Sometimes I look at the 29,000+ phones on my phone and wish I could automatically blog about everything on there. SO. MUCH. CONTENT. CONTENT OVERLOAD!!!!
I still love reading good blogs - favorites like Cup of Jo, Smitten Kitchen, Dinner: A Love Story, The Stripe, Wit & Whimsy, Aspiring Kennedy, and now Babyccino. It is weirdly calming to open up Feedly and start clicking on blogs that I love. And there are many blogs I miss like The Wednesday Chef and Orangette.
But I’ll never be a full-time blogger because I am doing what I would do here for major brands. I am a full-time travel editor, which encompasses so much – interviews, writing, editing, meetings, events, creative brainstorming, presentations, speaking – and travel.
I started this blog ten years ago and called it Hotel Belle, to write about hotels. Since then, the world of hotels has been corrupted by influencers and even true travel editors have a hard time standing out. My favorite is when someone says - “This is the best hotel I’ve ever stayed at.” But when you stay at 5 hotels a year, are you really an expert? Consumers want to know who they can trust. Trust has pretty much been annihilated. And there are so many different levels of travel - I’m a “luxury travel” expert, but I also love a three-star family-run hotel.
There are hundreds of hotels that I’ve visited and never mentioned on here - when I first started, that would have been unimaginable. Of course, I was also writing for places like National Geographic, where I worked for nearly 9 years, which took up most of my time.
Over the past few years, I pop on here when I have 15 minutes free and want to just slap something up. I dream of time to write about all the restaurants, museums, tours, hotels, and cities I am so lucky to visit (and try to update all the guides when I can). We spent two weeks in Argentina and Brazil - I have a million notes, did so much research, talked to so many people. I really want to get that guide up.
Also, travel means something different to me now. I travel slower (with a baby and for myself). I don’t care about the hot restaurants that will close next year. I want a neighborhood spot where I can people watch and dream about who my fake friends are if I lived there. I still love museums and insider tours. I love a great food tour. I want to spend time in places I love, and not necessarily go to all those far-flung places right now (although my favorite trips have been to places like Egypt and Turkey).
With moving to London, I am motivated again to document our future life in London (and hopefully traveling in Europe) - for no one else but me. We’ll see how that goes.
I want to remember our last few months in New York. We have really made an effort to experience and LIVE in our beloved New York City. I am leaving with very little regret, because I feel like I always did that - took the long way home over the bridge, stopped for 20 minutes in the park, went into The Met when I had an hour free. But I will miss this city immensely.
Places I visited where I had never been:
Domino Park in Williamsburg (so cool)
Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Bronx Zoo (all great)
The Little Red Lighthouse (a haul to get there, but cute with kids!)
SeaGlass Carousel (magical)
Roosevelt Island Tram (not worth it, LOL)
The Met Breuer (not my favorite)
Favorite places I returned to (over and over again!):
The Met (I feel instantly better when I walk in here)
Central Park (forever and ever)
Prospect Park (our beloved weekend tradition of off-leash, coffee at Cafe Martin, eating on the playground benches in Park Slope, and the farmer’s market on 5th Avenue - then walking all the way back to Brooklyn Heights)
Riverside Park/91st Street Garden (so nice, feels like You’ve Got Mail)
Brooklyn Botanic Garden (the Bonsai collection was new to me!)
Chinatown (I crave Vanessa’s dumplings but also loved Shanghai Dumpling for soup dumps)
Natural History Museum (Just awesome in every way)
Columbia/Riverside Church/St. John the Divine (See below!!)
When I first moved to NYC, I took most visitors up to Columbia and to see St. John the Divine, an enormous unfinished church that was badly burned nearly 20 years ago. It’s so impressive, though. And if you have time, Riverside Church is worth a look, too (although it’s best to go for the famous Christmas carol concert!).
I was so happy to spend half a day with Alex and Sophie there. We went to Community Food & Juice for lunch (highly recommend), snapped a photo of the Seinfeld restaurant (Tom’s), and stopped at Sal & Carmine’s for a classic NYC slice on the way back to the subway. The Columbia main quad is so gorgeous and you don’t feel like you’re in NYC. Definitely worth half a day of exploration!