Lilly & Grant

Travel

Favorite 2017 Destinations & My Travel Wishlist

I want to begin this post by saying that I’m ridiculously grateful for the places I was fortunate enough to travel to this year, with the people I love. For a LONG time I wasn’t able to travel the way I wanted because of school, lack of time, etc. 2017 was finally the year that I knocked a few places off my bucket list and even visited a few spots closer to home that were equally if not more memorable than my trips abroad. I’m sharing some of my favorites with a few tips/suggestions if you plan on traveling to any of these destinations soon. Plus a lot of pictures I wasn’t able to share on the blog or on Instagram previously because there were just so many! 

My first trip out of the country was to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. I was so awestruck by the clear blue water. Ed laughed at me the entire time our plane passed over the various islands on the way there because my eyes were glued to the window. Riu Palace Punta Cana was amazing, I absolutely suggest it. Great service and wonderful people. Take the time to do a few excursions, they’re worth it! You can read my full review on the hotel and our time in Punta Cana here.

My best friend from college and I talked for years about visiting Peru. Rebecca and I were dying to experience Machu Picchu, so we checked it off our bucket list in May. I considered it my birthday trip, since we left only a few days after. We stayed in Cuzco and Ollantaytambo (my favorite!) en route to Machu Picchu. Peru is the perfect “adventure trip” that involves a lot of walking and exploring. Bring lots of bug spray, stay hydrated, and take someone with you that speaks the language. Maybe that’s an obvious one, but Rebecca speaks fluent Spanish and I would have been an absolute wreck without her. Something I suggest to everyone is staying at Mama Simona in Ollantaytambo if you’re on your way to Machu Picchu. You will NOT regret it. The views are absolutely incredible and it’s better than any hotel you’ll find. 

One of my favorite spots a little closer to home (literally a ten minute drive from our apartment) was The Duke Mansion in Charlotte, NC. I took Ed as a Valentine’s Day gift and it was absolutely incredible. The mansion is beautiful and it’s right in the middle of the city, so you’re close to amazing restaurants and shopping. We spent a lot of time sitting on our porch drinking wine. If you can, visit during the Spring. The gardens are in full bloom and it’s breathtaking. You can see more of our photos here

Last but not least, my favorite spot was The Ballastone Inn in Savannah, GA. Ed and I looked at each other in awe as we pulled up to the grand steps of this bed and breakfast. Southern hospitality is VERY real here. Incredible management, staff, and service. It was more than the B&B though, it was Savannah itself. We fell in love with the city. The Spanish moss, the food, the people… I could go on an on honestly (or you could read more here and here). I absolutely recommend staying at The Ballastone and visiting Savannah in general. 

Here’s what’s on the list (and wishlist) for this year. I’d love to know if any of you have been to these places, and if you have any travel tips!

Germany – Ed spent a great deal of his teenage life in Germany, so we’re going to visit where he lived and some of his favorite locations! I’m also convincing him to take me to Neuschwanstein Castle. 

Austria – Another to be checked off this year. Ever since I saw photos of Hallsatt, Austria, I knew I wanted to go. It looks like a snow globe in the winter. The perfect scenic trip! 

Iceland – This is definitely a top 5 for me. After hearing so many amazing things and meeting a couple in Peru that gushed over their trip there, I’m more than ready to go. Geothermal pools, here I come!

Big Sur – Somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit in the US, and California in general. I’ve never visited the west coast, and I think Big Sur would be an incredible start. 

Greece – A top 3 for me is Mykonos. I’ve wanted to go my entire life, simple as that. I’d love to check this off my bucket list!

France – Ed and I are visiting this year and I’m counting down the days. I’d love to hear any suggestions for those of you that have visited! 

Italy – My family is Italian, so it’s somewhere I’ve always been drawn to. Wine, pasta… need I say more?

Giraffe Manor – I know, this is oddly specific. But look it up. It. Is. Incredible. And. I. Must. Go. 

Turks and Caicos – This will be my second trip to the Caribbean. This is sort of embarrassing but since we decided to go, I will randomly Google image Turks and Caicos and scroll through pictures. The water is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. 

xo Jenna

Our First Airbnb Experience

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The gorgeous view from our cabin on Black Mountain!

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Our Airbnb had two sheep, two goats and a chicken! These two are Frodo and Samwise. How cute is that??

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Scarf | Cowl neck sweater | Jeans (my absolute favorite!) | Similar booties under $100 | Hat

Two weeks ago, Ed and I spent a weekend in the North Carolina mountains. We had this trip planned for months. Neither of us had ever seen the Blue Ridge Mountains during peak foliage so we stayed on Black Mountain to see it all! The weather was perfect and the trees were the most beautiful shades of red, yellow, and orange. If you’re planning a trip to North Carolina in the future, try to plan for the last two weeks in October. It’s always peak season for the leaves!

We rented a cozy little cabin through Airbnb, and as if it couldn’t be any cuter, it had farm animals! That was definitely my favorite part. Our hosts were very friendly and left us all sorts of local honeys, coffee and snacks for our stay. We had real fall weather up in the mountains so I packed my favorite scarf and sweater for a day of exploring the quaint downtown of Black Mountain. I will be sharing the rest of our weekend this week on the blog! 

xo Jenna

A Weekend At The Ballastone Inn

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Maxi dress | Similar shoes

As mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, my boyfriend Ed and I visited Savannah, Georgia for the first time together a few weeks ago. It’s somewhere both of us have desperately wanted to visit. We knew as we were planning our weekend getaway that we wanted to stay somewhere unique to Savannah. After talking to the owner of The Ballastone Inn, Jennifer Salandi, we knew we’d found it. 

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The Ballastone Inn is located in the Historic District of Savannah and has been a prominent mansion since the mid 19th century. You can really feel the rich history of the building as you walk up the staircase and enter the double doors into the elegantly adorned foyer. The Ballastone has been many things – A townhouse, a boarding house, and apartments. Now, it is one of the most awarded and loved southern bed and breakfasts by magazines, websites, and even Good Morning America! 

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I wish I could convey exactly how beautiful The Ballastone is. Everything about it – the antebellum-inspired furnishings, the kind and knowledgable staff, even the way the floors creak as you walk across the foyer and up the staircase to your suite all embody the many years The Ballastone has stood as a distinguished part of this southern city. It’s something you have to see and experience for yourself!

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Every night, we wrote down what we wanted from an assortment of options on the breakfast menu and what time we wanted it. In the morning, we walked across the foyer to the tea room where breakfast is served. Paired with coffee and tea served in the most beautiful china, it was the perfect way to prepare for a full day of exploring the city!

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My favorite part about The Ballastone Inn is the garden. With the lights strung around the trees and the gorgeous chandelier hanging from the branches above, it makes for the perfect spot to sip coffee in the morning and cocktails at night!

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We stayed in the Victoria Suite which was beautiful and unbelievably cozy all at once. If you ever want to feel like a REAL princess, spend a weekend in this room. I almost made Ed fan me with a giant leaf and feed me grapes by the end of the weekend. In all seriousness, staying in this room was a truly special experience. The most memorable part was sitting in those chairs during the afternoon and chatting with the staff, many long-time locals of the city. It was the perfect opportunity to ask for restaurant, drink, and shopping recommendations!

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Wicker cross-body

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The Ballastone Inn was the perfect way to spend the weekend. I say that because it’s more than a bed and breakfast, it’s an actual experience. The rooms, the staff, and the southern hospitality make it a truly special hotel. If you asked me what to do as a first time visitor in Savannah, Georgia, I’ll tell you to spend a weekend at The Ballastone Inn!

xo Jenna 

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