Easton Place

Summer Travel

Scotland: 2015

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Oh hey! Don't mind me. I've just decided to write a journal post about a trip I took nearly two years ago. What? Why? Well, it's like this... I simply haven't taken the time to put my photos and thoughts on virtual paper. Seeing how I'm preparing to travel to Scotland next month, I thought it was perfect timing to revisit my first stay there. Makes sense, no?

from the top of Arthur's Seat, overlooking all of Edinburgh, Scotland

Seriously, though, I absolutely love Scotland, and this summer my husband, myself and two friends are going on holiday to the Scottish highlands as well as to Edinburgh! Two years ago Matthew (my husband) and I were fortunate enough to stay for the better part of a week in Scotland. Neither of us are golfers, so when we made our hotel arrangements, we were unaware that the 2015 Open Championship was being held the exact same week of our Scotland holiday, so we were shocked at the cost of hotel accommodations. It wasn't until we had checked into our room, and questioned the manager about the expense compared to the look of the room, that we discovered we had picked THE most expensive time of year to stay in Edinburgh. Live a learn, I suppose.

Our 2015 visit included renting a car to explore outside the city. We headed for Glencoe, which is part of the Scottish Highlands. If you follow me on social media, or have read any of my travel posts, you probably know I LOVE Ireland and all its beauty. And while it is still my favorite place on earth, I can honestly say that I've never experienced such natural beauty as the day we drove through Glencoe. At one point, my husband pulled the car over so we could get out and just marvel at the sites. I'm not at all embarrassed to tell you that I was so taken by the beauty, I began to weep. There is something incredibly spiritual about the Scottish Highlands. If you have a travel bucket-list, I strongly urge you to include the Highlands.

The weather that week was incredibly cold. The locals told us it was unseasonably cool with some days hovering around 45℉. Still, we did manage to see some sites whilst layered in my summer clothes. At one point I believe I had on 2 shirts and 3 cardigan sweaters. Ha! There were a couple of warmer, sunnier moments. Hiking up Arthur's Seat was a mix of sun and clouds... perfect!  

Oddly, we didn't really see either of the castles in town. That's something I'm looking forward to doing this second trip. I did manage to snap a few photos of the Queen's castle. So lovely!

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I'm going to try to recap my 2017 trip a bit sooner than the 2015 trip.... but no promises. Cheers to Summer Holiday Travels!

Summer Holiday 2015: Normandy (where I stayed)

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My husband and I stayed three nights in the countryside of Normandy, France. I wish we'd stayed for at least a week or longer. A return trip is definitely on my wish list. The region of Normandy is quite large. It is both country-living and coastal-living. The inn we booked, Auberge de la Source - Hôtel de Charme, is situated about 2 miles from the quaint coastal village of Honfleur. It is one of the most special places we've had the fortune of enjoying. Its location is the perfect place to vacation. Nestled in the farmland of Normandy, surrounded by lush gardens, old barns, livestock and farmhouses, this 15 room, 4-star inn is just moments away from the coast. The accommodations are quintessential French Country with its red gingham window treatments, sitting room complete with an iron daybed topped with a tufted linen cushion, wide-plank wooden floors, window boxes overflowing with pink and white flowers, and the welcoming gardens and grounds. The king size bed was incredibly comfortable, dressed in crisp white linens, plenty of feather pillows and a fluffy down comforter. Out of the 3 weeks of travel, my best nights sleep were here. At night, my husband and I opted to open the windows so as to be lulled to sleep by the trickling brook outside our window as well as the softly mooing cows in the distance. The cool night breeze was the cherry on top for an incredible night's sleep.

Each morning we were treated to a delicious breakfast spread of French cheeses, yogurt, sliced meats, soft boiled eggs, fresh juices, teas and coffee as well as an assortment of French pastries and breads. I resisted the breads, but I could tell from the look on my husband's face just how delicious everything was! The buffet-style meal also had an assortment of fresh fruits, butter, jams etc. It was the perfect way to start our day.

dining room photo via hotel website 

We sampled local foods, and explore Normandy each day, but we did stay in one night for dinner at the inn. I'm SO happy we did. It was one of the most delicious five course meals I've ever eaten. I didn't take photos of every course, but I will tell you each and every bite was amazing. My meal's starters included champagne and a cold, whipped, creamy tomato soup topped with one muscle (local fare), then THE most delicious goose foie gras I've every eaten. Main course was "pork three ways" over a vegetable compote, 4th course was a small salad with baked camembert, and dessert was a collection of fresh fruits, homemade sorbet, whipped cream, an almond crisp, poached peach, caramel crackle... basically summer fruits prepared to perfection with added goodies. Have a look through my photos. I dare you not to get hungry! 

The final piece of this perfect vacation spot was the staff. Veronique, the inn's manager & front desk hostess was incredibly helpful and attentive, as was the dining staff and housekeeping. They all work together to create an environment that is both elegant, yet comfortable. While I felt like I was staying in a very special get-away, the inn also felt warm and inviting, never stuffy. 

I hope you've enjoyed my little recap of this sweet hotel. If you find yourself planning a trip to Normandy, consider staying at Auberge de la Source - Hôtel de Charme!

Summer Holiday 2015: Paris

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Ah, Paris... it's nearly impossible not to fall in love with this city. There's so much to love about it and in turn there's so much love in the air! Paris really is the "City of Love". 

The view from the Louvre, Paris, France

This trip to Paris was my second visit, my husband's first. I visited with two friends when I was 18. The trip was a graduation present from my mother. That first visit was fun and exciting, but visiting Paris with the person you love is extra special. Walking hand and hand through the parks, along the River Seine or down a busy avenue, is so special in Paris!

When planning our holiday, I chose to stay in apartments, mainly. There are a couple reasons for this. First: apartments tend to have washing machines. This is very important when traveling for several weeks abroad! Secondly: apartments give you a better feel for "living in the city". We bought groceries for home-cooked breakfast. We were able to pack a picnic lunch for the park. It really felt like we were residents instead of guests just visiting. This could also be because our apartment was so lovely and well appointed. I chanced upon a newly remodeled, one-bedroom apartment in the heart of the Marais. We were just a few blocks from specialty food shops, restaurants, cafes, the metro and parks. I couldn't have asked for better accommodations. If you're planning a trip to Paris, definitely send Abby, the owner, an email to inquire about staying in her fabulous apartment, and tell her I sent you!

Besides the overall dreamy feel of the the city, I have to say walking alone the Seine and visiting the parks were my favorite things to do. The Place des Vosges was just a few blocks away from our apartment, and though it was small, it was so special to take a picnic, a bottle of wine, and just enjoy the people and garden. We visited this little park a few times!

Place des Vosges

The Jardin du Luxembourg was by far the most dramatic garden we enjoyed. Not only were the plantings, sculptures and buildings incredible, the sky and weather that day had such energy! This is one garden I want to return to and linger a bit longer. I could have stayed all day!

Jardin du Luxembourg

The gardens and sculptures in the Musée Rodin were also breathtakingly beautiful. We arrived a bit late in the afternoon, and the museum proper was closed for remodel, so we didn't get to see as much of this site as I'd have liked. I definitely want to see this again and linger!

The Thinker, Musee Rodin, Paris, France

All throughout the city are sweet courtyards with hidden treasures of gardens and meeting places or small museums! This, the Musee Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris, gorgeous spot was in our neighborhood! I'd love to have a strolling, formal garden like this in my home neighborhood, wouldn't you?

Musee Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris

Of course we visited all the usual tourist spots like the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame etc, but then we also walked along the River Seine, next to all the houseboats, and saw a different part of Paris... under the bridges! I just loved this scene.

"under the bridge", River Seine, Paris, France

Evenings in Paris were filled with long walks along the river, delicious food, a bit of wine and Glacé or Sorbet. Our favorite spot was Amorino. There were several throughout Paris and each was prettier than the last! Lucky for us, there are a few in the US as well, NYC and Boston being closest for us! Two of our favorite restaurants were Le Coupe Chou and Le Petit Prince de Paris. Both are located in the Latin Quarter in the same little alleyway! Add both of these eateries to your list for your visit!

River Seine, Paris, France

I hope you've enjoyed "revisiting" Paris with me. If you have suggestions for my next trip to Paris, please comment below. I'd love to know your favorite finds!