Mont Cervin Palace, Zermatt

Zermatt is where I first fell in love with Switzerland. You can't believe it exists - high in the mountains, no cars, stunningly gorgeous scenery and crisp air. I visited last week with my sister and it made me fall in love all over again. We stayed in the most gorgeous hotel, the Mont Cervin Palace.

It feels like a family-run B&B--the general managers are a funny, charming husband-and-wife team, Karin & Kevin--yet has all the amenities of a five-star resort. Many of the rooms have Matterhorn views, when the mighty mountain chooses to appear from behind the clouds. Here are a few photos, if you're interested. We loved being picked up from the train station for the super short ride to the hotel by horse-and-buggy!


When I Turned 33

Did you know that The Bellagio (the only place I ever want to stay in Vegas!) smells the same even if you’ve been gone a year? It is this vague mix of chlorine, recycled air, and over-washed carpets, all laced with the faint but pungent smell of cigarette smoke, that overwhelmed me to the point of tears the day before my 33rd birthday. Why? Because I remembered where I was a year ago, and just how much has happened.

This has been one hell of a year and I am so grateful for (the feeling of) a fresh start that only comes on New Year's Day or your birthday.

I'm quite happy I got to spend this birthday in the company of 4,800 of the best people in travel at Virtuoso Travel Week.

Newport Family Wedding

I have a huge family - siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins. This happens when you are half Irish, and half Italian. People BREED. The greatest thing about my family is that we all make an effort to show up for the big events - especially weddings. My cousin Dan married Marisa this weekend and so I hit 95 (the most crowded highway in the world) and drove up for the festivities. 

I lived in Portsmouth, Rhode Island (20 minutes from Newport) until I was 10, and would return every summer until the end of high school.

If you do one thing in Newport, have a drink at Castle Hill Inn, this gorgeous Relais & Chateaux property on a peninsula overlooking the water. The lawn is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Of course, you have to visit the famous mansions too, built for insanely wealthy turn-of-the-century families like the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts to live in for six weeks a year. They called them "summer cottages."

For more of my Rhode Island tips - check out my guide here.

Castle Hill, Newport

Castle Hill, Newport

Summer To-Do List in New York

Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, Brooklyn

Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, Brooklyn

Summer passes in an instant and there is so much I want to do in the city before the air turns chilly again.

Here is my list!

Move

Do my favorite Prospect Park bike ride once a week in Brooklyn, the loop around the park. It's the best 45-minute ride from my apartment and back.

Ride my bike again to Coney Island on America's oldest bike path, Ocean Parkway, and get pizza at Totonno's.

Walk from Central Park home to Brooklyn, stopping at favorite places along the way in the Village and TriBeCa.

Go to Governor's Island with a great book and lay out on the grass.

Take Rocco to off-leash time in Prospect Park (before 9am) at least once a week. He loves it and so do I!

Cool Exhibitions:

China: Through The Looking Glass - at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, through Sept 7, 2015

Alice: 150 Years of Wonderland - at The Morgan Library, through October 11, 2015

Sinatra: An American Icon - at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts through Sept 4, 2015

Visit The Whitney's new location downtown & eat at Untitled, Danny Meyer's cafe (he of Shake Shack fame)

Eat

Eat more Ample Hills ice cream - it's seriously addicting, especially the oatmeal lace.

Buy lots of tomatoes at the greenmarket and eat them with sea salt, olive oil, & grilled bread.

Try at least two of these lobster rolls that I haven't tried - The Best Lobster Rolls in NYC

Writing this out makes me realize again how amazing it is to live in New York - and how I can let it pass me by sometimes, because I'm out of town, jet-lagged, or just lazy. It's the best city in the world!!

Peaking in Hong Kong

Recently, I stayed in Hong Kong for three nights, with only one free afternoon. Major tease. I was there for my third Virtuoso Symposium, a travel conference where I learn so much and want to hang out with everyone.

The skyline of Hong Kong is unbelievable. I live in New York, where the skyline takes my breath away, but it feels like a labrador puppy compared to Hong Kong's. You just can't believe it's real - and you feel its energetic, sultry vibe almost immediately.

I managed to hop on The Peak Tram for a panoramic, WOW view of Hong Kong. We stopped for ice cream with caramel popcorn on top (!) in the blazing heat. I visited several gorgeous hotels but stayed on the Island Shangri-La club level, in a room which made my heart jump whenever I looked out the window.

They do fancy things like change the elevator carpet to reflect the day of the week. This was helpful, as multiple time zone changes had me waking up in a fog shaking around a bit to remember where I was.

Click through the gallery below, if you'd like to see a few photos!