor Light Inn.  Both were wonderful and gave us a chance to explore the town from two different sides, but the pool and private deck at Harbor Light Inn certainly won me over in the 90 degree heat!  

The town is so charming, we enjoyed walking around, checking out the little shops and had some great meals as well.

Breakfast at the Harborside House
I had the best mussels of my life at The Barnacle, a cozy seafood spot on the water.  

The lobster roll wasn't bad either!

A local greasy-spoon institution, served it's purpose after our red-eye arrival.
In an attempt to catch a break from the heat, we headed up to Gloucester for a sunset cocktail cruise on the Schooner Lannon.  We brought cheese and snacks on board from Shubie's and enjoyed a couple of glasses of Chardonnay.

After our sail we headed back to Marblehead where the heat had subsided for a delicious dinner at Turtle Cove, great mix of fresh seafood and interesting dishes with a pretty impressive wine list for such a small town.

Lobster lettuce wraps and a delicious Albariño
The Harbor Light Inn provided a walking tour map highlighting the historic buildings and monuments around the town.  We spent one morning walking the loop and checking out the sites, including the famous painting, "The Spirit of '76".  Every house has a plaque detailing who lived at that site and when, dating back to the early 1700s!  So much more history than little old California!

We headed to Essex, MA to check out the antique stores.  They were a bit disappointing.  

But it was totally worth the drive to eat at Woodman's of Essex.

The Travel Channel just so happened to be filming that day (they must have know a lobster roll aficionado would be visiting) and asked to interview me!  Look for my 15 minutes of fame on a "Food Paradise" episode next year!

Getting mic'd up

Another day, another lobster
There's something about New England towns and ice cream for me, I had to make the rounds.  s'mores at Salem Screamery, coffee toffee chip with WARM COOKIE DOUGH at Terry's, and honeycomb chip at Ashley's in Connecticut on the drive home.  

Wine and cheese on our private deck at The Harbor Light Inn
Our second night we enjoyed a drink on the dock at The Landing before dinner at Maddie's Sail Loft.  Food was so-so and the ambiance was a bit old school but perfectly fine and certainly a locals place.  Apparently they're know for their extremely lethal mixed drinks, but no surprise we stuck to wine.

Stay tuned for our adventures from the fields of Brimfield!

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