Only With Coffee

LOVE LIFE

Category: Destinations

16 hrs layover in Massachusetts

I do indeed love America! There’s a big BUT though. What I do not like about this country, is the fear of the next terror act that leaves footprints all over the country. Be it by simply mistrusting people in the first place, the hundreds of questions you have to answer at customs or such things as not putting lockers in an airport because it could potentially be too dangerous. On the other hand that’s exactly the reason why I got to explore a bit of Massachusetts on my 16 hours layover in Boston.

It was either gonna be me waiting inside a terminal that only had a Dunkin’ Donut Take Away booth or me leaving the airport with 3 pieces of luggage. Since I am not exactly a big fan of sitting still for that long I decided to catch a bus to the car rental station. Well, let’s say it was an adventure to get on and off the bus with all my stuff. In I go with my oversized bag, my cardboard box filled with good Californian wine and some clothes, my huge backpack and my purse… Of course, just before reaching the counter, my wine box fell flat on the ground and I was waiting for a big reddish puddle to make its appearance – fortunately my friend had packed my wine so well that nothing broke. After this incident I was ready to leave Boston Intl. Airport. Like – READY. It was only 8am by the time I had signed my rental contract.

Bearing in mind that I had to be back at the airport in time to make my international flight, I left Boston in a cute little car towards Cape Cod. “Explore-mode” on and lots of time on my hand. Since I looooove driving, my first pit stop was at the Highland Museum & Lighthouse by Truro, about 2 hours south east of Boston. Unfortunately the Museum was closed so I couldn’t go up the Lighthouse (otherwise known as Cape Cod Light) to enjoy the view from the top – oh well, another time.

After driving along this spooky road I got to Province Lands Visitor Center to find out a few things about this region

After driving along this spooky road I got to Province Lands Visitor Center to find out a few things about this Region

Visitors Center View

The view I got from the center’s upper deck was a lot different to what I expected to see - in a good way

The view I got from the center’s upper deck was a lot different to what I expected to see – in a good way

There are a few Bicycle Trails that seem to be absolutely beautiful to explore the area. I’d definitely rent a bike if I was there during the season. The Beech Forest Trail and the Race Point Beach Trail are recommended at the visitor’s center. My next stop was Race Point Beach. Wow. Just walking towards the beach made me smile and want to spend a few hours here, just to stare at the ocean. Since I was in no rush, I ended up staying in that exact spot for about an hour.

Race Point Beach

Panorama Race Point Beach

Later I got to Provincetown and immediately fell in love with its appearance. It seemed to have a “Key West – vibe” to it. The colorful wooden houses, the beautiful views at one of the beaches and the friendly people made my heart happy. Let me just share a few impressions with you.

Provincetown harborProvincetown bike

Townhall Provincetown Provincetown Independance

Provincetown kayak

And of course I found a place that serves great coffee - Post Office Cafe

And of course I found a place that serves great coffee – Post Office Cafe

After spending a while in Provincetown I decided to do one more stop in Hyannis before hopefully finding a shopping mall, where I could find myself a winter coat not everybody is wearing in Switzerland :-) So I headed towards Hyannis Beach first and then Hyannis Harbor, where I was surprised by the cute set up of colorful beach houses that shone so beautifully in the setting sunlight. Definitely a place I would revisit when I’m in the area.

Hyannis Beach bench Hyannis BeachHyannis PierHyannis HarbourHyannis_1Hyannis 1 ok

I loved everything about this day! To end it off well, I left Hyannis and bam – drove past a Mall where I found the most perfect winter coat. I had spent so much time along the way that I didn’t really have more time to shop. I have way too much stuff anyway. If I had bought more things, I’d have had to add another bag to my Ensemble. I guess it would’ve been even more fun to get back on the bus to the international terminal of Boston Airport. Haha.

Let me end this post by telling you why I love America instead of just giving you an idea of what I don’t enjoy about its Airports. I love their people. Sure, some might seem superficial at first, but most people I’ve come to know better are just really nice. And the ones I’ve known for a while I love because they’re real. They seem to take on life a little more positively. I’d love to spend a few months or years on their side of the globe, just to get into their groove of living life. I’m sure I’d be surprised about lots of things, but that’d be fun. I doubt I’d be such a “fan” if I was to consider politics. :-) So I choose to let put aside. The States have a lot to offer when it comes to places you should absolutely visit before you die – if you let political differences hold you back from visiting beautiful countries (in General), you might have to stay within your own four walls all of your life. That’s something I had to repeat to some of the customers I had, working for a travel agency and also have to occasionally tell myself.

Let’s face it – life is good, especially when you broaden your horizon by traveling the world. This might take you as far as the next town, the national parks in your own country or somewhere you never thought you’d end up. Let’s do some exploring and keep in mind – life is a lot better when you enjoy a cup of coffee here and there. :-)

Aldeburgh UK in pictures

I just spent a few hours in Aldeburgh, so I really don’t know much about it (yet). If I had to describe my impressions in only a few words, I’d chose magical, colorful, friendly, adorable and stunningly beautiful. Take me back!

IMG_20151217_132041 Screenshot_2016-01-05-15-23-29-1 Screenshot_2016-01-05-15-47-28-1 Screenshot_2016-01-05-15-46-02-1 Screenshot_2016-01-05-15-45-09-1Screenshot_2016-01-05-15-27-36-1 Screenshot_2016-01-05-15-27-28-1Screenshot_2016-01-05-15-48-34-1 Screenshot_2016-01-05-15-49-27-1 Screenshot_2016-01-05-15-51-02-1Screenshot_2016-01-05-15-25-57-1Screenshot_2016-01-05-15-52-47-1 Screenshot_2016-01-05-15-53-33-1 Aldeburgh

Have I convinced you to pay Aldeburgh a visit? I sure hope so. Enjoy!

Stunning Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is a place you should visit, especially when you’re in Michigan or anywhere close by. It’ll set you back in time. There’s no other transport on the island than bikes and carriages – mind you if you have allergies. I was soooo excited to take my sister along, that I forgot it was gonna be hard on her allergies, so don’t repeat this if you don’t have to. There’s loads to do and see on the main land too, but that’s not what I’m sharing with you today.

First you’ve gotta get on the island somehow. There’s several ways to do so. Either get on a ferry from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace on Starline, Shepler’s or Arnoldline. There is also an Airport on the Island, but unless you fly in and out with your private jet, I’d recommend taking a ferry. If you’ve got time to walk around St. Ignace – don’t forget to stop by at Bentley’s Café as their café is located right on N State Street and their coffee isn’t too bad after all 😉

On the ferry, depending on where you’ll be heading out – it’ll take you between 30 – 45 minutes to cross over. Once you get off the ferry, you’ll find yourself right on Main Street and you’re either gonna love it right away or not. But I have yet to meet someone who didn’t love it. Make sure you get there between May and October, if you’re after experiencing the real deal. If you get there during the winter months, it’ll be beautiful too, but most shops and attractions close in late October. So, if you get here in summer, make sure to book you’re accommodation ahead of time. There’s a couple of nice places to stay, but my favorites all just have a few rooms, so you want to make sure to get one. So worth staying on the Island for at least a night.

Places to stay

Inn on Mackinac

Inn on Mackinac

Fun to look at from the outside and totally old school on the inside. Everyone is welcome here. Great location and amazing views of the Harbor, if you get a room facing towards the Main Street.

Cottage Inn

Cottage Inn

Absolutely charming, only a handful of rooms, very personal, one street off Main Street situated on Market Street.

Lilac Tree Suites & Spa

Photo of Lilac Tree's Website

Photo of Lilac Tree’s Website

Photo of Lilac Tree's Website

Photo of Lilac Tree’s Website

Fabulous location right in the heart of Main Street with the option of getting proper SPA Treatments.

And then, there’s some hotels with plenty of rooms, that are not less phenomenal.

Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel

A traditional Hotel that opened in 1887 and has the world’s largest front porch. Make sure to at least take a walk around it.

Mission Point Resort

View of the Resorts Gazebo

This place holds the typical resort feeling as you walk in and definitely is the place to stay for families and couples. There’s a gazebo for weddings set in the beautiful garden.

Taking walks to find cute spots is the best thing to do

sun and treesFall day DSCN7024 DSCN7056 DSCN7058 DSCN7060 DSC_0235 DSC_0175 StrollingDSCN7090DSCN7068 DSCN7244

Activities awaiting you

Carriage rides, bike rentals, walking tours, SUP-ing, kayaking, strolling along Main Street and visiting all the fabulous shops, checking out some of the local art, visiting Fort Mackinac and Fort Holmes and of course making fudge and eating until you feel kinda sick (I don’t know about you, but I tend to eat more than I can handle. Especially of the sweet stuff, haha).

Food, Snacks & Drinks

Millie’s on Main
I’d say you can’t go wrong with your order. Their food is great and it comes with extra hearty service. And go figure, their coffee is great too.

Twist N Sprouts
THE place to get a salad! Fresh salads, wraps and frozen yogurt – what more do you Need?

Fort Mackinac Tea Room
It’s all about the VIEW! Plus their tea & coffee selection is good. Sit down for lunch if you want to enjoy the great view a bit longer.

Photo of Grand Hotel's Website

Photo of Grand Hotel’s Website

And then, after your stay here on incredible Mackinac Island – you will wanna come back eventually, just like I do :-)

Hello World

I’m Sandrine, 31 years old, former travel agent and an absolute life lover. I’ve come past a few people who don’t like to travel in my former career – let me get one thing out of the way – I’m not one of them. And you most certainly aren’t either. What I love doing most is talking, shopping, writing, catching some highlights of life on camera and go figure – traveling. Also, if there’s coffee to start the day and continue throughout the day – I’m happy.

Sandrine

Since this first post should take you to a place I really love, I decided to write about one of my most favorite spots on earth. Durban area, Kwazulu Natal in South Africa. It’s not as busy with tourists as Cape Town, but it’s definitely worth a visit. It’s got the largest Indian population outside of India and walking through the streets of Downtown Durban, you’ll feel the different and exciting vibe. You’ll find one of the biggest Indian Markets on Victoria Street. You’ve gotta love all the colors, spices and foods. Durban’s famous Bunny Chow is well known for its hotness. It’s not just hot, it’s the kind of *oh-my-word-this-is-flippin-spicy* hot. Ok maybe I’m exaggerating a bit… my taste buds aren’t used to hot food, so you might be doing just fine.

If you want to find out more about the South African Indian Culture I suggest you to read the article by South African Tourism to get a tiny idea about it.

I don’t mean to reduce the Indian influence on food, but it’s what makes Durban all the more colorful and interesting in my opinion.

Most favorite place so far

Sunrises by Umhlanga Lighthouse are the best. With a little luck, you might see dolphins playfully swimming through the waves. Ladies, if you’ve been waiting for your boyfriend to drop THE question, you should consider bringing him here. Haha. Just an idea to speed things up.

Umhlanga sunrise

Coffee

If you want to start your day with a good cup of coffee and delicious baked goods, you should go to Vovo Telo at the Lighthouse Mall, also in Umhlanga. You can’t go wrong with your order. Their freshly baked bread is amazing. And believe me, it’s hard to find good bread on trips around the world, being used to Swiss bread.

Vovo Telo Umhlanga

You’ll find a similar atmosphere at Mayfair Café in Durban North. It’s a cute place to hang out and have coffee. Plus their food is great, should you stop by later in the day. Check their Facebook Page to find out more.

Photo of Mayfair Cafe’s Facebook page

Photo of Mayfair Cafe’s Facebook page

Activities

If you’re looking for activities, there’s loads to do in this area. You can go kayaking on Umgeni River or in the open water. Mind you – there’s sharks. Great Whites too. If you visit Kwazulu Natal‘s Sharks Board you’ll get all the extra information on sharks. Unfortunately all I can recall of my visit there is that 80% of the sharks that get caught in the shark nets are on their way out into the open water again. This is why I’ll never post a picture of myself kayaking around Durban.

Illustration by Kwazulu Natal Sharks Board

Illustration by Kwazulu Natal Sharks Board

You can also get adrenalin rushes by jumping off the big swing base at Moses Mabhida Stadium, go shark cage diving or surf at the Wave House , if you don’t dare catching a wave in the ocean.

Typical Durban visitors don’t miss out on uShaka Marine World, Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban’s Botanical Gardens, Wilson’s Wharf and of course all the beautiful beaches.

A few impressions from uShaka’s Aquarium

uShaka_1

uShaka_2

Moses Mabhida Stadium

Stadium

Accommodation

I’m not such a big help when it comes to accommodation in this area, as I usually stay with friends. But the few nights I’ve spent in either Hotels or Apartments, I’ve booked on Umhlanga Accommodation, AirBnB or Booking.com. One of my favorites is 506 Lighthouse Mall Self Catering Apartment. It’s within walking distance of the beach, lighthouse, several restaurants and Shops.

Lighthouse Mall Apartment

If you’re looking for a cheaper place to stay – check out On the Beach in Glenashley. (5mins from Umhlanga, 15mins from Durban)

Alright, I’ll leave you with this for now. Thanks for reading along. Let me know if you’ve got any questions about the above mentioned places – I’d love to get back to you.

 

 

 

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