Thanks for joining me!
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things”. – Henry Miller
Thanks for joining me!
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things”. – Henry Miller
Exciting news! Sara Campbell introduces the Willard Road collection, designed by Sara’s daughter, Lucy Maloney. The story behind this collection is so inspiring – Lucy studied finance while in college, but she loved art in high school and throughout college, and during the pandemic she decided to pursue her artistic side as a creative outlet. She decided it was now or never to pursue her passion, and she launched Willard Road in June 2021.
The designs are fresh, new and contemporary, and caters to women who want a laid back, sophisticated style with simple silhouettes. The collection is high-quality, stretch linen, all made in the USA. The styles are meant to be mixed and matched – casual enough for shopping and lunch around town, but can also be dressed up for a night out or an event, and the perfect attire for a vacation (you know I will be wearing one of these dresses during our next trip to the Cape!). The collection includes blouses, shorts, trousers, long flowy dresses, as well as an off-the-shoulder dress (red or neutral gingham). The summer capsule reflects the colors of sand, sea, and sky, and the red gingham dress is the only pop of color in I the collection. Lucy’s next fashion capsule will be resort wear!
Lucy has combined her love of fashion with her business background, and her years in finance prepared her for all aspects of the fashion industry. This is great advice for anyone interested in pursuing their passion – there are ways to connect your education and training with your creative projects.
Stop into Sara Campbell at Linden Square to shop this beautiful collection!
Shop online here: https://www.willardrd.com/
Follow Willard Road:
Caroline George, author of Dearest Josephine, talks about her writing process, her favorite coffee shops, and her favorite spots to watch a sunrise. She also shares the reasons she decided write a book. You will be inspired to write one of your own!
Lauren — Travel and Write Today: You published your first book when you were fifteen years old — so inspiring for other young writers. When did you decide you wanted to write a book?
Caroline George: Before I could hold a pencil, I knew I was meant to write books. I told stories to my mom who wrote them down for me. In middle school, I wrote fanfiction and posted it on a teen writing website. The stories garnered a large following, which gave me confidence. At the time, I knew little about publishing and thought I could build a career off fanfic. My middle and high school literature teacher encouraged me to write an original novel. What a saint! Because of her guidance, I wrote my first book, then another and another. I self-published two books in high school, landed an agent, and had my first traditional publication as a college student. Now I write full-time for HarperCollins.
TWT: What is your writing process? Do you prefer a paper & pen or a laptop? Do you write with music on or do you prefer to write in silence?
CG: Great question! My writing process changes each time I start a new project. The stories often seem to have minds of their own. I’m merely their hands.
I write on my laptop, but I outline and brainstorm on paper. One of my favorite things to do is take my notebook, go to a coffeeshop, and write quotes, thoughts, random words. Allowing myself to write purely for the sake of writing helps my creativity and often leads to passages used in my books.
I do write with music! Spotify is a dear friend. I make playlists for all my books. However, with Dearest Josephine, I found myself writing in silence because I mumbled the words as I wrote them. I wanted to get the right voices in my book, so I whispered in a British accent for months. Yes, my family thought I went bonkers.
TWT: Do you write in the morning, at night, or whenever you find the time? Where are your favorite spots to write?
CG: Starting in the morning tends to work best for me! I write most days, so getting my brain in “writer mode” early on helps me stay focused. When I’m on deadline, I write between 8-12 hours a day. Goodbye social life!
I write at my dining room table. Same chair. Coffee mug to my right. Phone and blue light glasses to my left. The routine minimizes distractions. One day, I hope to purchase a big desk, comfy office chair, and bookshelves for my growing collection. Until then, I’ll be at my dining room table.
TWT: I know you love coffee as much as I do, and as you say “Coffee first. Save the world later”. What is your go-to coffee order? Favorite coffee shops?
Yay for coffee! I love oat milk lattes, especially iced oat milk lavender lattes. When I lived in Nashville, I spent a crazy amount of time in various coffeeshops, The Well, Three Brothers, and Frothy Monkey in particular. Unique lattes are my favorite drinks to order. Other beloved coffee shops: The Village Grind in Greenville, SC and The Dripolator in Black Mountain, NC.
TWT: Did you always live in Georgia? What are some of your favorite local spots to visit?
CG: I grew up in the Atlanta area and moved to Nashville, Tennessee for college. I also lived in Sydney, Australia for a few months. Now I reside in northern Georgia, only an hour from mountains and the best hiking trails.
Traveling is important to me. I’ve visited over 11 countries so far and plan to visit more.
Favorite “local-ish” spots: The mountains! I love to hike near Clayton, GA and Asheville, NC. I also drive to the beach a lot, Fernandina Beach and 30A my go-to spots.
TWT: What are some of your favorite books (besides Dearest Josephine, The Summer We Forgot, The Vestige, and The Prime Way Program Trilogy?)
CG: Too many to list! Some of my favorite authors are Anthony Horowitz, Isaac Marion, C.S. Lewis, and more. Recent favorite books include The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society and Splinters of Scarlet. Growing up, I fell madly in love with Peter Pan, The Nancy Drew series, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Inkheart Series.
TWT: Any hints you can share with the readers about Dearest Josephine? I am so excited to read this book — the countdown is on!
CG: Dearest Josephine came from a love for books and the people within them. It explores the romance we fantasize about and the romance worth having, the belonging found within literature, and the power of living now, in the present, with adoration for our own stories. (Hints . . . a novel, a stack of letters, and a young couple separated by two hundred years. Can they fight against time to find each other?)
This epistolary YA novel is told via letters, emails, texts, and a novel I wrote to mirror Regency era romances. Such a fun challenge! If you’ve ever wanted Mr. Darcy to write letters to you, then Dearest Josephine is for you.
TWT: What is your favorite place to watch the sunrise/sunset?
CG: From my dock! I currently live on the lake, and the sunrises/sunsets are phenomenal. I also love watching the sun rise from Mt. Yonah, the sun set from a beach somewhere, anywhere. What a fun question!
TWT: What advice would you give to other writers?
CG: Read as much as you can (in your genre). Write a book, then write another. Learn about the industry and grow your audience. To succeed in modern publishing, a writer needs more than a good book. They need platform, savviness, and grit.
Keep trying! Don’t give up too soon.
Follow Caroline George at the links below:
Facebook: Caroline George | Facebook
Purchase Dearest Josephine here:
TNZ Fiction: Dearest Josephine (tnzfiction.com)
Sassafras on Sutton (COMING SOON)
I am always hoping to create moments in my life that feel like I’m traveling, but during this time it’s essential. Even if that means having a cup of coffee and looking back at photos from previous getaways, reading a few chapters of your latest book, taking a drive to a scenic spot (by the water), listening to a favorite album, having a cup of tea, watching an episode of your favorite comfort show, enjoying something chocolate, exercising, listening to a podcast, creating, writing, drawing, taking photos, or putting a puzzle together. Create spaces in your home that feel like a quick getaway, even if it is a corner of a room (or a table). The state of our world is surreal, scary, and unsettling, and it is causing (and exacerbating) anxiety for so many people.
I’ve been trying to put my phone down so I am not inundated with news and social media posts, but it is so hard when you want to stay connected. I’m looking forward to our next getaway — whenever that might be… Honestly, I’m just excited to go sit down at a favorite restaurant for brunch or dinner with a glass of red. For now, I just want everyone to be safe and healthy (to stay home), and to take a few moments each day to breathe.
In early December we had the pleasure of staying at the Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa, in Sandwich, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. As soon as we arrived we felt like we stepped right onto the set of a Hallmark Christmas movie. The Dan’l Webster is a family-friendly hotel, and it truly offers something for everyone. When you check in you will be greeted by the most welcoming front desk staff — we loved the nutcracker that plays drums — we even took a video for our little one (he asks to watch every day, and he is already asking to go back!)
Here’s a quick guide to a weekend getaway at the Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa during the holiday season:
Highlights (for any season): kid-friendly hotel, onsite restaurants, onsite full-service spa, rooms with fireplaces and whirlpool tubs, outdoor pool and gardens, access to Sportsite (a local fitness center), award winning restaurant and wine list, an onsite gift shop, holiday events (check their calendar or call the front desk!), and warm & welcoming staff!
I highly recommend staying at The Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa when visiting Cape Cod. It’s an hour from Boston, 4 hours from New York City, 90 minutes from Rhode Island, and just under two hours from Mystic, Connecticut — and it’s worth the drive from any area. We loved our stay during the holiday season, but we plan on visiting during the summer, as well! This hotel is great for family getaways and larger family reunions, a romantic weekend, or for a group of friends. My family loves traditions — and I think we started one this year — we plan on visiting the Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa year after year (and we will be telling all of our friends and family to do the same!)
In early November we spent the weekend in York, Maine at the Anchorage Inn. This is a family-friendly hotel, with ocean views, and it truly offers something for everyone. We loved our stay in the Ocean Suites, but you cannot go wrong with any of the rooms at this hotel!
Here’s a quick guide to a weekend away at the Anchorage Inn:
Highlights: Three onsite pools and an onsite fitness center, kid-friendly hotel, onsite restaurant, and a poolside café, and beautiful Ocean Suites (private parking and entrance, fitness room, concierge level with continental breakfast and happy hour, and rooms with a fireplace, balcony, and views of the ocean).
I highly recommend staying at the Anchorage Inn when you visiting York, Maine. We plan on going back during the summer, as well. This spot is great for family getaways and family reunions, a romantic weekend, or for a group of friends. It’s the perfect hotel to return to again and again — we are already planning our next getaway!
Kennebunkport is one of our favorite spots in New England! We’ve been to KPT many times over the years, but we haven’t been back in a while (too long) — loved thinking back to our previous trips while putting together this travel guide. As with any other New England town it’s great to visit during the warmer months, and in the fall (for the foliage!), but some of the hotels are seasonal (including the Nonantum Resort), and some of the restaurants and shops are seasonal, as well. While there’s always more going on during the peak season, I recommend visiting Kennebunkport whenever you have the chance – during the off-season there are fewer crowds, less expensive room rates, and more parking!
Where to Stay
Nonantum Resort (closed mid-December through mid-April):
Highlights: Kid-friendly resort, outdoor heated pool, on-site shop, Adirondack chairs overlooking the water, kid-friendly activities (including s’mores, crafts, and games), walking/quick shuttle ride to restaurants and shops, as well as plenty of on-site dining options.
Kittery Outlets – great shops just under 40 minutes from Kennebunkport. If you’re driving up from Boston it’s a good place to stop along the way.
Alisson’s Restaurant was a recommendation from a friend years ago, and we’ve been eating lunch and dinner there ever since. Their menu has a lot of great options, and it’s one spot where we get our lobster rolls when we visit KPT. Also – it’s been in business for 40 years!
H.B. Provisions is a charming general store, located just across the street from The Grand Hotel – it’s a bit of a walk from some of the other hotels in KPT. You can start with a cup of coffee/tea and breakfast (I recommend the pancakes, but everything was so good), and then you can get snacks, a bottle of wine, and takeout to bring back to your hotel or Airbnb.
Walk up and down Ocean Ave. for local shops, art galleries, and restaurants. You can also hop in the car and take a drive up Ocean Ave. to see the beautiful homes and water views!
Kennebunkport, Maine is 40 minutes from Portland, 30 minutes from York, 1.5 hours from Boston, and 5.5 hours from NYC. There are so many places to visit in Kennebunkport, but I just wanted to share some of our go-to spots with you. I would love to hear about some of your favorite spots in KPT!
Many of you know that St. Pete Beach, right along the Gulf of Mexico, is one of our favorite places to visit – we’ve been there so many times that it feels like a second home. It actually felt like a second home as soon as we arrived during our first visit. I would recommend flying into Tampa and renting a car, or getting a shuttle/car service to take you to Gulf Blvd. SPB is great for family vacations, family reunions, weddings, romantic getaways, and for getaways with friends. One of the best parts of any trip to SPB is watching the sunrise and sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Everything seems to stop when the sun sets — people will even get up from their dinner table to take it all in.
There are so many wonderful hotels and places to visit in this area, but here are some of my favorites:
Where to Stay
Highlights: Family-friend, pet-friendly, two outdoor pools, hotel shops (clothing, home decor, etc.), full service spa, fitness center, Camp CeSar — kid’s camp (we haven’t used it, but families seems to love this amenity), multiple dining options, self-parking, etc.
Highlights: Family-friendly, pet-friendly, multiple swimming pools across both properties, paddle boats (much more challenging than they appear!), fitness center, self-parking, shops with toiletries/clothing/beach essentials, mini golf, etc.
Highlights: pool (and use of the pools at the Beachcomber Resort), fitness center, small shop, etc.
Favorite Spots in St. Pete Beach, Pass-a-Grille, and the surrounding areas:
Sandbar Bills (at the Bon-Aire Resort) for cheeseburgers — this was recommended by a local and the burger and views didn’t disappoint!)
Merry Pier if you enjoy fishing!
Galene’s Paradise for gifts, home decor, toys, and jewelry.
Sea Horse Restaurant always has a wait for breakfast so make sure to get there early! You can shop at Galene’s and walk up and down 8th Avenue while you wait (or you can take in the water views),
John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk has so many shops and restaurant options — it’s a great way to spend a few hours, and it’s just about 10 minutes from Gulf Blvd.
Corey Avenue Sunday Market runs from October to May — check the website and Instagram for special events!
Café Soleil is a great place to grab a cup of coffee or tea before heading out to 8th Avenue in Pass-a-Grill!
Other area attractions: Tropicana Field for a baseball game or Amalie Arena for a hockey game, The Florida Aquarium(Tampa), shopping and dining in Sarasota (just under an hour away), The Dalí Museum (located in downtown St. Petersburg), the St. Pete Pier,in St. Petersburg, is currently under construction, but check their site for updates.
St. Pete Beach, Florida is just about 20 minutes from downtown St. Petersburg, just about 35 minutes from Tampa and Clearwater, and close to 90 minutes to Orlando. St. Petersburg has many shops and restaurants to explore, but we haven’t spent a lot of time in this area. If you are wondering where to go on your next vacation I highly recommend this area of Florida — there is truly something for everyone here. What are some of your favorite spots in St. Pete Beach?
We have family in Vermont so we’ve spent quite a bit of time in Burlington, as well as in the surrounding towns. This Travel Guide won’t focus on beer or winter sports — so keep that in mind when diving in. We’ve gone during the holidays when it is cold and snowy — it is a cozy time if you like to stay indoors, but it’s even better for those who enjoy skiing and snowboarding! Burlington is perfect for family getaways, a weekend away with friends and family, or for a romantic getaway. I love that you can visit Vermont in all seasons (and we have), and there is plenty to do both indoors and outdoors!
Where to Stay
Highlights: Kid-friendly, onsite gym and indoor pool, a small market with all the essentials, walking distance to restaurants, shops, and Church St., etc.
Other options: Hilton Garden Inn Burlington Downtown (we also loved his hotel — it has many of the same amenities, and a great breakfast buffet — as part of the buffet you get freshly made omelettes and pancakes!), Hotel Vermont (located right next to the Courtyard.)
Bleu Northeast Seafood is located within the Courtyard Burlington Harbor — we ended up getting breakfast here all three days during our most recent trip to VT. The restaurant does not have a kids’ menu, but they are kid-friendly, and we were able to create our own meal from the sides menu! By the third day the chef remembered us, and prepared it just right. Bleu VT had the most delicious pancakes with Vermont Maple Syrup — I would suggest stopping in even if you choose a different hotel!
ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain is a great place for children of all ages to learn about animals, science, marine life, history, and nature, and also has a spot to take in the beautiful views of Lake Champlain. Keep in mind the gift shop is right by the front door — they have so many great gifts and souvenirs! We will definitely be back!
Crow Bookshop located right on Church St. is one of our go-to stops when we are in Burlington — it’s a good mix of new and used books, and they have a selection of books from local authors. This trip we also discovered Phoenix Books (Essex location) — we loved this store, and we will definitely be returning. They were closing up when we arrived, and they still gave us time to browse and purchase books!
Church Street Marketplace is a must-visit while in Burlington — local shops, restaurants, bookstores (including the UVM Bookstore), plenty of food carts, and Uncommon Grounds (stop in for a coffee or tea and walk up and down Church St.).
Lake Champlain Chocolates is the flagship store in Burlington — you can watch chocolate being made, sample the flavor of the day, and buy some of your favorite Lake Champlain sweets.
Mimmo’s Pizzeria & Restaurant is right in Essex, Vermont — if you’re looking for a good Italian meal with huge portions this is a great spot. They have a decent wine list, and the restaurant is a family-friendly option (it’s right across the parking lot from Phoenix Books!)
Restaurants to try: Farmhouse Tap & Grill (great date night spot, or a night out with friends/family– they make their own condiments!), Hen of the Wood , Honey Road (we didn’t eat here, but it was packed every single time we went by!), Windjammer (one of our go-to restaurants — this is a good spot for larger groups, and people who like more basic options – including steak — and a great wine list. They have an upstairs area with a bar menu), Grazers Burgers (located in Williston), Vermont Tap House (located in Williston — go for the beer list and the warm pretzels!)
Burlington, Vermont is just over 3 hours away from Boston, 5.5 hours from New York City, and just over 2 hours from Montreal. There are so many places to visit in Burlington, but I wanted to share some of our go-to spots with all of you! Where are some of your favorite spots in Burlington?
Mystic, Connecticut is the perfect spot for an overnight or a weekend getaway — it’s great any time of the year, but keep in mind that many of the attractions are outdoors. There are beautiful water views, family-friendly activities and attractions, romantic restaurants, and great coffee shops. There is truly something for everyone!
Where to Stay
Highlights: Family-friendly accommodations/dining, Indoor Pool, Full-Service Spa, Updated rooms, lobby, and ballroom (to be completed this fall), small lobby market with toiletries, snacks/drinks, and souvenirs. This hotel is in a great location — it’s a short drive from everything you will want to see in Mystic!
Another great option: The Whaler’s Inn (located right in downtown Mystic).
Olde Mistick Village is across the street from the Mystic Aquarium so it’s a great place to go just before or just after visiting — you can re-enter the aquarium so you can always take a break mid-day, as well. This shopping center has lots of small, local shops, and restaurants, including Vault Coffee Roasters.
Vault Coffee Roasters is a cute coffee shop, that also serves delicious Deviant Donuts (Friday-Sunday). They offer classic flavors (we tried the Strawberry Chocolate Frosted), and then a variety of specially donuts. Go early so you can have your pick — they run out quickly!
Mystic Aquarium is a great aquarium that has both indoor and outdoor exhibits including: beluga whales, penguins, seals, sea lions, and smaller exhibits — they have hands-on exhibits, as well. We also loved the dinosaur exhibit (luckily it’s still running — it was supposed to end last winter!) I recommend buying your tickets on the app/computer ahead of time to avoid the long lines — this will save you a lot of time. No matter what you decide to do while you’re in Mystic I would definitely recommend a morning or afternoon at the aquarium!
Octagon Steakhouse at the Mystic Marriott has a good wine list, and delicious food. My go-to dish is the Statler chicken, but there are other great options, including a kid’s menu. At first glance this restaurant doesn’t look kid-friendly, but we all enjoyed our breakfast and our dinner, and they even have kids cups!
Downtown Mystic is one of my favorite areas of Mystic. It has the Mystic Draw Bridge (Mystic River Bascule Bridge), lots of local stores, restaurants, coffee shops, Mystic Draw Bridge Ice Cream, and a great local book store.
You should definitely visit Mystic Pizza when you’re in Downtown Mystic! You can get pizzas by the slice so even if you’re heading out for the afternoon, you can grab a slice and head to your next destination! The pizza is good, and the staff is friendly. It’s just disappointing that you won’t get to hang with Julia Roberts!
Bank Square Books is one of my favorite bookstores. They have a great children’s section, and an entire wall of journals! You have to stop by when you are in downtown Mystic!
S&P Oyster Restaurant and Bar — just check out the view!
Some other attractions include: Mystic Seaport Museum and Mystic Museum of Art
Mystic is definitely one of our go-to spots in New England — it’s under 2 hours from Boston, and just about 2.5 hours from New York City. It’s perfect for a romantic overnight, or a getaway with friends and family, and it has all you’d want in a charming New England town.
Do you love country music (or just music in general?) Do you love the Bobby Bones show? Do you love southern food, Nashville Hot Chicken, and pancakes? Do you love live music, museums, and cowboy boots? Are you interested in history and beautiful hotels? If you answered yes to at least some of these questions than you should consider Nashville for your next getaway!
Where to Stay
Highlights: family and pet-friendly hotel, onsite breakfast, 24/7 dining options, live music in the lobby (check with the hotel for schedule), onsite gym, and an indoor pool — also this hotel is walking distance to amazing restaurants and attractions.
Highlights: Onsite restaurant (Carter’s) — opened for breakfast, lunch and dinner, fitness center, live music in the lobby, family and pet-friendly option, gift shop, and proximity to area attractions.
Highlights: family and pet-friendly option, fitness center, gift shop, proximity to Broadway and other area attractions
You cannot go wrong with any of these options. They are all close to Broadway, and to everything that downtown Nashville has to offer. There are plenty of hotel options in Nashville, these are just a few of my favorites.
Pancake Pantry is an absolute must-visit for anyone who loves pancakes and breakfast as much as we do. The chocolate pancakes were some of the best I ever had, and at the time I was drinking decaf coffee and this is one of the only places that refilled my decaf! If you’re visiting Nashville please add this to your itinerary now. This restaurant tends to have a long wait (even in the pouring rain) — head over there as early as you can (they open at 6:00am).
Husk Nashville has delicious Southern food — opened for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. The building is beautiful, too. I recommend making a reservation.
The Southern is such a great restaurant that we ate here multiple times during our trip!
Hattie B’s is a great spot for Nashville Hot Chicken. I don’t like spicy food, but the spice was tolerable – the sides were absolutely delicious! This is another restaurant with a long wait — get there early!
The Ryman — The Mother Church of Country Music is an amazing place to see a show. Try and catch one of their Opry at the Ryman shows — starting in November (running through the Winter). The lineup is confirmed closer to the show date, and the posters are made at the Hatch Show Print — it’s the perfect souvenir. Also, take the tour of The Ryman — it’s worth it!
Bridgestone Arena is a great venue to see a show. During a Bobby Bones interview, Dierks Bentley shared how important this place is to him — since then it has been high on my list of places to see a show!
Country Music Hall of Fame is not a tourist trap. It’s worth a visit! I would also do the RCA Studio B Tour, as well as a tour of Hatch Show Print. I don’t want to give anything away regarding the Studio B tour, but trust me — it’s a memorable way to spend a few hours. When you take the Hatch Show Print tour each member of your group will get to make their own poster to bring home.
Catch a Predators or Titans game
Some other attractions include: The Johnny Cash Museum, Grand Ole Opry, Honky Tonks on Broadway — including Robert’s Western World, The Stage, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, etc., The Blue Bird Cafe, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, The Parthenon, Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, etc.
Nashville is ideal for families, couples, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and of course, for fans of country music. It’s perfect for a long weekend, or for a longer vacation, and it’s a city you will want to visit time and time again. There is so much to do in Nashville you will need to visit multiple times to do it all! Don’t forget to check the concert schedules before your trip (or maybe plan a trip around a show).
What are some of your favorite spots to visit in Nashville?