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Posts Tagged ‘USA’

Chicago – Four Days in the Windy City

I got back from my summer holiday just over two weeks ago. It was a mixture of full on sightseeing in Chicago, followed by three of the genuinely most relaxing days of my life. These were spent on Cape Cod, and then three more days in Boston. My friend and I had both been harbouring a desire to visit one of America’s largest cities for some time, and I am so glad we did.

We stayed in a hotel overlooking Millennium park, home to ‘The Bean’ (formally known as Cloud Gate). The park is in the east of the city and is right next to the shores of Lake Michigan. This was an excellent base point as it was right near to the loop train. This made it easy to access any area of the city that we wanted to visit. We did a lot of walking on our first day, which included The 606 – a 2.7 mile trail designed for walkers and cyclists alike. It is elevated from traffic and gives a lovely view out across the neighbourhood. It is similar to the Highline in New York, which I wrote about here. 

The Bean

The Bean Chicago

Chicago From Above

We rounded off the day with a trip up the 108 storey building Willis Tower. The viewing area which is open to the public is on the 103rd floor, but a super quick lift means you get there in no time at all. It is the second tallest building in the USA, and offers incredible views across the city. The landscape is so flat and you can see for miles and miles. We went just before sunset. It was great to see the city lighting up as the sun went down, and ti was the perfect end to the day.

The view from Willis Tower

Andersonville

One area that I would recommend to anybody to visit whilst in Chicago is Andersonville. This district in the north of the city (nearest Metro stop is Berwyn) is an old Swedish settlement. There are plenty of places to shop, eat and drink. We had lunch at Hopleaf, a bar with a Belgian inspired menu and plenty of beers on offer. There was a delightful stationery store and framers called Four Sided where we both bought ourselves some souvenirs.

Hopleaf

We spent the next couple of days wandering the Old Town, watching fireworks at Navy Pier (Wednesday’s and Saturday’s in summer) and eating lots of food. The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra played in Millennium Park one clear warm evening, which was a lovely unexpected treat.

Jazz in Millennium Park

The highlight of Chicago for me was the architecture boat cruise which is run by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. A docent volunteer leads the tour and our guide was incredibly knowledgable. We opted for a twilight cruise so by the time the hour and a half was up, it was dark and the tall buildings lit up the sky. The particular tour is listed in the top 10 on TripAdvisor in the whole of the USA!

More Places to Dine..

No visit to Chicago is apparently complete without sampling a deep dish pizza. Lou Malnati’s was our pizzeria of choice and it didn’t disappoint. A simple margarita with a pepperoni topping was delicious and I wish we’d had time for more!

Other food highlights included a waffle breakfast at Eleven City Diner on Wabash Avenue and the liquid chocolate drink at Goddess and the Baker which has three locations across the city, including Wabash Ave.

Goddess and the Baker cake and biscuits. My friend bought the birthday one despite her birthday being in March.Apparently it was tasty! 

Goddess and the Baker

Eleven City Diner.

The view from Willis Tower

Thank you Chicago (and my friend), for a wonderful 4 days in ‘the windy city’.

New York – highlights from my recent trip

I published a blog post last week about the work side of my trip to New York, so I thought I would write one about some of my personal highlights from the trip.  Despite being in the city for work, we did get some time to sightsee, shop and eat in some lovely places.

We spent 6 nights at the Row Hotel which is on 8th Ave between 44th and 45th Street. This was really handy for a morning walk to the Javits Center for the exhibition. Although small, the room was very clean, with a good shower and comfy bed so I wouldn’t hesitate to book a room there again. That said, there are so many places to stay in NYC, it would seem wrong not to stay at different accommodation next time! City Kitchen was joined on to the hotel, which became our go to breakfast spot. It has a laid back vibe with numerous vendors, each offering tasty food. We enjoyed pancakes, waffles, pastries and donuts during our time there, all of which set us up nicely for busy days in the city.

We were lucky to have some fantastic weather whilst we were there, which made it great just for wandering around. I spend a lot of time sat at my studio desk, so it was nice to get out and about, doing lots of walking whilst taking in the sights.

New York at Sunset

One of my favourite bits of the trip was walking over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was my third time in NYC, but  I hadn’t had chance to do this previously. We took the Subway to Brooklyn and  joined hundreds of other walkers and cyclists and walked over this iconic bridge. The rest of the day was spent meandering all of the way back up to our hotel on 45th. We stopped off on the way for cake, wine in Union Square and food at delightful restaurant Boqueria (more info on that below).

The view from the Brooklyn Bridge

Manhattan viewed from the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge

The High Line is one of my favourite walks to do when in New York. It’s a 1.45 mile long elevated path, built on a disused railway line. It begins at Gansevoort Street and runs up to West 34th Street. It’s a really popular walk for locals and visitors alike, giving a unique perspective of the city, being elevated away from the traffic, but not too high that you can’t take in the sights the city has to offer.

The Hudson river as seen from the High Line, New York

I thought I’d include a list of a few of the places we ate, drank and shopped at whilst in New York. There’s so many more places I’d like to go, but I’ll have to save them for next time!

Shopping in New York

Shopping is never at the forefront of my mind when I’m away on trips, but there were a few outlets that we couldn’t resist visiting!

Anthropologie – beautiful fashion and jewellery, but the main attraction for me are their gorgeous homewares.

Fishs Eddy just on the corner of 19th Street and Broadway. This store sells illustrative and quirky ceramics, glass and textiles for the kitchen. Reasonable prices.

Marimekko – right near the Flatiron building. Shop for fashion at homewares at this iconic Scandinavian brands NYC flagship store.

Papersource – contemporary greeting cards (including some of mine!), stationery and some gifts. Papersource can be found at many locations across the city.

Chelsea Market – largely food with some other outlets including Posman books and Anthropologie.

 

My card in Papersource.

Jessica Hogarth teacher greeting card in Papersource.

Eating & Drinking

Tick Tock Diner – big portions and fast service – available 24/7! I’ve eaten here a few times before, and it’s part of the New Yorker hotel. I would love to stay there one day.

Rosa Mexicano – Mexican food with ridiculously more-ish guacamole and tasty cocktails. I’ve eaten here many times now. Rosa Mexicano is a chain restaurant but with an independent vibe, and it never disappoints.

Boqueria – a real highlight. We went to their 19th Street location, but they have 4 restaurants across the city. We had their Parrillada mixed grill, which I’d highly recommend. It’s a large portion and intended to be shared!

The Park Chelsea – good food to be enjoyed in an eclectically decorated interior. It has a glassed in patio and a rooftop garden that overlooks the High Line.

Bobby Van’s – recommended to us by a local and was right near the hotel (45th between 6th and 7th Ave). However, they have locations across the city. We enjoyed sitting at the bar for a post Surtex wine.

With so much going on before I flew out to New York, there wasn’t much time to research places to go before I went. I look forward to exploring more of what the city has to offer in terms of food and drink next time!  After a brilliant six days, I felt a bit sad to be heading home. I was so focused on getting everything prepared, it seemed like quite a big build up. I can’t wait for my next opportunity to visit ‘The Big Apple’, which hopefully won’t be too far away!

Brownstones in Manhattan

Jess x

To the West Coast of the USA and Back

Back in March, myself and another designer friend booked flights to the west coast of the USA; something we had been talking about doing for a while. Due to our work commitments we could only spare two weeks but decided to pack it full of sightseeing in four American cities. If you follow my artist Facebook page, then you will have already seen a few images from my trip but I thought I’d write a more detailed round up here. We began our trip in Santa Monica then headed south to San Diego, up to San Francisco and then finished up with four nights in Las Vegas.

 

I love architecture, and there were some beautiful and quirky buildings in every place we visited. I just loved the Georgian hotel in Santa Monica, and many buildings were decorated with murals at Venice Beach.

 

santa-monica

 

We travelled to San Diego via the Pacific Surfliner, a train that runs down the coast. It was great to see some more of the Californian coastline, and was an easy and reasonably priced way to get to our next destination. The Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego was my favourite area in the city as it was full of quirky restaurants and fun bars. Florent (pictured below), had tasty sharing plates, and I can also recommend Cafe 21, for some more delicious food, and live entertainment.

 

san-deigo

 

We visited Coronado whilst in San Diego, to see the famous wooden hotel. We also had a little time to pop in to Seaside Papery, a gorgeous shop stocking lots of beautiful stationery, including some by Rifle Paper Co.

 

I have always wanted to visit San Francisco and see some of the famous architecture and visit Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world! Definitely take a jumper if you’re visiting, even in summer, as it can get pretty chilly!

 

san-francisco

 

The Painted Ladies at Alamo Square, some of the most photographed homes in the city.

 

painted-ladies-san-francisco

 

We spent a bit of time in the shops, and I was delighted to find my work on sale in two locations, the first of which was trendy US chain store Paper Source. My first order went in to them at the beginning of the month, and I am thrilled to have my work available to purchase from one of my favourite stationery outlets. Paper Source has stores across the USA including in Santa Monica, San Francisco and New York. On a trip to Sausalito (a town across the Golden Gate Bridge), I spotted my art on postcards, from my collaboration with wooden postcard company Timbergram. It’s still a novelty to see my work on sale in shops, particularly overseas!

 

USA

 

The holiday finished with an adventure in Las Vegas. Highlights included visiting the Grand Canyon, seeing the Bellagio Fountains a number of times and visiting the Mob Museum in downtown LV.

 

I like the USA more and more each time I visit, and I look forward to returning back there sometime soon!