Taconic Hotel in Manchester, Vermont

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Manchester, Vermont might be my new favorite weekend getaway destination (aside from Cape Cod, of course, from where I write this post)! It was my goal of the season to make it to Hildene to see the peonies, so when researching places to stay in the area, I found a brand new Kimpton hotel, that just opened in December. I had stayed at a few Kimpton hotels before – like the Sir Francis Drake in San Francisco – and have always had a great experience. I knew Taconic would be a good choice.

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Immediately upon arrival, I knew I had come to the right place. The entire vibe of the hotel was so bright and airy. Everything smelled so clean and fresh – not to mention the peony bouquets that adorned many of the desks and tables in the lobby. Walking down the light and cheery hallways to our room, I knew already that I would be comfortable that night. Sometimes I don’t always sleep well in hotels, especially if it is not up to the cleanliness standard that I prefer, but right away, I knew I wouldn’t have a problem at Taconic. The smell of new wood, like the subtle smell of a brand new house, is so very invigorating. The sheets were clean and fresh and the bathrooms were pristine – the trendy subway tile was sparkling white!

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We were blessed with a sunny and warm weekend, which was perfect for walking around beautiful Manchester. We found lots of cute places to eat, but I actually found the most enjoyable spot was right on the hotel patio. The shaded wrap around porch provided cover from the harsh sun, but still allowed us to soak up the warm weather all the same. The Copper Grouse, the hotel restaurant, was our first stop for lunch. I’ll be sharing more about our delicious dinner right here tomorrow (stay tuned…!), but here is a sneak preview of our colorful lunch. You may have already seen it on  Instagram, but I have to say that the beet humus and the watermelon gazpacho were definitely my favorites.

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You know, I used to be a firm believer that a beach vacation was the only vacation. I never really understood why anyone would choose to take a summer getaway to the mountains over the soft sand and saltwater of the ocean, but now I totally get it. I could have sat in one of these rockers with a good book in hand enjoying the views and the fresh mountain air all weekend long!

Do you prefer a summer getaway to the beach or to the mountains? I’d love to know in the comment section below!
xo -L

Thank you to Taconic for a wonderful weekend!

Peonies at Hildene: The Lincoln Family Home

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Warning: there are lots of photos in this post! Last weekend, we visited Manchester, Vermont. Not only was the entire weekend beyond beautiful, but the peonies were also in full bloom – dinner plate peonies nonetheless, as we heard someone refer to them. I couldn’t stop snapping photos, and I couldn’t choose just a few for this post either! Now that the summer is here, I’ve made it a goal of mine to do as many weekend getaways as my schedule will allow throughout the season. Every time I think about planning a trip, I look at destinations that usually aren’t local, but I shouldn’t be overlooking all of the amazing places we have within just a few hours’ drive right here in New England.

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Peony season in Vermont – oh my goodness! I had heard good things, but boy was it beyond beautiful. I knew I had come to the right place when there were fresh peony bouquets all around our hotel, which was brand new, and completely amazing (more on that later…)!

Hildene, the home of Robert Todd Lincoln (Abraham Lincoln’s only son to survive into adulthood), had been on my list of places to visit for quite some time. One of the most interesting things about the estate is the tiny plot of land that represents the square footage of the log cabin in which Abraham Lincoln was born. That, in stark contrast to the beautiful mansion on these sprawling grounds that his son developed, is quite mind boggling and a true testament to an American dream come true in just one generation.

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When you first pull in the mile long driveway, you start to get a feel for just how expansive the grounds are. There is even a visitor center where two videos explaining the history of the estate play on a loop. These are definitely a must-watch because they provide a lot of context for when you actually enter the house. Now the house…this may sound silly, but I could actually live there. It is furnished just the way the Lincolns would have had it, not only was it so my style – light and bright, but it also had a nice modern vibe. The marble that Vermont is so known for furnished the bathroom counters – I think these 1800s bathrooms were much nice than some of my tiny Boston apartment bathrooms!

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Can you believe how idyllic these rolling green hills are?! It seems like something from a postcard! There was quite a bit of prep going on for a wedding later in the evening of the day we visited, and we had to really promise ourselves we wouldn’t crash it later. It certainly looked like a picturesque event.

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If you do decide to visit Manchester, VT (and I’ll be talking about some of the best places to stay and eat soon), make sure to spend at least a few hours at Hildene. Here are some tips to get the most of the day:

Read up beforehand! Take a look at this article to get a gist of who Robert Todd Lincoln was. As a clue, it seems like he had a very different life from his father!

Bring your camera: photos are allowed indoors and outdoors, and you won’t want to miss a moment!

Visitor center: Be sure to watch the two videos offered. These play on a loop in the entry area and provide a lot of context to the whole estate.

Main House: The staff will play the organ for you before you wander around for a self-guided tour. There are so many interesting things to see and to read about inside. Make sure you get a good look out the second floor window of the formal garden – that is the best view, and where the photo directly above was take.

Formal Garden: Just outside the main house, there are beautifully manicured grounds and flowers. I would have loved to sit out on the back porch and enjoy a good book. There are also plenty of shady trees that would provide the perfect refuge for a picnic.

Kitchen and Cutting Gardens: Here’s where to find plenty more of those dinner plate peonies.

1903 Pullman Car Exhibit: This is one of the coolest parts of the entire estate. You can actually board the luxurious train that was build to transport the upper class all over the country.

Goat Farm: Last weekend, the baby goats (called kids) were just three weeks old! They were too cute and it was adorable to watch them with their moms. We also learned how the farm produces goat cheese right there on site and how it is done in a sustainable fashion. As another plus, this is one of the cleanest farms I have ever seen – quite impressive!

You can be sure that I will be visiting Hildene once again sometime in the future!

Have you ever visited Hildene? What are some of your favorite road trip destinations? Let me know in the comments below!
xo -L

Everyday Tote Organization

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GIVEEXTRAGETEXTRA #Walgreens #CollectiveBias

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Packing up my tote bag each morning often sets the tone for the day, especially since forgetting something important can sometimes throw me off. I’ll never be caught without my most necessary essentials, but sometimes between switching from my work tote to a smaller cross-body bag, I might miss something! No matter what, I will always have my wallet, cell phone, keys, chapstick and a pack of gum for fresh breath! Here’s my full list of what goes into my tote:

Wallet
Cell phone
Phone charger
Headphones
Sunglasses
Gum
Notebook
Day planner
Dental floss
Hand sanitizer
Blister balm
Chapstick/lipstick
Bobby pins/hair ties
Concealer
Nail polish
Minimergency kit
Laptop (usually)

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Working full time in addition to keeping up with The Lilac Press on the side usually means I’m pretty busy. I’m a frequent visitor of Walgreens (here’s a little secret: my dad actually calls my mom and I the drugstore beauty queens because we love picking up little cosmetics and other goodies there). My best kept secret is the new Extra® Gum 35-stick packages. Not only are they more than double than a regular pack of gum, but they also come in a durable hard plastic case. Things get tossed around and squished and crushed in my bag all the time, so this case is perfect for me.

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Weekdays can be jam packed, and there isn’t always time to brush my teeth after lunch, plus I’m often running after work to meet friends for dinner. There’s nothing better than a little freshening up, so on the go, the best way to do that is to just grab a stick of gum! I love the Extra® Gum Spearmint flavor, and the bigger package means I can share with co-workers and friends! If you pull out a pack of gum, you know people will be asking for some, so why not have enough to go around?!

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On weekends or evenings when I’m going for a smaller purse, I still need the basics. I definitely don’t pack in everything I normally would in my daytime tote, but I still want to have my wallet, cell phone, chapstick & lipstick, maybe some nail polish (just in case) and of course, a pack of Extra® Gum Polar Ice® flavor.

How do you stay organized on a day-to-day basis?
xo -L