We Are Home! And 13 Twitter Personalities To Follow in 2013

Thank you for voting on Christopher Elliott's poll for 13 Travel Twitter Personalities To Follow in 2013! I got second place, with National Geographic's Andrew Evans in first and travel host Peter Greenberg in third. Talk about great company!

After nearly a week without power, we returned to our apartment in Greenwich Village this morning. This entire week made me love our life in New York even more, though obviously I wanted to be home. I feel even luckier to live in this city that has pulled together like it did, and with such good friends nearby.

If you're looking for Broadway show ideas, we saw The Heiress last night (with Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens!), and really enjoyed it. Since we live so close to Washington Square, I loved that the setting was the park in the 1850's.

We crashed with our good friends that live in Carnegie Hill on the Upper East Side and it was fun to really get to know the neighborhood. It has a wonderful community feel (we've started calling our friend Mel the mayor of Carnegie Hill - she knows everyone!) and is one of the best places to raise a family in Manhattan. I loved visiting The Corner Bookstore, which was the inspiration for the little bookstore in You've Got Mail; Kitchen Arts & Letters, which carries only cookbooks and books relating to food & drinks; Caffe Grazie & Sarabeth's for meals out; and Yura on Madison for delicious prepared foods and coffee in the morning.

New York still has a lot of rebuilding to do - here is a great list of opportunities to volunteer or donate in the aftermath.

My Visit to Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey)

I had the chance to interview Lady Carnarvon, who lives at Highclere Castle in Berkshire, England, for an upcoming piece.  When I say I am obsessed with Downton Abbey, it is an understatement.  In the show, Highclere stands in for Downton Abbey.  But I was most excited to know more about the family behind the castle and it didn't disappoint. Lady Carnarvon was a dream to interview-charming and hilarious.

With Lady CarnarvonWhen I visited Highclere, it was closed to the public, so I got to wander around with not a soul in sight.  Just the breeze, warm spring air, and birds chirping.  It could have been 1912 when the Downton story began, or for that matter 1712.  What surprised me the most was how lived in and comfortable the castle was - a real family lives here and Lady C has done an amazing job of restoring the property.

Before my visit, I had lunch at the Yew Tree Inn, a small inn and restaurant right near Highclere.  It's where Downton Abbey cast members stay during filming and a favorite of the Middleton family.  Their home in Bucklebury is just 30 minutes from Highclere.

The Yew Tree Inn

The famous main doors...hello Bates! Main driveway leading to doorsCenter of Highclere's InteriorLibraryDoor to the libraryHallway leading to main doors

Where Maggie Smith talks on the telephone!