Just back from…Philadelphia

My husband and I decided kind of last minute to road trip it up to Philly for the weekend. We wanted to go and see some antiques in nearby Bucks County. I got on AAA’s site and booked us a rate of $149 per night at my favorite downtown boutique hotel, the Palomar (left). Home of truffled popcorn, creative cocktails and Ben Franklin dressed like a biker. Yup in the lobby they have 3 Franklin busts all sporting different stars and stripes bandanas.  You’ve gotta love Kimpton properties, they do cheeky so well.

When we checked in I uttered the magic twitter word for July, “Flip Flops” and was treated to free cocktails.  Genius!

Friday travel dilemma

A lot of local governments are still hurting from the Great Recession and this year are planning smaller than usual fireworks displays for 4th of July.  Would you donate $5 per person if it meant a better show?  Weigh in.

Hidden gems – Alexandria Cupcake

With a staff as sweet and cheerful as the products they sell, Alexandria Cupcake is a great place to stop off for coffee and a tiny cakes.  The shop is located in the heart of Old Town a shopping district full of boutiques and restaurants.  You can walk from King Street metro station, though you will definitely need to refuel when you get there, it’s over a mile.  I stopped with a friend recently and sampled their wares.  The devils food cupcake with vanilla frosting was velvety smooth and not too sweet.  And much to my delight the frosting was evenly spread over my entire cupcake, a personal pet peeve of mine.  If you’re passing through Alexandria, VA put Alexandria Cupcake on your list of stops.  You’ll thank me.

Great travel accessory

Fourth of July is coming up next week, and that’s got me thinking about picnics.  I love eating out and then chilling under the stars watching fireworks.  We’ve been invited to a couple of BBQs this weekend, so I’m preparing by purchasing a new thermally insulated picnic basket.  I just bought this hip, red market basket from design site OneKingsLane.com.  At half off it cost just $59 and contains enough plates, glasses and silverware to serve four people.  It’s collapsible, so easily stored.  Now I just need to find a matching picnic blanket.

Hidden Gems – 1886 (Charleston)

What I wanted for my birthday this year was a romantic dinner.  The Hollywood kind ~ cozy banquette, white table cloth, beautiful table setting and creative cuisine.  We were spending the day in Charleston, South Carolina, so I did a bit of research and came upon 1886.  It’s a charming little boite set in a carriage house behind the Wentworth Mansion, a grande dame of Southern houses.  Sure it’s off the beaten path of downtown, but as my husband pointed out it was full of natives the night were were there.  The cooking is Low Country cuisine focused on locally sourced ingredients.  We stopped for a cocktail at the bar before dinner and had a delicious grapefruit and basil martini.  Our meal was one delectable course after another.  From the cold pea soup starter to the asparagus appetizer with duck egg, and then the game entree it was a terrific meal.  My husband ordered the antelope loin simply because it’s something you don’t often see on a menu.  My dessert came complete with happy birthday written across my plate thanks to their thoughtful pastry chef.  On the whole it was a perfect night.  If you’re in Charleston I would definitely make a reservation and stop by.

Great travel accessory

Retro cameras are back this year and I’m falling prey to the nostalgia in just the way the marketers intended.  These modern versions pay homage to their Canon and Olympus ancestors.  They are meant to remind you of the leather bound cameras that Mom and Dad toted around on vacation in the 70’s and 80’s.  Yet they’re digital.  So high tech enough to keep any geek nose deep in a manual for months.  My husband sent me a link to the Fuji version which we both agree is magically delicious.  Still, at $1,199.95 it’s a steep investment.  Want more information before you make your own choice?  Check out these reviews at dpreview.com.

To funny not to share – “Harold & Kumar in DFW”

My husband sent me a link to this Jalopnik.com video of two guys running wild after hours at Dallas-Fort Worth airport.  It’s like elves on Christmas Eve.  I wonder what on earth TSA thought when they saw this.  I think you have a security breach guys.

Note: apologies for not embedding the video.  I tried, but couldn’t make it happen.  It’s worth clicking through the link above.