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Getaway: Bardessono Hotel

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In the summer months, it’s essential to plan day trips to get out of the San Francisco fog. That’s why I’m constantly looking for places to escape. Fortunately, there are amazing options to choose from that are in close proximity to home. This month I discovered the Bardessono Hotel in Yountville. I had heard fabulous things about the property from friends so when it came time to plan a day trip up to wine country for my Mom’s birthday it was a chance to try it out.


As you enter the property, you are instantly graced with stunning architecture, beautiful gardens, and the friendliest staff. We immediately felt the calm of the atmosphere provided by the quiet sound of fountains and the beauty of nature surrounding us.  Our morning was spent pampering ourselves in the top-rated spa where I lost myself in the smells of lavender and jasmine. It was followed by a delicious lunch at Lucy in the quiet gardens. I’ve already tried re-creating the carrot salad I had that was entirely made from their raised vegetable beds in the gardens within the property – I wanted to forage a basket of produce to bring home.


Next time I go back, I’ll definitely spend the night – you can actually have spa services in your room!


Photos by Caitlin Flemming

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Getaway: Istanbul

Istanbul | By Caitlin Flemming I’ve been dreaming about traveling to Istanbul for years. From the moment I stepped off of the airplane, I knew it would be a special trip. To begin with, Istanbul is situated between two continents – Europe and Asia. And in so many ways, it was a city that is the gate between East and West. On nearly every hill of the city (and there are a multitude of hills!), there sits a mosque. Five times a day, you hear the melody of the call to prayer. Yet at the same time, you see a modern and conservative population that seems comfortable with the differences between each other. Situated on the beautiful Bosphorus, you have constant views of the water that separates the different parts of the city.


Often when I travel, I try to rent an apartment. This was one of the best experiences to date. We stayed in a beautiful three-story townhouse. One of the great things about staying in a residential neighborhood is that you aren’t with tourists the entire time. We were about to go to the local markets to purchase fresh eggs, cheese, olives and fruit for breakfast. By the end of our stay the vendors recognized us and we felt like we were part of a community.


I think one of the reasons it has taken this long for me to write about my trip, is that it was such a profound experience. It has been difficult for me to express the affect it had on me. There were beautiful sites I will list below, but overall, it was the spirit of the city that I loved the most.


Istanbul | By Caitlin Flemming Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset


Other activities you should take the time to enjoy:


1. Sultanahmet. This is the area of old Istanbul and the place where the most well known attractions are located. Once the heart of the Ottoman Empire, is the Topkapi Palace. As a designer the tiles in the Harem of the palace were mind-blowingly beautiful. It’s worth purchasing the extra ticket to go into – it’s room after room of endless inspiration. Be sure to take the time for lunch at the restaurant inside of the palace. Close by is another Ottoman beauty, Sultanahmet Camii. Often referred to as the Blue Mosque in English, this mosque is known for its beautiful tiles and lofty domed ceilings. I found the small details most alluring – the marble wash-basins at the entrance had me entranced. Finally, Aya Sofia (the former church of Hagia Sophia) is the legacy of the Byzantine Empire.  Mosaics of incredible splendor covered much of the walls and ceilings.

 

Istanbul | By Caitlin Flemming Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Istanbul | By Caitlin Flemming Istanbul | By Caitlin Flemming


2. The Grand Bazaar. All of my guidebooks warned of aggressive vendors at the bazaar. I found it to be very tame in comparison to the markets of Morocco.  We found the vendors to be kind (many cups of tea!) and there was a plethora of incredible shops with fabrics from Uzbekistan, hamman bowls, towels, soap, tea pots…anything you can imagine existed at the bazaar.  We were fortunate to have someone come with us to help us navigate some of the better shops.


3. The Spice Bazaar. We definitely made this a priority and came home with spices, teas, and Turkish delight. One of my favorite spices that I’ve been using on everything is Sumac – it’s delicious on eggs, cauliflower, you name it!


Istanbul | By Caitlin Flemming


4. Cukurcuma. This was one of my favorite neighborhoods. Charm doesn’t begin to describe this lovely area. Known for its gathering of antique shops, hip cafes, and 19th century apartments, I felt I could have been in another world! A few favorites in this neighborhood were A la Turca, a coffee at Holy Coffee and I’m still dreaming about the dinner we had at Munferit.


5. Arasta Bazaar. This is where we found beautiful Turkish towels, rugs, and fabric. It’s a manageable size and on a smaller scale than the Grand Bazaar.


Istanbul | By Caitlin Flemming


6. Asia. One of my favorite days was spent on the Asian side of the city. There was far more green space, and what seemed like a slower pace of life. We were definitely on a mission to eat at one restaurant tons of friends recommended. After weaving through small market sidewalks we came across it and let me tell you, it was one of our best meals – go to Ciya Sofasi it’s a must!


7. Istanbul Modern. A relatively new museum of modern art, Istanbul Modern sits of the shore of the Bosphorus and has a light airy and very modern feel. Eat at the cafe – it has a remarkable view.

8. Hammam. Going to a hammam was pretty high on my list of things to do while in Istanbul. Multiple friends suggested Kilic Ali Pasa Hamam. If you want to enjoy some true r & r and pampering this is just the thing for you. I did it the morning before we left for Paris, which felt incredible after all of the walking we had done. The renovation they did on this space is visually stunning.


Istanbul | By Caitlin Flemming


9. Turkish Towels. To say I only bought a few would be a lie. I fell madly in love with all of the beautiful details each towel and hand towel had. From the tassel details, to the patterns, to the colors – it was love at first site. I now have them hanging in my bathroom and each morning they remind me of Istanbul.


10. Shops. While we went into dozens upon dozens of stores, here are a few of my favorites that I’ll definitely be going back to when I return. Sofa Art & Antiques – for beautiful antique treasures you really can’t find anywhere else. Jennifer House – for stunning Turkish towels. Yazzma – for custom pillows. You pick the fabric and size, then they make it within two hours. It’s amazing! Ottoamano – If you’re looking for luxurious scarves this is the place to go. Situated in a cable car in the middle of the Grand Bazaar you are surrounded by thousands of scarves. You’ll leave wanting more than one. Lastly, Tulu Textiles – this was a dream. It’s four floors of what feels like heaven. Elizabeth, the owner, has an incredible eye for design.


I’m already planning my next trip because I feel as though I barely made a dent in the what was discovered when I was there. I hope this has inspired you to plan a trip to Istanbul.


Photos by Caitlin Flemming

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Getaway: Paris

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When we first booked our trip to Istanbul we found out our layover to get there would have to be in Paris. Well, we couldn’t stop in Paris and not stay a few days. With that being said, we decided to extend our trip a few days and go to our favorite spots. As you drive into Paris from the airport I always get this overwhelming feeling of excitement. It’s a combination of many things – the architecture, the fashion, the cafes, the people watching and best of all, the steak frites. We may or may not have had them both nights we were there. You only live once, right?


Since this trip was incredibly quick (unlike our usual week we like to spend in Paris) we had a clear mission to hit up all of our favorite shops on Saturday since almost everything is closed on Sundays. It was a long list but with the energy and inspiration of Paris anything is possible. I wanted to share my top ten places to go.


1.) Merci – I’ve been in love with their linen bedding ever since a friend brought a pair of pillowcases back for me years ago. You must walk around this shop and then head to lunch at their restaurant – it’s one of the best lunches I’ve had in a long time. If you aren’t hungry then go sit in their library cafe for a tea.


2.) Mariage Freres - Since I’m a tea person I always love going to Mariage to find a new blend of tea to bring home. They have walls lined with beautiful teas that are divine.


3.) Musee de l’Orangerie – Probably my favorite museum to go to in Paris because it’s small and I love Monet.


4.) Saint Germain – This is the neighborhood we’ve stayed in for the past twelve years and every time we go back the neighborhood feels like home. I love the cafes, boutiques and hotels that line the streets of Saint Germain.


5.) Astier de Villatte - This store is pure heaven. Imagine rooms stacked with your favorite items – Astier is that for me. Although it’s a small shop, they have tons of items that you don’t find coming to the US. I love taking my time looking through each corner of this store.


6.) Le Marais - The Marais is the only neighborhood in Paris that is open on Sundays. Because of this we decided to spend Sunday wandering the streets getting lost in shops and restaurants. It was bustling with people and the neighborhood was filled with gems.


7.) Laduree - The perfect treat to bring home to family and friends. Don’t forget to get a few for yourself!


8.) L’Hotel – This was newly discovered this trip and I’ll definitely be going back. We popped in here after dinner for a drink. It was recommended by a friend. It was a great place to relax, enjoy a glass of wine and it was super mellow. Just watch out for the moving light bulbs on the sconces, they made us think we were on a ship.


9.) Le Relais de l’Entrecote – What can I say about this restaurant? I start craving the sauce they serve with the steak as soon as I land. The entire ambiance of the restaurant, the simplicity of only having to decide what to drink because they only serve one thing makes it such an experience like nothing we have here. I promise, it’s worth the wait in line!


10.) Tour Eiffel – Maybe it’s because I’m young at heart but every trip to Paris I make a trip to see the Eiffel Tower. It only has to be a few minutes but it makes my heart skip a beat when I see it. Remember Meg Ryan in French Kiss so excited to see it? That first time I see it peering through the buildings gives me goose bumps.


There are so many fabulous places to go in Paris but what I want you to remember while you are there, is to enjoy walking the streets. It’s the only way you can take in the beauty of the city.


Photos by Caitlin Flemming

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Getaway: Silvercar

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On our recent trip down south to Austin we discovered Silvercar. It’s an incredible new rental car service that actually made renting a car a pleasurable experience – take my word for it friends, it’s amazing! We landed from our flight with freezing temps in Austin (which is rare) and we were greeted by a message on our phones that a car was waiting for us outside. The car drove us to the rental lot, opened up ourSilvercar app, unlocked our Audi A4s and we were driving away in less than five minutes. Two minutes later Eric and I were singing along to our Pandora – a sign we were definitely on vacation.


We were so excited for our trip – we couldn’t wait for the delicious food, inspiring shops and spending time with family and friends. Some of our favorite restaurants we went to were Josephine House and Arro - both were designed beautifully. They both gave me inspiration for a couple projects I’m currently working on. We also drove around town to go to a few favorite shops Camille recommended – you’ll see more on those shops this week.


I have to say, our week with our Silvercar had us wanting an Audi for ourselves – especially with the built-in wifi and sunroof. At the end of the trip it was sad to say goodbye but luckily we travel to Austin regularly and we can’t wait to rent with them again. Silvercar isn’t available in every city, but it’s growing fast – if you’re traveling to Austin, Dallas, LA or SF I would highly recommend looking into Silvercar.


This post is brought to you by Silvercar. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting sponsored posts that keep Sacramento Street doors open.


Photos by Caitlin Flemming

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Getaway: Zero George Hotel in Charleston

 

Where do I even begin? Charleston had been on my list of places to visit for quite some time. When I received an invitation to go back to High Point Market in April I knew this was my chance to take a road trip down to South Carolina. My travel companion Grant and I rented a car and took to the southern highways – there may have been a stop at Bojangles and Sonic. As we drove into Charleston I knew we had made the right decision to take a few extra days off to enjoy this beautiful city.


First and foremost, we stayed at a small boutique hotel – the Zero George that was charming, beautifully decorated and the beds were so comfy I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. We made friends with other hotel guests over complimentary breakfast and wine in the evening – they were from San Francisco and live a few blocks from our neighborhood (small world!). The Zero George is located right in the middle of town so it’s easy to walk to everything – shops restaurants and Church Street.


Now, onto the food . . . I don’t even know where to begin! I left Charleston saying it’s some of the best food I’ve ever had. I know that’s a big statement since I live in SF. but it was delicious! I have to be honest, Grant and I had done tons of restaurant research before we left and booked dinners, but the first night in Charleston we went to Fig (amazing) and sat at the bar. We just so happened to sit next to two general managers of The Ordinary. After chatting them up about what to do in the city they gave us a detailed food plan for the rest of our trip. I think without that we wouldn’t have had the same experience. Here is where they suggested:


Two Boroughs Larder (for lunch)


- The Ordinary (for dinner) the oyster sliders are a MUST! This is hands down one of the best places I’ve eaten!


- Xiao Bao Biscuit (for lunch) order one of everything but definitely get the Okonomiyaki and Mapo Dofou.


- Fig (for dinner)


- The Peninsula Grill for the coconut cake.


This entire list has me hungry! I’m already planning another trip to Charleston for next April – I can’t wait to go back and discover more charming places to see and eat. I highly recommend adding this to your list of places to travel in the near future!


Photos by Caitlin Flemming

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