Sophie Packs-A-Bag & shares her trip to NYC, the Deep South, & Mexico City!
Posted on 19 May 2014
Jane Ramsay regular (and my good friend!), Sophie shares her recent travels to New York (Yes another one - we can't get enough of the place!), the deep south of the good ol' US of A, and Mexico City.
1) I went to America with my husband Mark. This was the our first trip sans enfant for nearly 20 years. We had 6 wonderful days in New York and then a week on a whistle stop tour through some of the Southern States passing through Charleston, The Smokey Mountains, Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. We topped it off with the most fabulous weekend in Mexico City staying with good friends who live there.
2) In NYC we stayed at The Crosby Street Hotel in Downtown Manhattan. I've long been a fan of UK interior designer Kit Kemp. The Crosby Street Hotel is her first hotel outside of London and it didn't disappoint. For our road trip through the southern states we stayed in many types of accommodation ranging from B & B's to Plantation Houses straight out of Gone With The Wind to Iconic hotels like The Peabody in Memphis.
3) There are so many wonderful places to eat in New York, but we particularly liked a little place we stumbled upon in The West Village called Whitehall. Cocktails and yummy food that didn't break the bank. We were very lucky to find the deli Dean & DeLuca around the corner from our hotel; a daily port of call for coffee and bagels. In Memphis we ate at a fabulous new concept restaurant called Flight. All the dishes are served in 1/3 portions so you get to taste a "flight' of three small dishes per course. With your 3 small dishes comes 3 small glasses of different wines. Could catch on.
4) In NYC we took the ferry across to Ellis Island to do a bit of detective work. I knew my grandfather had arrived from Italy at the immigration centre as a baby in 1903 along with his mother and siblings. I was able to find documents listing the ship they arrived on and the address they lived at in Little Italy. I tracked down the house they lived in; it's a Chinese funeral parlour now in what is a part of the current day China town
5) I absolutely loved New Orleans; the architecture, the food, the music. We did a bicycle tour of the city which was a brilliant way to see the sights in a relaxed, unhurried way and earn yourself a good dinner. And what a surprise to find in amongst the hustle of Mexico City lies Xochimilco; the Venice of Mexico. Take a ride on the 'trajineras', brilliantly coloured canal boats and listen to the Mariachi bands. It's a part of Mexico City I never knew existed. The pyramids, an hour outside the city are a must too. Built 3,000 years ago by persons unknown, mysteriously abandoned and eventually occupied by The Aztecs who were into human sacrifice in a big way. It is an extraordinary place.
6) I was packing for all seasons, sub zero temperatures in NYC to high 20's in Mexico. For the cold, JR's Lulu vest was a godsend. Fine enough to wear under the "Lucia" leather jacket, it kept me warm as toast. My "Daisy" Denim Shirt worked over time too. I wore it with either blue, black and white jeans. I took a quite a few silk tops, being light to pack and easy to wear. I particularly loved the "Olivia" butterfly top.
7) My biggest travel tip is to first pack your suitcase. Walk away. Come back a while later then take out a third. Mix, match and layer to allow for weather and occasions. If you've packed something 'just in case' - take it out! Minimise toiletries, they are so damn heavy. Also I've learnt that it's better to put heavy items like shoes in last. They act as a press and keep the clothes beneath from wriggling about and getting overly creased. I always put my shoes in shoe bags too.
8) On long haul flights I always take off any make up and slather on a heavy duty moisturiser. It doesn't look very glamorous but it stops your skin looking too dehydrated when you arrive at your destination. Drink lots of water throughout the flight, which will make you want to pee a lot but getting up to go to the toilet is good for getting the circulation going and avoiding DVT!
9) Trip advisor is very useful. I use it a lot to both read and write reviews.