Bella Vida by Letty

vacation

Having a Sandwich in Sandwich MA

One of the places I was curious to explore in Massachusetts is Cape Cod.  Shaped like an arm, Cape Cod is actually made of up of many quaint villages and towns.  During my research I discovered one little town in particular which peaked my curiosity on the Cape named Sandwich.  If you know me well, you know I could live off sandwiches.  I probably eat at least one a day.  So when I found out about this town named Sandwich it became my goal to eat a sandwich in Sandwich.

Sandwich MA

It was a gray rainy day when we landed at BOS sometime around noon but nothing was going to deter me from road tripping in Massachusetts.  After picking up my Chevy Tahoe we headed south toward Cape Cod taking I-93 South and MA-3 to the Mid Cape connector in Bourne.  Although it was raining all I could see was an abundance of lush green trees, bushes and flora enveloping the long stretches of concrete highway.  At times there were large rocks and boulders revealing its mountainous terrain.  It was really coming down hard by the time we reached the bridge entering Cape Cod which was covered in plastic as it was being repaired.

Thankfully by the time we reached Sandwich although the sky remained gray there was barely a sprinkle of rain in the oldest town on the Cape.  Sandwich is named for the town of Sandwich Kent in England.  Now you know what I’m thinking?  Yep new goal.

We parked at Sandwich Village which is the historical part of town.  Beautiful cottage and Victorian homes have been converted to hotels, restaurants and shops.  There are souvenir and antique shops displaying funky wares.   Sandwich is a charming town and very pretty.  Large houses with knotty pine paneling remind me of an old movie.  Victorian houses are the color of ice cream.  Large cottages abound with some of the loveliest manicured gardens I’ve ever seen blooming with color.

a sandwich in Sandwich MA

Every year the town celebrates SandwichFest, a street fair featuring the Best Sandwich in Sandwich competition.  Wanting to taste an award winning sandwich in Sandwich I headed to last year’s winner, Beth’s Bakery and Cafe.  The place looks like a converted cottage home with a welcoming front porch.  If not for the weather I would’ve enjoyed watching the street go by.  The interior is warm, cozy sweet smelling bakery.  Large enough for many tables the place was half full even on this midweek rainy day.  The display cabinet was packed full of yummy looking freshly baked deserts, cakes and pastries.

I tried their grilled cheese sandwich and the Vermouth made with turkey, bacon, sliced apple and cheddar.  Each came in a cute basket with Cape Cod chips and a pickle and were very good.  It’s the first time I had a slice of apple in my sandwich.  The sweetness of the green apple went perfectly with the bacon.  I also tried the award winning smoked salmon and pear on white and it was also very delicious.

a sandwich in Sandwich MA

Sandwich is such a cute town with many historic things to see.  Before we left we made a quick stop at Hoxie House which is believed to be one of the oldest houses on Cape Cod.  The brown saltbox house sits on a gorgeous bluff overlooking Shawme Pond.  It’s colonial style of architecture really stands out.  Take a tour to see what life was like for settlers of this area.

Sandwich MA

There’s plenty to do and see.  My time was limited but here’s a short list of other things to do:  Visit the other sandwich award winning restaurant, Cafe Chew.  Stop by the glass museum which is the industry that saved the town way back when.  Stroll the Heritage Gardens and Museum, Visit Dexter Grist Mill and take a walk down the boardwalk to see the marsh and beach area.

Have you eaten a sandwich in Sandwich, MA?

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Picnic at the Hollywood Broadwalk #DestinationSummer #Sponsored

Hollywood Broadwalk Florida

Hello readers, I have some exciting news to share with you.  Bella Vida by Letty is participating in Kohl’s road trip across America.  Every few days a new blogger from a different state shares their personal picks highlighting their favorite things at their locations and you can follow along on Pinterest.   I’ve been selected to represent the beautiful state of Florida for Kohls #DestinationSummer.  Woo to the hoo!!

There is so much to see and do in my grand state. Today I want to start by sharing one of my very favorite hometown hangouts, the Hollywood Broadwalk.  No that’s not a typo they city named the boardwalk The Hollywood Broadwalk.   Did you know there is a city in Florida named Hollywood?  Not very many people do.  It’s the complete opposite of the one out in California.  Located between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale this small beach town is very diverse receiving visitors from all over the world and is relaxed, laid back and family friendly.

Hollywood Broadwalk Collage

The Broadwalk stretches for about two and half miles.  On one side of the Broadwalk are seven miles of sand with the view of the gorgeous Atlantic ocean which changes from jade to turquoise depending on the light.  On the other are shops, cafes, ice cream shops, restaurants, hotels, inns, playgrounds, ball courts and even an interactive dolphin fountain for the kids to play.  Every weekend there is a fresh market at the south end of the Broadwalk where you can find organic produce and drink a refreshing smoothie made from locally grown fruits and vegetables.

See South Florida the way the locals do.  The Broadwalk is always bustling with skaters, joggers and bike riders.  There are at least two places I know of where you can rent wheels.  You can also rent jet skis.  In the evenings you can catch live music at the bandshell.

enjoy the sun

Shown in the photo: The Big One® Stripe Beach Towel, The Big One® Geo Dot Beach Towel, Croft & Barrow® Radial Tweed Floppy Hat, Apt. 9® Groovy Textured Round SunglassesPatriotic ”America” Decor

While on the sand you’ll see all types of boats out on the water.  On weekends you might see a group of twenty small sailboats bobbing along during sail school.  At night you’ll see large cruise ships and their twinkling lights as they head deep into the ocean.  The port of Ft. Lauderdale is only about eight miles away.  You can see what’s happening at the beach now via this live webcam or view a map to plan your next trip here

take your picnic to the sand

Shown in the photo: SONOMA outdoors™ 3-pc. Melamine Salad Bowl & Server Set, SONOMA outdoors™ Coastal Melamine Salad Plate, Bobby Flay™ Acrylic Wine Glass, SONOMA outdoors™ Trellis TableclothFood Network™ Stain-Resistant Microfiber Check Napkin, SONOMA life + style® 12 1/2-oz. Mason Jar Candle

You can tell by my posts and photos one of my favorite things to do is head to the beach.  I find it so relaxing and peaceful.  Sometimes I go by myself and run the Broadwalk but I also like to gather with friends and family there.  Sometimes it’s to celebrate an occasion and sometimes simply to spend quality time together and get in some fun.  One of our treasured gathering places is Hollywood beach.  We have grand cookouts with tons of food.  At the north end of the Hollywood Broadwalk, just off of Sheridan Street you will find plenty of parking, shade and picnic tables.  You can use the grills or bring your own.

I created a wishlist with my beach picnic essentials to help you with ideas to create your own beach picnic.

Beach Picnic Essentials

Shown in the photo: Picnic Time® Windsor Picnic Basket, Rachael Ray Expandable Potlucker, Picnic Time® Striped Patio Umbrella, Picnic Time Striped Blanket Tote, Zojirushi Ms. Bento Lunch Jar & Tote Set, SONOMA outdoors™ 8-pc. Wine & Plate Party Set, Picnic Time® Pranzo Insulated Lunch Cooler, Picnic Time® Beachcomber Beach Mat, Picnic Time Miami Dolphins Cart Cooler

Did you know there is a city named Hollywood in Florida?  Have you been?

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Exploring the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana

French Quarter Royal Street New Orleans Collage

When visiting New Orleans a trip to the French Quarter is an absolute must.  Stretching from the Mississippi River toward Esplande Avenue and Canal Street up to Rampart Street, the neighborhood is a feast for the eyes and bursting with things to do.  Precisely because there is so much to do and so many interesting facts to learn I recommend taking a tour from one of the locals.  Tours are numerous and are designed to entertain just about every taste.  I did the cemetery Voodoo tour of which a portion of the proceeds goes back into the community to assist in preservation efforts.  That tour was so fun I have to write up a separate post to tell you all about it.

French Quarter Streets Collage NOLA

Leaving our bed and breakfast in the Garden District we took a short ride down St. Charles Avenue to Canal Street in one of the city’s famous streetcars.  For a three dollar day pass you can hop on and off as much as you like.  They are a reliable source of transportation scheduled nine minutes apart.   It was a short walk to Cafe Beignet on Royal Street where we enjoyed a delicious breakfast of Cajun hash browns and coffee.   I love to eat and everyone I spoke with told me there was no bad food in NOLA.  They were not lying.  The people of New Orleans are super friendly and treated us well.  After breakfast we window shopped along the antique shop lined street and took in the architecture.

French Quarter architecture Collage NOLA

Founded in 1718 the French Quarter is New Orleans oldest neighborhood.   It was French Canadian, Sieur de Bienville, who came upon this crescent of the Mississippi River deemed safe from tidal surges and hurricanes.  Under his governorship New Orleans, which he named in honor of the Prince Regent of France, became the capital of French Louisiana and this its center.  Today the district is a National Historical Landmark containing numerous historical buildings.  Most of the surviving French Quarter architecture was built during the forty year of Spanish rule which we can see today expressed in colorful pastel walls and elaborately decorated ironwork balconies.  They stand today in part because the Spanish had stricter building codes and eliminated flammable materials like wood.

Jackson Square French Quarter New Orleans  Collage

Our trip coincided with the Red Dress Run, the biggest little red dress event in the world so everywhere we looked there were men and women in sexy red dresses.  The event is held the second Saturday of every August and is sponsored by the New Orleans Hash House Harriers, a social club of self proclaimed drinkers with running problems.  They spilled out of beautiful Louis Armstrong park and onto the streets of the French Quarter in a festive mood.  There was music and drinking going just as you would expect to happen after midnight at ten in the morning.  I must admit, their energy along with the very friendly people of NOLA had me in a such a great mood, the sweltering August heat had no chance of ruining my day.

After our Voodoo Cemetery tour we headed to Riverwalk in search of something cold to drink.  We ended up having a late lunch of scrumptious jambalaya partnered with a cold fruity drink called a Cherry Blossom at River’s Edge.  Following lunch we strolled past local artists displaying their latest works of art along the beautifully manicured landscaping of Jackson Square.  The main attraction is sculptor Clark Mills’s grand statue of Battle of New Orleans hero and U.S. President, Andrew Jackson.  The square is surrounded by historical landmarks like the old St. Louis Cathedral, the Louisiana State museum and the oldest apartment buildings in the United States.

corner french quarter

We then headed back to our quiet, clean and comfortable room in an elegant Greek Revival mansion for a long nap so we could party all night long on infamous Bourbon Street.  Do not miss visiting Bourbon Street, no matter how crowded and obnoxious, it was entertaining to say the least.  I couldn’t think of a better place for my first taste of absinthe than at the Old Absinthe House Bar.  Absinthe reminds me of the anise flavored Columbian drink, aguardiente.  I sipped it slowly so I was all good.  This bar is almost 200 years old and looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in at least 100 and the bathroom at least 300.  I guess the interesting characters that came in and out that night kind of made up for it.  People of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities having a great time together.

You know how I really like to dig in and explore the city.  I had to go back to the French Quarter one more time to visit more than the tourist scene on Bourbon Street.  I had to experience the local jazz music scene for myself.  On my last night we had a blast bar hopping on Frenchman Street.  None of the places had cover charges.  In between stops we ran into an open air art market to inspire my creative side. Every place I visited that night had live music and every single band was great.  Non stop dancing hula hoop girl can attest to that.  We hit up The Spotted Cat, Club Negril and Maison to name a few.  The atmosphere was festive and lots of people were dancing.

horse tie french quarter

I have wonderful memories of the French Quarter and I’m sure I’ll go back one day.

Have you been to the French Quarter?  What are your recommendations?

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“New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.”   Mark Twain

“I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln 
went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy 
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.”  Langston Hughes

“In the spring of 1988, I returned to New Orleans, and as soon as I smelled the air, I knew I was home. 
It was rich, almost sweet, like the scent of jasmine and roses around our old courtyard. 
I walked the streets, savoring that long lost perfume.”   Anne Rice

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