Honeymoon Recap: Ischia

In the first honeymoon recap, I told you about our time in Napoli, which we loved! Today, I’m talking about the second part of our trip spent on an island off the coast of Napoli called Ischia. Ischia was not a place I had ever heard of, nor had most people when I mentioned it to them, but it came highly recommended to us by RM’s sister and her fiance so I had a feeling it would be great. And within 5 minutes on the island, we realized that great didn’t even begin to describe it.

dsc00111 dsc00114

We were able to get to Ischia from Napoli by a short hydrofoil (ferry) ride- about an hour-hour and a half, I think (I slept the whole way so I don’t remember ;)). There are many different parts of the island that you an stay on, but we opted for Ischia Ponte, which was a short drive from Ischia Porto where the boats come in, because of the better hotel options (more on that below).

What we loved the most about the island was how un-Americanized it was. There were very few other American tourists on the island, and most of the tourists were Italians themselves, so RM’s ability to speak and communicate in Italian was a huge help! We also loved the vibe of the island- it was small and very friendly and we constantly felt like we were able to immerse ourselves right into their culture and lifestyle. The island also had a lot to offer, so we found ourselves running out of time to do everything we wanted to do, even with spending 4 nights there!

Lastly, before I get into the details, if you’re looking to get TONS of information about all things Ischia, we cannot recommend Dion, the writer behind the website Ischia Review, enough. His website has everything you’d ever need/want to know about Ischia: where to stay, what to do, hundreds of restaurant listings, connections to rent boats or cars, winery information and more. We emailed him a lot and he was always super helpful with his responses and suggestions. Without his help we wouldn’t have had the same experience that we did, so Dion, THANK YOU!!

Where we stayed:

We stayed at the stunningly beautiful Miramare e Castello hotel, which was right on the water so we had a private beach and a private pool- the best of both worlds! Walking into the hotel we were greeted by the warmest front-desk staff, who were always there for whatever we needed. Our room was also wonderful- a nice, big bed, little sitting area and an gorgeous terrace with a day bed overlooking the water, Mount Vesuvius and the castle. They had some bubbly and snacks for us upon arrival as a sweet honeymoon gesture- both things are sure ways into my heart 🙂

dsc00086 dsc00089 dsc00094

img_6318 img_6319

The hotel also had an indoor pool and a spa, both of which we did not get a chance to experience, but we were able to check out their rooftop area with a few jet tubs, day beds, etc. The views were the best part, though!

img_6324

img_1363

img_6428

img_6386

While we did not eat dinner or lunch there, the breakfast included in our stay was pretty great! They had scrambled eggs/bacon, lots of cured meats and cheeses, yogurts, fruit granola, cereal and a TON of delicious pastries. Complimentary champagne was also provided, but was not something I ended up taking advantage of.

img_6421

Miramare’s sister hotel, Mareblu Terme, is right behind Miramare and guests have access to their amenities, including their thermal pool, which is a pool containing thermal water that comes naturally from the ground. On the other side of the island (Forio), all of the hotels have their own thermal spa’s.

What we ate

We ate some really amazing food while in Ischia, starting with our first lunch at a little place near the castle (side note: we never actually went in or toured the castle- oops!- but if we go back (which we really want to do!), we definitely will because it looked really cool.

  • Al Pontile– We were pleasantly surprised by the food here. Sometimes restaurants near big attractions don’t have the best food, but this place did not fit that stereotype at all! We got a few different things and everything was unbelievably good. We even said that the eggplant dish might be tied with how good RM’s mother’s eggplant is, which is a pretty big deal!

img_6329

  • Aglio, Olio e Pomodoro– We stumbled upon this restaurant on a cute little street not far from our hotel (it’s the street that leads to the castle). It was the only rainy night we had but luckily we were able to wait for a table at a nearby shop and had a glass of wine. The food at this restaurant was really good, even though RM meant to order pasta with clams and accidentally ordered pasta with mussels haha good thing we like both of them!
  • Ristorante Zi Nannina– Our hotel recommended this restaurant and while it was a bit hard to find, it was a really great dinner spot. It was right on the water and the food was incredible, as was the service. We shared a bunch of things: salad, pasta with shellfish, a seafood stew type of dish and wine. Plus, it lead us to a great strip of restaurants/nightlife/shops in Ischia Porto so that’s an extra plus.

img_6393 img_6401 img_6403

  • Ristorante Pizzeria La Terrazza– This was a cute restaurant on the second level of a building, so you had great views of the street below. We didn’t end up getting pizza here, but it did look delicious! We opted for more pasta and clams (obsessed, you could say), broccoli rabbe and homemade sausage- everything was great!

img_6444 img_6447

  • I can’t remember the name of the last place, but it might have been Ristorante La Riva Destra or Ristorante L’Ostricaro, based on the Ischia Review page of Ischia Porto restaurants 😉 Whatever one it was, I had nice bolognese and RM had a steak.

img_6416

  • Gran Caffe Vittoria– we grabbed after dinner gelato’s and cafe (for RM) here a few nights. It’s hard to miss since it pretty much takes up an entire square!

img_6419

I know it seems like we at a ton of pasta- which we did- but we always made sure to have at least one salad throughout the day to make sure we were getting veggies in. We also split meals so that we were not eating the full portion because that’s just not necessary to do on a daily basis! Most places would split the dish for us in the kitchen which was a nice gesture.

What to do

As I said, there was so much to do on the island! Here’s a glimpse into our trip.

  • Lounged at the hotel- Most mornings we would have breakfast and then hang out on the chairs at the hotel and maybe go for a swim. It was nice to ease into this day this way.

img_1366 img_6353 img_6354

  • Go running- there was a big park that I ran through, as well as just running the streets. Italy gets going a lot later than Americans do so it generally wasn’t very busy when I would do this.

img_6408

  • Rent a car & tour the island- Through Ischia review, we rented the cutest (and smallest) smart car cabriolet. This was such a great idea because it allowed us to easily tour around the island. One day we headed out and made various stops along the way, including lunch in Forio, which is on the opposite side of the island and is better known for its beaches than Ischia Ponte. We didn’t think it would take that long to go all the way around the island but the road was SUPER windy and they climbed all the way up the island, which was pretty intense, so it took over an hour. The views were so beautiful, though, so it was worth it.

img_6365

  • Rent a boat- we rented a boat through Ischia Review, but ended up canceling it since we wanted to spend the day at Poseidon instead. However, this would’ve been a fun thing to do. They had options to drive the boat yourself or to hire a skipper for the day.
  • Horseback riding- we didn’t do this, but if it’s your thing there are places to do this!
  • Wine tours- There are a bunch of little, family owned & run wineries on the island and while we were there, there was an event called Andar per Cantine, which was an organized winery tour visiting 3-4 different wineries. This ended up being a really fun way to spend the afternoon because we were able to visit some cool little wineries, meet other Americans and taste great wines and locally made foods.

img_6410 dsc00181 dsc00211

  • Thermal Spas- Due to the nature of the island, there are lots of thermal Spas to check out. We decided to spend the day at Poseidon, which is the largest thermal spa on Ischia and has over 20 thermal pools to experience. It was 34 euros to get in, but that gives you access to the whole place for the day, including all the pools, locker rooms, restaurants, private beach and more. Because of various properties/minerals in the water (magnesium, calcium, etc.) from the volcanic hot springs, they are supposed to be therapeutic and the pools vary in temperature (from 28* celcius to 40* celcius) and salt concentration so people can pick what pools they want/need based on their bodies. We opted to do a full circuit, starting with the natural sauna, which was really awesome because it was heated naturally from the ground. It was HOT and steamy, unlike anything we’ve ever experienced in a man-made sauna. From there we did a few rotations of the sauna and a cold dip into the 15* celcius pool- which was SO COLD!!! Then, we made our way to dip in all of the other pools, finishing with the hottest and then lounging by the ocean. We had to wear swim caps because they don’t want hair clogging the drains, which was a funny look for sure. They also had natural “jet” type of setups, which were great for tired shoulders. The whole experience was SO NEAT and we would highly recommend it to anyone who goes to the island. We laughed at how organized it was since Italians don’t tend to be organized like that… and then we learned it was run by Germans, and it all made sense! Check out their site for way more information on all they have to offer, as well as more details about where the water comes from as well as it’s healing properties.

dsc00225 dsc00238 dsc00244 dsc00254 dsc00270 img_6433 img_6441

And that about does it for Ischia! As you can see, it was a pretty amazing part of the trip and we would really love to get back there some day. Next up, Sorrento!

 Questions for you: Have you ever been to Ischia? Do you like spas/saunas? Do you prefer a full schedule/itinerary on vacation or do you like to plan as you go?

Five on Friday {9.9.16}

Hi, friends! Happy freaking Friday 🙂 I hope you’ve all had a good week- mine started out roughhhh, but turned around a bit by the end of it. We leave for Italy in 9 days and work is absolutely crazy right now so I’m just trying to get through what I can so I can start my vacation without the stress of worrying about what I didn’t finish.

But, let’s talk about more fun things, shall we?

  • Moscow Mules- We received some beautiful monogrammed copper mugs for our wedding (thanks, Jean!), so last weekend we decided to put them to good use by whipping up some Moscow Mules. Neither of us had had one before, but we both enjoyed them! It was a really fun cocktail hour enjoyed on our back patio.

img_6119

  • Eating out vs. eating in- Most of the time, RM and I try to eat in the majority of the time. We shop on the weekends for the week, prep a bunch of food to have handy (I bring my lunch every day, too), but last week we kind of went on a eating out bender. Thursday we went to Buff’s (hadn’t been in SO long), Friday we went to Hopsters (again, hadn’t been in SO long) and Saturday we went to The Local in West Newton, because, well #saturdaydatenight. This is very unlike us to go so many days in a row eating out (unless we are on vacation), and while everything was delicious, we decided to eat IN on Saturday night. RM grilled up some veggie and shrimp skewers and I made a nice big salad. There’s something to be said about making your own meals- it felt really good to eat a nice meal like this!

img_6124

  • Love Grown Cereal- Confession: I LOVE cereal. I always have, but over the years I’ve tried to clean up my cereal choices (and I’ve gone from eating it daily to just a few times a week- baby steps). Most of the time I have Erewhon & Uncle Sam brands because they have such few ingredients, but they had a sample of Love Grown Power O’s at Whole Foods last weekend and I knew I had to try it out. They’re made out of different legumes, so they are wheat & corn free- something you don’t see often with cereal!

img_6141

  • Teaching- I’ve been loading up on classes leading up to our vacation since I know I’ll be going so long without teaching while we are away. While it can be tiresome (yesterday I did 6am and 5:30pm… and 9 hours of work in between), it’s really so rewarding. I love coming up with new workouts and playlists and helping people feel good and feel strong. I’m teaching tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday… and then I’m off for a longggg time, so catch me while you can!

img_6137

  • Biking- I can’t thank RM enough for suggesting that we get bikes. We have been having SO MUCH FUN with them. One day last week I rode it all around town to run errands and then Friday night I took it to meet my sister for a drink (RM rode with me which was nice) and then Sunday RM and I covered nearly 25 miles of biking. We rode all the way into the city, brought the bikes on the T to Eastie (RM had to check on one of the units in a building he owns) and then back to Watertown. Midway home, we stopped at Naco Taco in Central Square for a snack and a beer. I used to run by that place weekly and would always be so jealous of everyone there enjoying drinks and food outside so it was nice to get to check it out. We both highly suggest it if you want good tacos and guac- everything was fantastic, and reasonably priced. Oh, and the good part about biking places for drinks is it limits me to just one, since I don’t trust myself operating the bike after any more 😉 #lightweight

img_6109 img_6114 img_6117

I guess that does it! We have lots to get done this weekend in preparation for our honeymoon, so it’ll be a busy one! There is a Vegetarian Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival at the Arsenal Mall tomorrow which we might try to get to. It starts at 11am and is $10-$45 and guests can enjoy more than 30 craft beers and lots of vegetarian dishes. Sounds pretty cool!

I hope you have a great weekend with whatever you have planned 🙂

Questions for you: What was a good part of your week? What do you have planned this weekend? Do you prefer to bike, walk or drive places? Do you prefer to cook/eat in or eat out? What’s a guilty pleasure of yours?

Playing Catch-Up

Hi there! It’s been a while since I’ve posted, huh? Last week was one of those weeks where I had really wanted to post at the beginning of the week, but didn’t have time because I was helping RM with some stuff and then by the time that freed up and I had time to blog, I just didn’t feel like it. But, I’m back today and hopefully at least a few more times throughout the week because I missed blogging and missed all of you!

Although last week was busy, it was a good week! I was able to head down to our new office location in Rockland to work for a day, I taught some fun classes, I got in a lot of great workouts and RM and I had a really amazing weekend on the Cape. All in all, no complaints here except for the fact that it’s already Monday again 😉

IMG_6001

Loved having Athena in class last week!

IMG_6008

I had exactly 27 minutes to get in my own workout and get ready to teach my class last week… it’s amazing what you can get done in 20 minutes!

IMG_6026

Congrats to the winner of the giveaway at the class I taught at Legacy Place last week!

IMG_6028

Went to an awesome class at B/Spoke Cape House– I woke up with a not-so-lovely wine headache so it felt good to sweat all of that out!

IMG_6030

On Saturday night, RM and I headed into Hyannis for a change of pace. We went to a little restaurant called Naked Oyster and had some delicious oysters & shrimp, clam chowder, salad and scallops. Everything was fantastic- I highly suggest checking it out if you’re in the area.

IMG_6035

We had two amazingly perfect beach days!

IMG_6044

We came home to a Just Add Cooking delivery and I whipped up one of their meals last night and it was fantastic- more to come on that!

And that about sums up the weekend! As for this week, if you’re looking to sweat with me you have 3 chances:

  • Tonight, 6:30pm “Seaport Sweat” cardio kickboxing on the greenery area outside of Gather & District Hall. It’s free, there’s a live DJ and it’s outside- that combination makes for a great class!
  • Tomorrow night, 6pm Bags & Beats at GymIt in Watertown
  • Saturday, 10am Cardio kickboxing at the Oak Square YMCA

I hope you have a great start to your week- chat with you later!

Questions for you: What’s going on in your life these days? Anything new or exciting? How was your weekend? Did you get to the beach or get any good workouts in? What’s on your agenda this week?

Annapolis Summer Weekend

Good morning! I hope you are all staying as cool as you can- this heat wave is crazy! I wanted to pop in today to share some photos from the past weekend. We flew to Maryland to celebrate my cousin’s wedding in Annapolis. He and his fiance were able to come to our wedding, too, so it was a blast getting to share in each other’s special days! Plus, Keely and I hit it off way before we even met- we both love bubbly AND working out- obvi we were besties right away!

IMG_9808

This was at our wedding

I hadn’t been to Annapolis since I was probably 14 and RM had never been so it was nice to get to explore together. Even though it was blistering hot, we were still able to enjoy how charming the city was and still were able to walk around a bit. Enjoy!

Our first stop was McGarvey’s for a late lunch- oysters & a fish sandwich with a side of bubbly… perfect way to kick off the weekend!

IMG_5732 IMG_5733

Similar to what we did the night before the wedding, they had a gathering for a crab feast which was a really awesome experience! I had never eaten crabs like this and while it was a lot of work for a small yield, it was a blast and totally delicious!

IMG_5734 IMG_5736 IMG_5737

IMG_5739 IMG_5740

We stumbled upon an amazing little restaurant on Saturday morning when we were searching for food. Metropolitan Kitchen & Bar was the hidden gem we were looking for. I got this amazing avocado toast with feta, tomatoes, a poached egg & a balsamic reduction, RM got a lamb hash and we shared a blueberry pancake and everything was outstanding!

IMG_5743

After breakfast we walked around the city center and did some shopping before we went and toured/walked through the Naval Academy. Although it was SO hot, it was still really cool to walk around the campus and visit the museum. We highly suggest this if you travel to Annapolis!

IMG_5745

The wedding was at the Maritime Museum which was right on the water. The ceremony was similar to ours: short & sweet! She looked absolutely stunning and I loved the simplistic details. They had incredible passed apps, too, and really great options for the food stations. It was fun getting to go to someone else’s wedding now that we know all that goes into planning on!

IMG_5755 IMG_5756 IMG_5763 IMG_5769 IMG_5770 IMG_5774 IMG_5775 IMG_5778 IMG_5782

The after party was held at Pussers which was a great bar right on the water.

IMG_5783

All in all, while it was a short trip, it was so much fun and I’m so happy we were able to partake in their special day as well as get to spend time with my family. Sean & Keely- we wish you a lifetime of love and happiness!!

Questions for you: How was your weekend? Have you ever been to Annapolis? 

 

Five on Friday {7.1.16}

Good morning, friends! Can you believe this is my LAST post as a “single” lady?! So crazy, but so awesome. As I’m sure you can imagine, this past week has been filled with lots of last minute wedding “to-do’s”, which has taken precedent over blogging. I wanted to pop in today, though, to share a few things before we go off to get MARRIED! I won’t be blogging next week, either 😉

  • Spoiled by Pure Barre- I have been getting SO SPOILED by Pure Barre lately! They are introducing a new class format and invited me to check it out by giving me THREE free months of unlimited classes at the Pure Barre location of my choice. Since there’s one right near my office I opted to choose that location. And, while barre isn’t my number one favorite workout, I do like to continuously try new things and their new class format sounds pretty intense since it’s adding a level of cardio to it, so I can’t wait to see what it’s all about! As a welcome gift, they sent me some fun things to get me started, like socks, a towel & a water bottle. Then, just this week they sent me a new Garmin tracker with the sweetest note. Love that!

IMG_5225 IMG_5393

  • ProYo Giveaway- Did you guys see the giveaway that I’m hosting on Instagram? ProYo will be giving one lucky follower a free box of their ProYo treats, which I have to say are SO tasty! Tomorrow is the last day to enter, so if you haven’t entered please head on over and comment with what flavor you’d like.

IMG_5396

  • Feeling the love- We have already been feeling so much love from everyone regarding our upcoming wedding. From the calls to the texts to the emails, the support and excitement has been so awesome. And, my team threw me a shower on my last day in the office and gave us a super generous gift card to Crate & Barrel. I can’t wait to go shopping after the wedding! And, last night some of my work friends and I went out for drinks which was so fun!

IMG_5395

IMG_5411

  • Family time- My parents came down yesterday to do some last minute wedding stuff. It was so nice having them here and getting to show them everything I’ve been working on. I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful, supportive family! We also went out to lunch at Branchline so my sister was able to join us. Last lunch as just “the Gagnons”!

IMG_5403 IMG_5400

  • Quality time with my handsome future hubby– Although there’s always stress when you’re getting this close to the big day, RM and I have still been having so much fun together. I don’t really know how to describe it besides saying it’s just such an exciting time! Last Sunday we were able to spend some time at the beach and then went back to KO Pies one last time before getting married. It was perfect!

IMG_5352 IMG_5357

And with that, I’ll talk to you guys in a few weeks! I am really looking forward to some extended, uninterrupted time with RM. It’s been a crazy few months so I can’t wait to be able to sleep in, go to the beach and just relax together.