Coney Island

September 2, 2014

Brighton Beach with Luna Park in Coney Island in the background.  Labor Day, 2014

Yesterday, we spent a few hours wandering around at Coney Island. Coney Island is located in the southern part of Brooklyn (conveniently accessible by subway, thanks MTA), and we had heard from a few friends that there are several nice beaches in the area so we planned a short day trip to Coney Island and Brighton Beach.

Coney Island, NY Labor Day, 2014

Luna Park at Coney Island. Labor Day, 2014

Coney Island. Labor Day, 2014

Luna Park is the amusement park at Coney Island (you’ve probably seen lots of pictures of the ferris wheel) and it’s much bigger than I was expecting. I guess I was thinking it would be more along the lines of a country fair. Ferris wheel, swings, typical country fair games. But it was more like a cross between a country fair and Six Flags. There are several roller coasters and some kind of water park situation happening in the middle of the park. Predictably, it was super crowded so we opted to observe the commotion from the boardwalk, which was probably more enjoyable for us considering we weren’t necessarily up for roller coasters or bumper cars. After some picture taking and people watching, we continued walking along the boardwalk towards Brighton Beach and found a little place overlooking the ocean for a (strong) margarita. Then, after a bit of wading in the waves and a short discussion on the importance of sunscreen (we saw some very leather-y looking skin on the beach) and guessing at how much time we had before the storm hit, we walked back to the subway and were on our way.

What did you do this weekend? Did anyone take an end-of-summer trip? Where did you go?


PS. Another beach trip from this summer.

Seaside Heights, New Jersey

August 19, 2014

Seaside Heights, NJ | Photo credit: Kelley MacDonald, The City and Us blog:

Dan and I got back from New Jersey Sunday evening after a fun weekend getaway to see a few friends and enjoy some beach time. Now I’m wishing we could teleport back to the beach and lounge on our towels in the hot sand. Weekends really should be more than two days! Here are a few pictures from our weekend, if you’d like to see…

Seaside Heights, NJ | Photo credit: Kelley MacDonald, The City and Us blog:

Seaside Heights, NJ | Photo credit: Kelley MacDonald, The City and Us blog:

Seaside Heights, NJ | Photo credit: Kelley MacDonald, The City and Us blog:

Friday night, after Dan got out of work, we met at Port Authority in Manhattan and caught a bus to Tom River, NJ. The bus ride is only about an hour and a half, which makes it easy for a weekend trip. Our good friend Johnny has friends who own a cute house in Seaside Heights (only 10 minutes from the bus stop), and we were lucky enough to stay with them for a couple nights. Seaside Heights, home of the famous Seaside Heights Boardwalk (remember the devastating fire last September that burned much of the Boardwalk after it had just been rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy?) and MTV’s Jersey Shore show, is a cute town with lots of shops and restaurants. The colorful Boardwalk was packed full with ice cream parlors, pizza places, clothing stores, games and rides. There was also a mini golf course and a SkyRide (chairlift ride). I loved how colorful the buildings and storefronts were along the Boardwalk. It was an awesome place to take pictures!


Seaside Heights, NJ | Photo credit: Kelley MacDonald, The City and Us blog:

We spent Saturday afternoon at Seaside Park Beach. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised at how clean the beach was. The rivers in Manhattan are pretty gross, which makes me skeptical of the oceans nearby, but this beach was great. The water was cold at first so I didn’t do much swimming, but the guys spent quite a while swimming and throwing the football in the waves.

Seaside Heights, NJ | Photo credit: Kelley MacDonald, The City and Us blog:

Seaside Heights, NJ | Photo credit: Kelley MacDonald, The City and Us blog:

Dan and DJ waiting for our table at Jimmy’s Breakfast on Saturday morning.

Seaside Heights, NJ | Photo credit: Kelley MacDonald, The City and Us blog:

On Sunday, we packed up and headed back to Manhattan. We decided to give the train a try on our way back since traffic on the weekends can be miserable getting back into the city, especially during the summer. The train ride was about two hours from Pleasant Point, NJ to Penn Station in Manhattan–easy!

Anyway, hope you had a good weekend! And, thank you, Johnny, for planning this fun weekend! xo

5 Vacation Ideas in the US

August 12, 2014

Naked Ladies (the pink flower variety) cascade down the hill before McWay Falls

Today, my sister and her husband are flying to San Diego to meet their new nephew and soak up some California sun, and my Mom and her husband are flying to Sacramento to visit family and then spend a few days exploring Lake Tahoe. Since I not-so-secretly wish I was going too, I thought I would share five places in the US that are on my bucket list to visit (in no particular order):

1. Big Sur, California. The McWay Falls, an 80-foot waterfall, in Big Sur is breathtaking and looks like a wonderful place to explore. A tip mentioned on Kate Miss’ blog: star gaze from the hot springs at Esalen! OK!

2. Charleston, South Carolina. Because, THE TREES! I know there are many beautiful things to see and fun things to do in Charleston, but THE TREES! If I lived in Charleston, I would do EVERYTHING in my power to build a fully functional, year-round tree house in one of these phenomenal trees.

3. Joshua Tree National Park. There are always beautiful photos of Joshua Tree popping up on my Instagram feed, and every time I see one I picture Dan and myself camping in a vintage Airstream in the middle of the desert cooking S’mores and taking pictures of the amazing landscape and sunsets. One day!

Desert Life

The View Behind Me

4. Austin, Texas. I really want to swim in Jacob’s Well in Wimberley, TX, which is about 45 minutes outside of Austin. And the Hamilton Pool, a natural swimming pole, in Austin is another beautiful swimming spot that you have to hike to, which would be really fun to do!

5. Nashville, Tennessee. I haven’t spent much time in the south, except for when visiting family in Houston, (which, I realize, is arguably the most “south” you can get, at least according to most Houstonians), but I haven’t spent much time outside Houston. The south has always seemed like an enigma to me, mostly because it’s wildly different than New England. I’d love to explore Nashville someday. The people seem laid back and soulful. Plus, I’ve been searching for a skull to decorate with for like ever, and I just know there’s one waiting for me in Nashville!

kinfolk l'esprit de la mer dinner / Nashville, TN

Are you planning any vacations this year? Any recommendations to add to this list?

PS. Bar Harbor and York Beach, Maine, and a gorgeous B&B in Brooklyn!


(Photo credits: Big Sur: top photo by Rob DeGraff, second photo by Kate Miss. Charleston: both images by KT Merry. Joshua Tree: first image via Brian Flaherty, second and third images by Nick Carver. Austin: first image unknown, second via Park Central Austin. Nashville: first image via Beth Kirby for Kinfolk, second image via the imogene + willie shop’s tumblr page.)

How You Feel After Traveling

July 29, 2014


Kellie Donnelly makes an interesting point about traveling in her recent Thought Catalog article, and I wanted to share a paragraph that really stood out to me.


But the sad part is once you’ve done your obligatory visits for being away for a year; you’re sitting in your childhood bedroom and realize nothing has changed. You’re glad everyone is happy and healthy and yes, people have gotten new jobs, boyfriends, engagements, etc., but part of you is screaming don’t you understand how much I have changed? And I don’t mean hair, weight, dress or anything else that has to do with appearance. I mean what’s going on inside of your head. The way your dreams have changed, they way you perceive people differently, the habits you’re happy you lost, the new things that are important to you. You want everyone to recognize this and you want to share and discuss it, but there’s no way to describe the way your spirit evolves when you leave everything you know behind and force yourself to use your brain in a real capacity, not on a written test in school. You know you’re thinking differently because you experience it every second of every day inside your head, but how do you communicate that to others?


Can you relate? I never did study aboard in college (which I regret), but I bet if I did, this is how I would have felt when I returned home after a whole semester in a different country. My sister did an intensive study aboard for four weeks in New Zealand during her junior year of college, and I remember when she came home how she talked about having this totally different perspective on life. Her adventures, the people she met, the conversations she had. It really changed her. New York City is having that effect of me now, and I’m so grateful for this adventure.

Florals: Lupin Fields

July 17, 2014

New England Lupin Fields | City and Us

New England Lupin Fields | City and Us

New England Lupin Fields | City and Us

New England Lupin Fields | City and Us

New England’s blooming lupin fields, late June.

A Brooklyn Bed & Breakfast

July 11, 2014

Yesterday, while perusing Instagram, I came across the Urban Cowboy B&B in Brooklyn. Described as “an opportunity to experience Living in a Modern Luxury Brooklyn Townhouse, with an Industrial Williamsburg/Adirondack/Cowboy Sensibility,” Urban Cowboy B&B is the perfect mix of cabin, cowboy and industrial chic. The Brooklyn bed & breakfast offers guests six accommodation options: The Dream Catcher (average $100/night), The Peace Pipe (average $200/night), Vision Quest (average $250/night), The Lion “Master” Den (average $300/night), Kanoono Cabin (average $400/night) and The Full Cowboy (average $2000/night). I’d love to stay in the standalone cabin in the backyard for a weekend and relax in the hot tub. Wouldn’t this be a perfect way to escape the city for a night or two (or maybe a week) without having to travel a few hours north?

Urban Cowboy B&B just featured some pictures on their Facebook page taken by The Weekend Edition. Here are a few, if you’d like to see, and check out the whole gallery here

I just love the decor and that kitchen is amazing. And, how about that marshmallow bed!?

(All photos by The Weekend Edition.)

Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival

April 24, 2014

Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival | Quechee, Vermont

Last June, Dan and I went to the 34th Annual Quechee Hot Air Balloon Craft and Music Festival in Quechee, Vermont. Artists, musicians and artisans shared their craft with thousands of visitors that came out to enjoy the longest continuously running hot air balloon festival in New England. Here are a few photos from the festival, if you’re like to see…

Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival | Quechee, VermontOn Saturday, four professional skydivers put on a show, and after safely landing, they took questions from the audience and displayed their colorful parachutes.

Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival

Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival

Riders helped prepare the hot air balloons for flight by stretching them out while they filled with hot air.

Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival | Vermont

Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival | Vermont

Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival | Quechee, Vermont

Tethered rides were also offered which is a good compromise if you’re not quite ready for the “real” ride.

These photos make me want to float around in a hot air balloon all day. Have you ever been on a hot air balloon ride? My family went one time several years ago and it was thrilling!

Happy Earth Day

April 22, 2014


Just a few photos from our trip to Vermont and New Hampshire for you today in celebration of Earth Day. I found this feather while out walking around Dan’s parents’ property. We looked it up in a bird book and think it’s a hawk feather. Does anyone know for sure?


^^A man and his truck.


^^Beautiful blues and greens at Deb and John’s pond in New Hampshire. / The City and Us Blog: A Tiny Christmas Tree in New Hampshire

^^A one-year-old Christmas tree at the O’Brien Tree Farm.

(All photos by Kelley.)

Blogmilk | Brandi Bernoskie