Sunday, February 18, 2018

Neuschwanstein Travel Diary

Coat: Patagonia Sweater: J.Crew Pants: Boots: Sigerson Morrison (0ld, recently bought this similar style) Hat: Anthropologie Bag: J.Crew (updated versionGlasses: Karen Walker
Kiel: Sweater: Ralph Lauren (Vintage), Pants: Ralph Lauren, Shoes: Gucci, Hat: Kiel had hand-knit for him

I'm not much of a planner. I mostly create rough outlines and fill in the details as I go. For me life is so much more interesting that way. Trying to adhere to a schedule can be stressful, especially on vacation. I like to leave room for the unexpected. 

Kiel and I planned a 10 day trip to Switzerland, Germany, and Austria less than two weeks before we left. We always go on a getaway for  New Year's, and the Christmas season this year (2015) was especially hectic for our company. Our friends Kat and Jeremy joined us and we rented a car to drive to each destination on our itinerary -- Lucerne, Switzerland; Fusson, Germany; Munich, Germany; Halstatt, Austria; and Kitzb├╝hel, Austria. The plan was to stay in each location for roughly two days (there was no itinerary beyond that).We were packing a lot into very little time. By now I'm used to it! 

I was most excited for our stop to Fusson for its' proximity to Neuschwanstein castle. The castle had been on my bucket list for years. Due to our very last minute planning all of the hotels in Fusson were completely booked and the closest hotel we could find near the castle was in Ettal, Germany. We booked our two night stay at the Hotel Blaue Gums. At $89 a night it was very affordable. Our room was clean and cozy but very tiny. We were hardly in our room so it wasn't an issue for us. The town of Ettal itself was gorgeous! It's completely surrounded by mountains on all sides and the beautiful Abbey was the focal point of the town. We had a stunning view of it from our hotel (3rd picture in this post). At night it was lovely to hear the bells from the Abbey ringing. One would think it would be annoying but it was a welcome sound.

On the first night of our stay we ate at the hotel restaurant (it wasn't my favorite meal), and we bundled up after dinner to explore the small town and catch a closer glimpse of the Abbey.  It was just as beautiful up close. Fun fact about the Abbey is that the monks have been brewing beer there since 1609. Vistors of Ettal can tour the brewery and brewery museum  The brewery was closed that night but Kiel couldn't resist trying the beer which is served across the street from the Abbey. 400 years is a long time to perfect their brew! He enjoyed every sip.

The following morning we left early to visit Neuschwanstein.  The 45 minute drive to the castle from Ettal was gorgeous. We stopped several times along the way to take pictures of the mountains. On one of our stops we were parked on top of a hillside just as a fleet of air balloons decided to fly over us. At the same time this beautiful instrumental music could be heard playing in the distance. It was a magical moment that felt entirely surreal.

When we arrived to the castle I was initially disappointed. When you first drive up it is very much a tourist trap and you can hardly see the castle. There are a few different parking lots, souvenir shops, restaurants, and a ticket sales booth to neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castle. In retrospect I should have expected this, it's one of the most popular castles in the world. We parked our car and got in line to buy tickets only to find out all of the tours that day were completely booked. The lesson learned is always buy your tickets well in advance. As I mentioned the castle itself cannot be seen from the ground. The only way to get to it is to take a shuttle bus (plan ahead for this), a romantic horse drawn carriage, or plan to walk uphill on a path through the forest for 30 minutes. Make sure to wear really comfortable shoes. We walked up to the castle and the view was everything I hoped it would be -- straight out of a fairytale. 

I really appreciated the comfortable clothes I was wearing. We made it to the castle and bridge behind the castle for another vantage point before deciding to climb the mountains for an even better view. The pictures in this post are from our journey up the mountain. It was one of the best decisions we ever made, even if we weren't prepared for it. Kiel was wearing loafers lol. The view from the top was absolutely stunning. We could see everything -- a birds eye view of the castle, the mountain range, lake, and the land seemed endless. We climbed for what seemed like hours until we reached the top of the peak. At the point it was a little scary as it was getting steep but the trails to the top were well worn. We encountered a handful of hikers during our journey. The crowds were completely left behind at the castle and we basically had the mountain and in a way Neuschwanstein to ourselves. It was one of my favorite life experiences to date. We took our time getting down.

For dinner we decided to head to Fusson which is only 6 minutes away. I wanted to at the very least catch a glimpse of the town even if we only had a couple of hours. We spent a good portion of our time there trying to  park. Almost every space was reserved for people who lived in the town. Ultimately Kiel and I got out of the car to find a good place to eat while Jeremy and Kat got the car situated. We managed to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Fusson reminded me of a village in a Disney movie. The town was still decorated for Christmas and the lights made for a romantic evening. I can't remember where we ate that night but I did enjoy the meal. Hopefully we return there someday, two hours was not enough time.

The following morning we packed up our car to head to Munich to celebrate New Year's (that was the plan but also a whole other story).  Before we left we did manage to tour another one of King Ludwig's castles, Linderhof Palace, right outside of Ettal. As this castle is not quite as busy we managed to get out tickets without having to buy them ahead of time. I strongly feel like everything works out the way it is meant to be -- planned or unplanned. 

See my post from Halstatt here

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Dotting Through the Streets

Coat: APC (love this one as well) Dress: Ganni Heels: L.K. Bennett Bag: Mansur Gavriel c/o M'oda 'Operandi  Bracelets: Kiel James Patrick, Van Cleef & Arpels Glasses: Miu Miu (similar)

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Forever Love

Dress: Anthropologie (the look for less ) Shoes: LK Bennett c/o (old, also love these and these) Bag: Kate Spade c/o Bracelet: Kiel James Patrick Earrings: Kiel James Patrick 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Adventurers

Coat: Tory Burch Sweater: Aran of Ireland (similarJeans: J.Crew Boots: Hunter c/o Bag: Ralph Lauren c/o Socks: Hunter c/o Watch: Kiel James Patrick Bracelet: Van Cleef & Arpels Glasses: Gucci
Kiel: Jacket: Barbour Sweater: Ralph Lauren Boots: Hunter c/o Watch: Kiel James Patrick 

During our stay at the Weekapaug Inn, our friends took their Defender for a drive down the hotel's two mile private beach while we followed closely behind in our Jeep with Harry. The weather was relatively warm for this time of year and it was such a treat to spend the time outdoors to shoot a few marketing images for our new watch collection. I loved having the entire beach to ourselves. After we wrapped up with our pictures, we stayed and watched one of the most beautiful sunsets before heading back to the hotel for s'mores by the outdoor fire. 

This week we released our new Adventurer Watch Collection for Kiel James Patrick. We had been working away on this design for almost a year. It's always exciting to introduce our new products to the world. The watch is the perfect every day accessory for those who love the sea and a little adventure. An anchor and an arrow complete the hands of the watch. 

In honor of the new release I'm giving away a watch to two winners. Enter with Rafflecopter below to win one for yourself or that special someone in your life for Valentine's Day. The contest begins tonight and ends on Wednesday, February 7th at 11:59 pm.  Good luck! 

Offering a 15% discount on the new watch collection to all Classy Girls Wear Pearls readers with code cgwp at checkout. 

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Prepare for Adventure

Outfit 1: Jacket: Tory Burch Shirt: Ralph Lauren Sweater: Anthropologie  Jeans: J.Crew Boots: Hunter c/o (similar) ; Outfit 2: Shirt: J.Crew Jeans: Ag Heels: Kate Spade c/o (similar); Outfit 3: Sweater: J.Crew Jeans: Citizens of Humanity Shoes: Ralph Lauren Bracelet: Van Cleef & Arpels ; Outfit 4: Coat: Tory Burch Sweater: Aran of Ireland (similarJeans: J.Crew Boots: Hunter c/o  Bag: Ralph Lauren c/o Socks: Hunter c/o Watch: Kiel James Patrick Glasses: Gucci 
Harry: Pom Hat: Beaufort Bonnet Company c/o, One Piece: Janie & Jack c/o ; Robe: Ralph Lauren (n/a but this one is also really cute); Bear Sweater: Ralph Lauren  (similar, purchased this one from the outlet) Pants: Baby Gap Boots: Hunter (these don't fit Harry yet) Hat: Gap; Monkey One piece: Carters ; Plaid one piece: Kickee Pants
Kiel: Coat: Burberry Sweater: Ralph Lauren Pants: Ralph Lauren Boots: LL Bean; Jacket: Barbour Sweater: Ralph Lauren Boots: Hunter c/o Watch: Kiel James Patrick 

Location: Weekapaug Inn

Ever come back from vacation feeling completely relaxed? It's the best feeling! That's exactly how we felt after our recent family staycation at the Weekapaug Inn. It was our first official getaway with Harry. As soon as we walked through the hotel doors I completely forgot about all of the work I was behind on, the messy car,  and the piles of laundry waiting for me at home. There was something about the atmosphere of the hotel that was so calming. We stayed in the Osprey Suite (if you couldn't tell from my pictures, the Weekapaug has a bird theme) and enjoyed a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean. We loved waking up to a perfect New England scene each morning before heading down to breakfast. 

Harry managed to sleep through every single meal at the hotel restaurant.On our first night we had a table right in front of the fireplace. It was definitely the best seat in the house.I never felt so cozy enjoying a glass of rose' and oysters.  Kiel and I both had  the strip steak and broccolini  for dinner. I'm still thinking about it -- everything on the menu is prepared from fresh, locally sourced ingredients and oh so good. If you are in the area I highly recommend experiencing the restaurant for yourself. If it's a Sunday, then the three course brunch is a must! 

During the day we explored the hotel grounds and nearby beach while spending time learning about the local birds from the Weekapaug's Naturalist Mark. Two things I learned -- that Loons migrate to Rhode Island for the winter and that deers are great swimmers. I was very surprised to see a Loon through the telescope lens. I didn't think they went this far South. Mark has a wealth of knowledge about the local wildlife and gives walking tours throughout the day for guests that are interested.  (See more of my bird themed posts here and here)

The Weekapaug Inn recently  teamed up with Hunter Boots to introduce the very first Hunter Boots borrowing closet in North America. Guests have the opportunity to borrow any of the Hunter pieces in the closet to wear during their stay. We loved checking out the beautiful assortment and wearing our boots for a day of adventure. The kids boots are just too cute! I can't wait for Harry to be big enough to wear a pair. On a side note any of the Hunter pieces are also available for purchase. The hotel staff will place an order directly from the Hunter website to ship directly to your home. 

In honor of this collaboration, I'm giving away a pair of Hunter Boots to one lucky winner. Comment below your favorite style of Hunter Boots and enter with Rafflecopter for a chance to win a pair. The contest begins today at 5pm and ends on Tuesday February 6th at 11pm EST. 

     Special thank you to Weekapaug Inn and Hunter Boots for our wonderful staycation! 

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