Author Archives: courtneyberg

Travel Tuesday:Beaches Edition

Where in the world has Media Works been?

It’s officially our first Travel Tuesday post of the summer, so we’re starting summer 2012 off right with our favorite beaches post! Don’t forget sunscreen this summer before you head to the sun & sand!

Long Beach, NY

If you’re looking for a beach getaway in the North East, summer or winter, Long Beach is the town for you! This beach town is easily accessible from NYC by taking the Long Island Rail Road to the Long Beach station. Once you arrive, walk 4 blocks to the beach and you’ll be in your happy place!

If you’re looking to stay in Long Beach for more than the day (which we suggest), make a reservation at the Allegria Hotel. This modern hotel is a new addition to Long Beach and has an outrageous roof top pool that overlooks the ocean.

After enjoying a nice day on the beach, take a cab to the West End, where you can find great restaurants, vibrant bar scenes and great people watching!

Some of our favorite restaurants are:

  • Paninis and Bikinis – You can stop here for a quick breakfast or lunch and scarf down a delicious sandwich.
  • The Beach House – This beachy bar is ideal for a happy hour after enjoying a long day on the beach. You can sit outside and enjoy live music. If you happen to be there on a night JAHSTIX is playing, you will not be disappointed from the reggae music scene!
  • Pop’s Seafood Shack – Pops makes you feel as if you’re on an exotic island with the private hut tables on the sand, live music and delicious seafood. This restaurant is located in Island Park, which is a quick drive from Long Beach.
  • Ralph’s – If you’re looking for a treat after breakfast, lunch or dinner, stop by Ralph’s for  the world’s best Italian Ices!

Katama Beach, Martha’s Vineyard

If you find yourself in Martha’s Vineyard, a visit to Katama (South) Beach is worth it.

The beach is a 3 mile stretch on the South Shore of the island, along the Atlantic Ocean. Located about 3-4 miles from the beautiful town of Edgartown, it is an easy bike ride from the town. The beach is pristine but has no amenities; no food vendors or shops or stands to rent chairs so you do have to bring your own ‘supplies’ to get you through the day.

If you want to venture off the beach, there is a nearby airport for small private planes only and they have a small diner where you can get sandwiches or breakfast.

A great resort that’s within walking distance of Katama Beach is the Winnetu Resort. There are various types of rooms and cottages to accommodate everyone, along with a pool, restaurants, tennis, organized activities, a fitness center, expansive grounds and a shuttle into Edgartown. It is pricey, but a relaxing place to stay.

After the beach, venture into Edgartown and see the Edgartown Lighthouse and the beautiful homes on the water. There are several restaurants; our favorite is Chesca’s. Sit on their porch in one of the rocking chairs and relax while you wait for your table. The waterfront homes are enviable and it is worth a stroll or bike ride around town just to see the beautiful homes.

Bethany Beach, DE

Bethany Beach is the perfect location for a family vacation. Situated halfway between the louder and usually more crowded areas of Ocean City, MD and Rehoboth Beach, DE, Bethany provides a quiet, small-town beach feeling without sacrificing great shopping and dining.

Staying at Sea Colony is like being on a cruise without the rocking. There are activities and exercise classes for those who are interested, or you can just relax on the beach.  In addition to Sea Colony, there are beautiful homes with less populated beaches.

Rehoboth is a 20 minute drive and has a wonderful selection of restaurants for either family or adult-only dining.  In addition, the boardwalk/ride scene in Rehoboth is less crazy than Ocean City’s.  Some of our favorite restaurants include La La Land and The Back Porch.

In addition, Rehoboth is known for having great outlet shopping and because it’s in Delaware and there is no sales tax!!

Outer Banks, NC
Written by Megan

Each year, we rent a huge beach house in the Outer Banks. We pack up our cars with lots of food, drinks and supplies and make the six hour drive to the North Carolina shores.  Over the years, this trek has become a tradition, where we’ve experienced adventure, fun, love, friendship, near-tragedy and a few minor brushes with the law over some contraband fireworks.

 There’s something about the peaceful beaches, the clear blue skies and sand dunes that seems to heal us. One year, we watched as three of our friends were pulled from a nasty riptide. We visited the OBX just weeks after our friend passed away in a sudden boating accident. On September 11th, 2001, we were just waking up to a sunny morning, and sat in front of the TV as the twin towers fell. We hunkered down in a hot tub after the power went out during Gustav, we were evacuated to Nags Head during Ophelia, and last year, we had to switch our plans to stay in Kitty Hawk once Irene literally washed away a portion of Hwy. 12.

Yet despite it all, we’re still planning to visit the Outer Banks again this year. To see what these beaches have to offer, here are a few suggestions:

  • Visit the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse: Admire the majesty of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse from the ground, or climb the 248 iron steps to the top and experience the Outer Banks from an aerial view.
  • Tour the Wright Brothers Memorial/Jockey’s Ridge State Park: Once you’ve been to the Wright Brothers Memorial to see the actual gliders the Wright Brothers flew, stand at the top of Jockey’s Ridge where their first flight took place. It’s amazing, and one of the largest “moving” sand dunes in the world.
  • Visit the Rodanthe Pier: The Rodanthe pier has been battered and beaten throughout the years, but recently went through some renovations. Fishermen catch blue fish, flounder and skate from the end, but you may be able to see skate, stingrays, blue-tipped sharks and even some sea turtles, which have a protected nesting area just down the beach.
  • Take the Ferry to Ocracoke Island: The only way to get onto Ocracoke Island is by ferry. Once you’re there, check out the quaint shops, the beautiful lighthouse, the wild ponies, and of course Blackbeard’s favorite spot: Teach’s Hole.
  • Learn to Kiteboard: Take a kiteboarding lesson and learn how to ride the waves on the ocean or the sound with a surfboard at your feet and a huge kite above you!
  • Visit the “Nights in Rodanthe” House:  Until 2010, you could walk the beach in Rodanthe and stand beside “Serendipity”, the house that was featured in the movie “Nights in Rodanthe.” Year after year, we’d watch as this house got closer and closer to falling into the ocean. Eventually, it was condemned, but the owners had the house moved farther down the beach. It is now at 23285 Beacon Rd in Rodanthe. Check it out!

 

Mantoloking, NJ
Written by Cheryl

One of our favorite beaches is Mantoloking, NJ.  Many of the townspeople have been coming to this beach for generations, and if you are looking for a laid-back family vacation, this a great place to visit during the summer months.  Many of the beaches are family-oriented, quiet and not very crowded.

I am lucky because my in-laws own a house there, which allows us to visit the beach often.  Through the summers, we have become friendly with other families who also vacation there.  One of the biggest celebrations the town has is for the 4th of July.  There is a small parade through town, which begins and ends at the Yacht Club.  There are old-time cars and fire engines, and all of the kids decorate their bikes and ride the parade route too.  After the parade, there are games for the kids, followed by food and drinks at the Yacht Club.  Everything is coordinated by the residents, and it is nice to see everyone working together to pull off such a fun event.

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Travel Tuesday: Peru

Where in the world has Media Works been?

Are you bored with your typical vacation? Want to take a step off the beaten path? March to a different drum? Then we suggest taking in the many wonders of Peru

Cuzco:

This is a town where wealthy tourists, traveling students and Peruvian peasants walk the same ancient streets. Plaza de Armas is the city square where the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, built in 1539, makes a perfect backdrop for the city’s daily festivals and parades, which take place almost daily.     

For a fabulous Peruvian dining experience, check out La Divina Comedia. Their ravioli is to die for! Or, you can walk on the wild side and order the roasted alpaca. You may even be treated to a performance by the wait-staff, an opera singer by trade, who belts out her number while you dine, making this a truly unforgettable place to eat.

Pisac & Scared Valley:

The Pisac ruins are at 10,000 feet above sea level and offer an amazing view of the Urubamba River and the Sacred Valley. You can take the day to cycle through the valley, on and off-road, or raft down Class III rapids.

Make sure to take your time walking through the Pisac market and bargain with the locals for hand crafted wares and fresh fruit.

Inca Trail

There are many ways to travel to Machu Picchu, however if you feel brave enough to hike the Inca Trail, we highly suggest it. The highest point of the Trail is at 14,000 feet, and the views of the sub-tropical forest and Andes mountain range are stunning. The ruins of Runcuracay and Sayacmarca can only be accessed on foot, and give you a glimpse of what is to come. When you reach the “Gate of the Sun” and look over Machu Picchu, you will know that the four-day trek is worth it.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, is perhaps the best known site in all of South America, the ancient city is perched atop a narrow mountain crest high above the Urubamba River. While in the Lost City, you can travel by beautiful stone roadways, climb ancient stairs and traverse mountain tunnels.  When staying in the town of Machu Picchu, we suggest Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. The hotel is nestled on a luscious twelve acres of orchid gardens and offers spa treatments, fine dining and picturesque bungalow rooms.

Machu Picchu is considered one of the “New Wonders of the World” and should be on everyone’s bucket list. Whether you want to hike, bike and swim or be wrapped in the arms of luxury, Peru has it all. Don’t be afraid – make the trip and enjoy the breathtaking scenery!

Travel Tuesday: Tropics

Where in the world has Media Works been?

This Travel Tuesday we’re taking you to the Tropics right before the hurricane season begins.  So sit back, relax, put on your sun screen and join us – the water’s beautiful!

Aruba:

If you enjoy lazy days on the beach, good food, picturesque scenery, and an all-around good time, you need to make a trip to Aruba! With a warm climate year-round and ocean front amenities, there is something for everyone on this island in the Southern Caribbean.

Below are a few of our favorite places to eat and things to do while frolicking around the island:
Where to Eat:

  • El Gaucho’s is a Argentinian Style steakhouse offering everything from Sirloin to bacon wrapped filets
  • Madame Janette’s is a must while you are in Aruba! Ranked in the top 5 best restaurants on the island by Trip Advisor, the Caribbean fare is as inviting as the romantic outdoor dining are

What to do:

  • Check out the colorful shops and restaurants on Main Street
  • Take a Catamaran Cruise out to sea and go snorkeling, parasailing, or scuba diving!

Bahamas:

If you’re looking for a semi-quick flight to an exotic island, the Bahamas is the place for you! Our favorite place to stay is at the luxurious Atlantis hotel. Whether you stay in one of the Royal Towers, or the brand new Cove and you’ll be sure to be relaxed.

For meals, eat breakfast at Mosaic and end your day with the spice-rubbed pork tenderloin at Bobby Flay’s restaurant, Mesa Grill.

If you’re up for an adventure, take a plunge through shark tanks on the Leap of Faith. If you want to relax, hop on a tube and enjoy the lazy river that takes you around the tropical landscape of the Atlantic!

Bermuda
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, this small island is well-known for its crystal blue waters, active reefs and British culture. The island itself is only covers 20.6 square miles, but there are many things to see and do.

Rent a Scooter: Bermuda’s roads are curvy and narrow, so the safest way to travel is by bus. However, if you decide to brave the roads and explore the island on your own, rent a scooter. Just remember to wear your helmet!

Sunbathe at Horseshoe Bay:  Horseshoe Bay is an amazing horseshoe-shaped alcove of water with pristine pink beaches. Sunbathe on the shore or explore the pools of water near the rocky shoreline, where you can find tropical fish swimming by. Or, follow one of the nearby hiking trails to see the island from a different perspective.

Tour the Capital City of Hamilton: Although Hamilton is known for its pastel-colored buildings, eclectic restaurants and shops, it is also the center of Bermuda’s economy. Front Street is where most of the high-end shops are located, but you may also see the Bank of Bermuda, one of the island’s two banks for which Bermuda shorts originated. During WWII when Bermuda experienced a clothing shortage, the banks had shorts made for their male employees.

Glass Bottom Boat Tour:
These tours allow you to see the underwater beauty of Bermuda. The island is surrounded by a natural coral reef, which is home to many species of fish and sea life. Also, there are tons of shipwrecks all around the island, from 18th and 19th century boats that ran aground in the shallow waters.

St. Thomas/Tortola:

If you’re looking for the ultimate Caribbean getaway, consider cruising your way through paradise aboard the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas. A seven day journey aboard what some call a moving city, this ship provides you with non-stop fun and breathtaking views and experiences.

 

On the fourth day, the ship docks in Port Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, a district of the US Virgin Islands, where local reptiles are there to greet you.

 

Swimming with dolphins is a common excursion for people visiting the Caribbean. A great place to do this is at the Tortola Dolphin Swim Adventure, in Tortola, a British Virgin Island. After a scenic boat ride and a trip through customs, you are just a short bus ride away from an afternoon of swimming with dolphins. Once you arrive, you are divided into small groups and introduced to a dolphin. Enjoy the sights and sounds as your dolphin high-fives, feeds and swims with you!

Back in St. Thomas, there are tons of local shops and bars to visit. At a local bar right in the port, you can try the Virgin Islands-Island Summer Ale, brewed by St. John Brewers. You can also find Virgin Island ales, here in the US between April and August.

Once back on board, the Oasis of the Seas will continue its journey stopping in St. Martin and then head back north to Florida, leaving you with lasting memories and a longing to relive the week all over again.

St. Barths

If you’re afraid of small planes, it might be difficult to access the island of St. Barths, but we promise you the flight is worth the visit! From the second you touch down, you’ll feel like you’re in paradise!

This quaint island is surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the French Caribbean and beautiful beaches. Our favorite beach is Governeur, where you’re sure to get a tan and spot a celebrity.

As if the view of the Eden Rock isn’t good enough, you can also find the world’s best lunch at The Sand Bar.

After you’re full from your delicious lunch, make sure to stop by Nikki Beach, where the music and drinks never stop.

Those of you who are looking for a delicious and not so rowdy dinner, L’esprit de Saline is the spot for you. This Mediterranean beach side restaurant is located by Saline beach, another one of our favorite beaches of the island. Make sure to try the Vietnamese-style crispy snapper.

If a day partying in St.Barths isn’t enough, make a reservation at Le Ti St. Barths, where you will enjoy a delicious meal, dance to great music and be a part of a cabaret show.

Travel Tuesday: Staycation’s

Where in the world has Media Works been?

Now that summer is officially here, there’s no better way to spend it than with a Staycation! Media Works is all about the local feel, so this Travel Tuesday, we decided to stick around the neighborhood.

Carroll County, MD

When taking a Staycation, Carroll County is just a short drive away. Two of our favorites take you back in time.

The Carroll County Farm Museum transports you to a mid-ninetieth century farming experience. The property offers tours to check out the Manor House, trails for hiking and the petting zoo is great for the little ones. There are festivals throughout the year, including the July 4th fireworks and the Maryland Wine Festival in September.

River Valley Ranch transports you back in time to the Midwest cowboys. The Ranch is a summer camp during the week for kids of all ages. However, on Saturdays they open up to the public for FREE rodeos! Watching the cowboys in action is a great way to spend a summer afternoon. Horseback and hay rides, swimming, a skate park and a down home chuck wagon dinner are all available for small fees.

A short drive north takes you to the country where you can relax for the day with your feet in the creek, hiking scenic trails or antiquing. You will be surprised what the small towns of Carroll County have to offer.

Deep Creek Lake, MD

One of our favorite weekends each summer takes us to Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County in Western Maryland.  Whether you’re staying in a beautiful lake house, or one of the local quaint cottages, you’re sure to have a relaxing time spent on the water. Fisherman, boaters and water-skiers alike enjoy the water from Spring until Fall. (You can even spot some ice fishermen in the Winter!)

The Wisp Ski Resort offers year-round activities as well. Ski the trails on the front and back side of the mountain when it’s snowing, or mountain bike and hike during the summer. At the base of the resort is the Wisp Resort Golf Course, a newly-routed 18-hole course. The resort even offers fly fishing classes, White Water Rafting and a Mountain Coaster!

For nature lovers, Swallow Falls State Park offers hiking and camping opportunities. This Park is bordered by the Youghiogheny River, and features a 53-foot waterfall at Muddy Creek Falls.

In September, tourists flock to the town for the Deep Creek Art and Wine Festival at the Garrett County Fairgrounds. The festival features artisans and craftsmen, as well as National distributors and Maryland wineries. You’re sure to find a favorite among the more than 200 wines offered for sampling!’

National Harbor, MD

The National Harbor is located just south of Washington, DC in Prince George’s County, MD.  The perfect Staycation for people of all ages, the Harbor offers quite a few hotel options but The Gaylord is one of the most luxurious!  One of the anchor hotels, the Gaylord is a vacation in itself!  You never have to leave the facility with its numerous restaurants, pools and spa. The Gaylord’s beautiful grounds overlook the Potomac . In addition to their annual ICE exhibit every winter, you must visit the wonderful restaurants at the Harbor.

A favorite restaurant is Rosa Mexicano, which overlooks the river.  Order the guacamole appetizer, which is made fresh at your table, and enjoy the views from the balcony of the restaurant.

The kids will LOVE playing on ‘the beach’ on The Awakening – a statue of a giant buried in the earth struggling to free himself from the sand.  Where else in the area can you climb on a giant’s face?!?!

Right across from the beach, be sure to stop at The Peep Store. Stock up on Mike and Ike’s and every flavor of Peep under the Sun. Then, pop into Ben and Jerry’s for an ice cream cone.

Should you decide to check out some other area attractions, be sure to see if a water taxi can take you to your destination.  Water taxi’s run just about every half hour and can take you to Mount Vernon or Alexandria – or just on a sightseeing tour of the area.

Ocean City, MD

Ocean City is home to many local attractions in the mid-Atlantic, including Thrasher’s boardwalk fries, Maryland crabs, saltwater taffy, Fishers Popcorn and Dumser’s ice cream.

Sites & Entertainment:

  • Be sure to check out the Famous Boardwalk at the inlet for some serious people watching, amusement rides, and Thrasher’s French Fries

  • Camp out  at Assateague Island and see the wild ponies
  • Ocean City is the White Marlin Capital of the World. Every year, the world’s best fishermen compete for huge cash prizes in the White Marlin Open that is held the first week in August

Dining & Night Life:

  • Seacrets – With 18 different bars this adult playground is considered the 15th top-grossing nightclubs in the US

  • Fager’s Island- Stop by Fager’s Island on Monday’s for their traditional deck party and watch the sun set as they play the 1812 Overture
  • Grove Market- Ocean City’s best kept secret! A little pricey but worth every penny! Everything is fresh and prepared in front of you by the owners. Make sure you make reservations because there are only 7 tables

Whether you’re trying to plan a family vacation, play golf with the guys, spend a day in the sun, or go on a deep sea fishing trip, Ocean City’s got it all! From Baltimore, you are only two and a half hours away from endless beach activities for all ages!

Travel Tuesday: West Coast

Where in the world has Media Works been?

Take your mind on a mini vacay this Tuesday – we’re heading west! So put your feet up, relax and go west, young man!

Denver, Co

The Mile High City is a great destination for one who loves the outdoors. Whether you’re enjoying the city or venturing out to the slopes, there’s something to do for everyone here.

Even if you’re not a music lover, you must check out Red Rocks Amphitheater. You can hike one of the many trails, or enjoy a concert in this beautiful outdoor venue.

For those who seek adventure – drive up the Mountains to Loveland’s Pass and ski/snowboard down the continental divide. Dress warm, as the elevation is at 11,990 feet.

If you simply want to enjoy the ski bum life of the west coast, take a quick road trip from Denver to Breckenridge or Vail, both have great slopes and ski towns!

Las Vegas, NV

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…but goes on the Media Works blog! “Sin City” offers a variety of shopping, dining and entertainment options that has made Vegas a destination for singles, young couples, families and Baby Boomers alike. See a show, hit the All You Can Eat buffets or spend a day at the spa before dancing the night away at one of Vegas’ hot clubs. Here are a few of our recommendations after you touch down and hit the Strip:

Dining

  • Stop for lunch at Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris Hotel and Casino.
  • Live and eat like Jimmy Buffet at Margaritaville in the Flamingo.
  • Make reservations for Spago in Caesars Palace and experience Wolfgang Puck’s vision.
  • Enjoy Asian cuisine at the Social House at Treasure Island.

Sights and Entertainment

  • Before there was Captain Jack Sparrow, there was the Pirate Show at Treasure Island.
  • At the Bellagio, visitors can enjoy the Blown Glass ceiling and seasoned garden, which changes monthly.
  • A true spectacle, the Cirque De Soleil Show at the Mirage is something to behold.
  • Enjoy “Jubilee” at Bally’s, and see what a true Vegas show girl looks like!
  • For a taste of the Old Las Vegas experience, take a cab to Fremont Street and enjoy the Light Show. (And yes, the giant cowboy is watching you!)
  • Scream at the top of the New York, New York roller coaster or take in the whole city when you take the Stratosphere Tower up to 1,815 feet.
  • Take it slow – Enjoy a drink on the Lazy River at Mandalay Bay or take a Gondola ride at the Venetian.

Napa, CA

When you think of Napa Valley you envision world famous wineries, beautiful rolling hills and renowned restaurants.  The region is a premier travel destination whether you are interested in wine tasting, a day (or week) of pampering or just enjoying a weekend at a quaint bed & breakfast.

Below are a few great local to check out while visiting wine country:

If you are a foodie, The French Laundry must be on your list of restaurants to try and visit – though reservations are hard to come by! Another must try is the famous breakfast English Muffin at The Model Bakery.

If you’re looking for a luxury hotel with beautiful views, The Silverado Resort & Spa is the place to stay! This is also a beautiful location for a Napa wedding!

Schedule a tasting at one of the top wineries – the Rubicon Winery formerly owned by Francis Ford-Coppola is a beautiful location. Or, if you are a fan of the bubbly, visiting Domaine Chandon for a tour and lunch is a must.

 

San Francisco, CA

From the famous Golden Gate Bridge to the world’s “crookedest” street, there’s something for everyone in this unique city. When in San Fran, make sure to ride one of the cable cars, and take a tour of Alcatraz prison. If you’re in for a scare, take a night tour and learn about the island’s history and inmates.

One must eat is Ella’s, a brunch spot located on top of one of the highest points in the city. The menu is constantly changing and they feature one recipe a month on their website. This month’s recipe is Chicken Hash, and it was quite possibly the best brunch one Media Workser has ever had!

Berkley, located in the East Bay of San Fran is a favorite spot.  Whether you are walking around campus or strolling on Telegraph Ave, there’s a vibrancy to the town that gets under your skin. Berkley is easily accessible on the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).

Phoenix, AZ

A few of us at Media Works visit this city 4+ times per year, and brave the heat, as one of the largest automotive groups we work with is located here. Despite the “dry heat” that the West Coasters love, us East Coaster’s say HOT IS HOT!  Although, we do love visiting during the winter months to escape the east coast chill.

When we’re not working, we love the checking out all the newest spots in this great city. Some of our favorites are:

Luci’s Healthy Marketplace – make sure to try the Green Tea smoothie

North – a fresh and modern Italian restaurant

Tuck Shop – this delicious neighborhood restaurant will make you feel like you’re eating in your mother’s kitchen, but better!

Travel Tuesday: The South

Where in the world has Media Works been?

Although most Northerners consider Maryland the south, we disagree!  We’re taking you to the real south this week.  This Travel Tuesday, you’ll be introduced to some of the hottest spots in the South, no pun intended!

Charlotte, NC

The Queen City as she is fondly referred, Charlotte, was founded in 1769. Today it’s now the nation’s second leading financial center and most commonly known for its NASCAR roots. There are so many things for families to do. The best part is you can enjoy the ease of its Southern charm while having the benefits of a well-cultured city.

Places to Visit:

  • NASCAR Hall Of Fame- If you’re a sports fan like some of us, Charlotte has many attractions in store for you. NASCAR fans often come down to visit the best known attraction, the infamous Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord. Charlotte also prides itself as the home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame http://www.nascarhall.com/, a new facility for race fans to visit Uptown.

  • U.S. National Whitewater Center- If racing is not your style, check out the rapids at the U.S. National Whitewater Center http://usnwc.org/, where you can not only watch the Olympic trials this summer but enjoy the thrills and adventures of rock climbing, zip lines, and mountain biking. It’s also a great place to just grab bite to eat and a micro-brew at the restaurant that overlooks the river – River’s Edge Bar & Grill. The food is wonderful!

Places to Eat:

  • For an upscale dining experience and high-end shopping, check out the Southpark area!  Be sure to visit Cowfish Sushi and Burger Bar  where you can try BBQ sushi?! http://thecowfish.com/

Dallas, TX

Of all the destinations we visit every year, Dallas has long been our second home. With one of our clients located in the city, we find ourselves here quite often. Lucky for us, Dallas has so much to offer that we still haven’t gotten tired of the scene. While the attractions are as hot as the summer heat, it can be hard to navigate all the city has to offer. Lucky for you we’ve compiled a list of places to visit and restaurants to try. Who knows, the next time your down there you may run into one of us!

Places to Visit:

  • Dallas Cowboys Stadium- Whether you’re a Dallas Cowboys fan, or simply a fan of the game, every visitor to Dallas must see the brand new stadium. Built in 2009 the stadium seats 80,000 people, making it the third largest stadium in the NFL by seating capacity. All throughout the stadium there are shops, bars, and restaurants for you to enjoy during one of the many events that take place here throughout the year.

Places to Eat:

  • Kenny’s Woodfire Grill- If you find yourself in the mood for some delicious American cuisine, head on down to Kenny’s Woodfire Grill in Addison http://kennyswoodfiredgrill.com/. Kenny’s is a local hangout with a huge bar. They even have Grey Goose™ martinis poured directly from their signature frozen tap system!
  • Pappas Steakhouse- Ask yourself, when’s the last time you enjoyed a peppercorn encrusted steak? Well, lucky for you we have the best restaurant in Dallas to hook you up! Pappas Bros. is an old-fashioned steakhouse with an exquisite menu. The restaurant boasts 5 private dining rooms with over 2,300 types of wine to complement your meal. Be sure to visit their website for more information! http://pappasbros.com/pappas-bros-story/

 

Charleston, SC– where history meets beauty and fun

Famous for its historical sites dating back from the 1700’s (plantations and civil war homes), beautiful parks (Battery Park), gorgeous beaches, famous golf courses (Kiawah) and resorts, Charleston offers something for everyone.  The old city market which is the oldest market in the country dates back to 1804 where you can buy authentic low country souvenirs to the horse and buggy tours you take around the gorgeous city.  There is a story to be told about most buildings in the city.  King Street is the famous street with all the great shops from antique furniture, lighting stores to funky clothing stores. Here is a list of some of the more popular restaurants on our list:

Naples, FL

Naples is a beautiful city on the gulf side of Florida.  The city offers so much to do.  There is shopping on 5th Avenue, a street lined with boutiques and outdoor seating restaurants, as well as the more eclectic Tin City, which is on the docks and has small local retail outlets and restaurants with bay-side dining.  The Naples pier provides a look at beautiful sunsets and dolphins swimming underneath the pier.  There are bikes to rent, fishing excursions to embark upon, and beaches along the gulf coast in which to enjoy the aquamarine shade of the water.

There are so many restaurants to choose, but Randy’s and Pinchers are a must. I think the best dining choice is the local seafood, of which grouper is a favorite.  If you are really adventurous, rent a car and drive down route 41 to Marco Island and then to the Everglades.  If road trips aren’t your thing, take a walk on the “boardwalk” and see real alligators. The gators definitely look fake, but beware – they’re real and very dangerous!

New Orleans, LA

New Orleans has to be one of the world’s most fascinating cities with historical influences from Europe, the Caribbean, Africa and more.  The city is known for its culture, food & music.  Here are a few of our favorite places to eat, drink & be merry in the Big Easy!

Places to Visit:

Day Trips

Oak Alley Plantation – numerous movies were filmed at this particular plantation

Audubon Zoo – bears bathing in bath tubs!

Hop on a famous Streetcar for a ride up to the beautiful Garden District

Nightlife:

  • Preservation Hall – jazz music begins at 8pm and the line usually forms 30 minutes before the show.  Be warned – no climate control in this small historic venue.
  • Funky Pirate Blues Bar – Big Al Carson & the Blues Masters are a hit
  • Check out Pat O’Briens for a famous Hurricane drink!

Orlando, FL

Orlando is a popular destination for many and Media Works is no exception. In the past year we have had four MW families head down south to visit the most magical place on earth. Orlando has something for all ages; it truly is the playground for the young and the young at heart. Below are some of the must see attractions in the Orlando area.

Places to Visit:

  • Walt Disney World– Breakfast in Cinderella’s Castle – not only do you get to dine with your favorite ladies, breakfast is all you can eat and it is scrumptious. Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios is a nightly show that should not be missed; package it with dinner from Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano for a fun filled evening.

  • Need options for just adults? Check out Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival that runs October and November every year. Or try dinner on top of the Contemporary at California Grill overlooking the Magic Kingdom.
  • Universal Studios– Walking through the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and sipping on a Butterbeer is a special treat that should not be missed.

  • If you are going during peak travel season invest in the VIP Access to shorten wait times.
  • Orlando Hidden Gems- Harry P. Leu Gardens is a 50-acre botanical garden that is bursting with color. Tours, concerts and a simple stroll through the lawns are a great way to relax. Wekiwa Springs State Park is a 7,000 acre state park that is made up of fresh water springs that stay a comfortable 72 degrees all year long. Hiking, fishing and wildlife watching are great things to do here. Dexter’s of Thornton Park is known for their brunch. Nurse a hangover with their award winning Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas and fill up on their omelets or blueberry and cream cheese filled French Toast.

There are is so much do to in Orlando that this list hardly scratches the surface, but next time you are in this vacation haven make sure you check out a couple of our must do’s.

Miami, FL

Will Smith said it best, “Party in the city where the heat is on.” Miami is known for beautiful weather, beaches, fabulous food, gorgeous hotels, trendy shopping, great nightlife and much, much more! The options in Miami are endless; You can spend your day people watching on the beach, or strolling around Lincoln Road where you can find outdoor restaurants and great shops. Another way to spend your day is walking along Ocean Dr., where there’s a beautiful beach, hotels like the Delano, Shore Club and The Setai! Miami offers every type of food you can imagine, but our 3 must eats are:

Places to Eat:

  • Prime 112 – one of the hottest restaurants in South Beach where you can most always spot an athlete or star! It’s hard to get in here, but is most definitely worth the wait! If you can’t get into Prime 112, check out Prime Italian across the street, which is its sister restaurant. Prime Italian is just as delicious, but doesn’t have quite the scene.

  • Zuma  – This Japanese restaurant located in Downtown Miami is worth visiting for the experience, and food. Everything on the menu is delicious, you will not be disappointed!
  • Juvia – This brand new restaurant offers you a panoramic view of Miami, and is located on top of the famous garage on Lincoln and Alton.  What could be better than great food, with an even better view?

Travel Tuesday: Europe

Where in the world has Media Works been?

This week, we are taking you on quite the flight to Europe! We will show you how to discover Europe through the life of a Media Works’er. In this post, you’ll find out more about some of our favorite cities from across the pond. You’ll also see some gorgeous views, ancient architecture and delicious food!

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam may be known for its coffee shops but one thing many people don’t know about the city is that it is surrounded by canals introducing tourists to the most stunning views. Going on a canal tour is a must do as they not only expose visitors to a relaxing and peaceful experience but they are also educational as the conductor shares vast amounts of interesting facts about the city. In terms of food it can be considered sinful to leave Amsterdam without at least trying croquettes, the Dutch do them the best. In restaurants bitterballs are basically the same in a better appetizer form. One place in which all tourists must visit is the Albert Cup Market. You can find amazing cheese, funny (and delicious) chocolates, shoes, clothes, souvenirs, and freshly made stroop waffles, which is our favorite Dutch food. When it comes to transportation throughout the city we recommend that you rent a bike! It is cheaper, easier, and more fun than the public transportation.

Barcelona, Spain

This is one of our favorite cities in Europe, hands down. Barcelona is known for its amazing architecture, which can be attributed to Gaudi, so make sure to visit Sagrada Familia and Park Guell.

One thing Barcelona is not renowned for is the food , but if you make it there you must eat at Cerveceria Catalana and Fonda Gaig, and be sure to walk through St Josep Boqueria.  A great way to see this beautiful city is on a segway tour!

Segwaying around Barcelona

Venice, Italy

Some say that you should go to Venice because it may be under water in the future. We say, go to Venice because it’s simply beautiful! Venice is a city to visit without an itinerary. Take time to get lost in the winding walkways and waterways.

Things To See in Venice:

  • St. Mark’s Square: The square consists of Doges Place, the Basilica, the clock tower, as well as the statue Constantinople stole back from Napoleon.

  • Rialto Bridge: You may have to fight through the crowd, but it’s a great place for a photo op!

 Places to Eat in Venice:

  • Rosticceria Gislon: A local favorite, this restaurant offers a wide range of extremely fresh seafood, pasta, and typical Venetian meals. (We suggest their Grilled Sepia – Cuttlefish served with a polenta cake.)

  • Bistrot de Venise: A Michelin Star winner over the past three years and a staff to cater to your every need.

Rome, Italy

The capital of Italy, home to the Roman Empire and #11 most visited country in the World. The rich history and culture of Rome makes this city a great vacation destination!

Things to See in Rome:

  • The Colosseum: The pictures don’t do it justice, but the Colosseum is a magnificent structure where Gladiators battled. Take guided tours of one of the wonders of the world, and be sure to head on over to the Ancient Ruins afterwards to see some historic artifacts.

Places to Eat in Rome:

  • Bonci Pizza: Recommendation courtesy of Anthony Bourdain – This pizzeria is located behind the Vatican, and serves some delicious and unique slices with creative toppings, like butternut squash, duck, black cherries, or simply a classic caprese.
  • La Scala: Located in the Trastevere neighborhood, this Italian Trattoria serves simple homemade pasta with delicious sauces- Be sure to take a stroll through the Trastevere streets and grab some gelato!

Florence, Italy

Located just 144 miles away from the Capital of Italy, Florence is the main city of the Tuscan Region. With shops galore and restaurants that serve traditional Tuscan cuisine, this quaint city offers many things to do and see.

Things To See in Florence:

  • Statue of David: Created in 1504 by Michelangelo, this statue is still one of the most well-known statues ever created.

  • The Duomo: The Cathedral Church in Florence, the largest dome in the world, built with brick and mortar.
  • Tuscan Wineries: Take a tour of Tuscany and visit a local Winery. This is a truly rewarding experience for any traveler, not just those who love wine!

(The above photo was taken by Monica, and not Photoshopped)

Places To Eat in Florence:

  • Ponte Vecchio Bridge: Grab a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, and some good cheese and head over to the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, where you can sit and “people watch.”
  • Antico Noe – Although this hole in the wall is difficult to find, it’s worth using the ancient map to find it. You will have to be patient to eat the best Panini of your life, but the trek and wait are well worth it!
  • Make sure to stop in one of the many Gelaterias for a delicious frozen treat.

Paris, France

Paris in May sounds like a dream! One of the most highly anticipated stops in Paris is at The Louvre. Although a few of us were somewhat underwhelmed by the Mona Lisa, which is located on a huge wall on the first floor of the Denon Wing, and she’s tiny!

     

Another wonderful thing to do while in Paris is wake up early on a Sunday morning and check out the Farmer’s markets. They are everywhere, and manage to involve all the senses – taste, touch, sight, sound & smell!!

The Eiffel Tower lived up to its billing, although it’s somewhat disappointing that you can’t see the view of the Eiffel Tower from the Eiffel Tower! Make a reservation at Georges, on the Centre Pompidou and enjoy a delicious meal, in an even better ambiance, with the most spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower!

                         

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The monuments, architecture and views make Prague a can’t-miss city when visiting Europe!

When in Prague, do as the Czechs do:

  • Walk across the Charles Bridge
  • Visit Old Town Square – Go to the top of the clocktower for gorgeous views of the ancient city

  • Paddleboat on the Vlatava river
  • Visit the John Lennon wall

  • Eat at U dvou velbloudu – located in the center of Prague where you can find delicious Czech cuisine with a homey feel.
  • Enjoy a beer (or a few) at the Beer Factory

Lausanne, Switzerland

Lausanne is the second-largest city on Lake Geneva, and is known as the Olympic Capital. With breath taking views of the lake and France across the way, this is a must-see city. Transportation is great here, as the city is mostly car-free and has a great metro and bus system to get you anywhere. Check out the Musee Olympique (Olympic Museum) that is set in a beautiful park right on Lake Geneva. Be sure to also visit Musee de l’Art Brut (“Outsider Art”) which features exhibitions from prisoners and asylum patients, and other one-off individuals.

   

Lucerne, Switzerland

Lucerne, the gateway to central Switzerland sites on Lake Lucerne and surrounded by mountains. The center of the city is connected by the Chapel Bridge, the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe built in the 13th century.

 

Use the bridge to get from one side of the city to the other. You may even catch people tying their surfboards to the bridge, and “surfing.” Also check out Chateau Gutsch. Climb up the 296 steps, where you certainly deserve a drink at the top, and check out the gorgeous views of the city and the mountains.

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal is a great city to explore. It is not “tourist-y”, so you get the chance to blend in with the locals. First, visit the neighborhood of Belem which sits on the water, and go to Pasteis de Belem and eat some of the best pastries you’ve ever had. For dinner, head to Camponesa de Santa Catarina. This small restaurant is a little hard to find, but is worth it. Try anything on the menu, and if the owner is there he will become your new best friend. The beaches around Lisbon are great – hop on the train and stop at any of the beaches. Be warned though, the water is freezing!