Although my wife and I were back in the Bay Area for 5 days, we often stay with our families who live about 30 minutes outside of the city. Because of this, we try to make sure to stay in the city for a night. This way, we can see our friends, eat at some of our favorite places, and generally not worry about having to head out of the city.
This time, we stayed at the Hotel Carlton in lower Nob Hill. The location is excellent, you're smack in the center of SF, with great places to walk to, or plenty of transportation options. Each JDV Hotel has a different personality, and the Hotel Carlton had a playful SF meets Morocco kind of vibe to it. I'm a sucker for bright colors so I ate it up.
We had a lovely evening, though we arrived late and missed the complimentary wine happy hour - damn! The next day, we spent a lazy morning lounging in the king sized bed watching TV and enjoying the city view. We briefly got out of bed to get a coffee and toast fix around the corner at one of our favorite nooks in the area, farm:table.
I had meetings to show work at a few agencies and magazines, which is always a fun way to mix in a little business and meet new faces. After that, it was time for a drink, and we met up with one of our best friends (and super talented photographer), Erin Conger.
Thanks for the good times, San Francisco! Back to NYC for now...
If you've been following along on my Instagram or Snapchat, you know that I just returned from a pretty amazing 2 week trip to Cuba. Part of my trip was spent shooting a personal project with my good friend and photographer, Pei Ketron, and graciously supported by Moment. The other time I spent exploring, photographing, and getting to know the people and places.
Obviously I'll have plenty of photos coming, but I wanted to share a quick teaser set of images - some of which I've already shared on my IG.
When taking an airplane to an island in the middle of the Caribbean it only makes sense to then take an even smaller airplane to an even smaller island, right? When we heard how easy it was to fly out to the island of Culebra from San Juan, we were intrigued. When we found out Culebra was home to one of the top 10 beaches in the world, we were hooked.
Although the plane flight isn't for the faint of heart, the views over San Juan and the island make it worth it.
Once on the island, it's easy to rent a jeep, golf cart or scooter to toodle around the island. We opted for the golf cart, though my wife looked longingly at the scooters. We spent an entire day out at Playa Flamenco, which besides being absolutely incredible, is also home to old US Army tanks that had been abandoned and lovingly graffitied with colorful designs.
There are plenty of small restaurants and bars to get your island drinks, but we fell in love with Zaco's Tacos. The tacos were delicious, the drinks were cheap, and the bar had some killer light.
Culebra was probably the highlight of our trip, and I wish we'd had more time to relax, maybe even scuba dive. Oh well, with how easy this whole trip was, I know there's going to be a next time.
¡Hasta el proximo, Puerto Rico!
I decided to pick up the Mountain Collective pass this year and try out a few new resorts I’ve never been to. At the top of my list? Sun Valley, Idaho. The snow is killer this year and I’d also been dying to see the town where Hemmingway made his home at the end of his days.
Ketchum is the perfect size. I scored a hotel in town, which made walking everywhere easy. On my first morning after a late flight, I opted to head to The Kneadery for some of the best breakfast around. After some crazy sriracha eggs benedict, hash browns, one of their famous blueberry muffins and many cups of coffee, I was ready to take on the world, or maybe a nap. After a little more exploring, I hit up The Board Bin and got a great board setup and was ready for the mountain.
I scored with the weather on my two days at Sun Valley Resort. The first day was a perfect blue bird day, and I actually had to open up all my vents to cool down. Not only that, but the snow was soft, no ice to be found, and literally every single run was wide open and killer. No worry about crowds on a mountain this big.
On day two I woke up to a few inches of fresh with more coming all day. I spent the morning over on Dollar Peak, checking out the terrain parks and half pipes. The snow was calling me back to Baldy Peak in the afternoon, so I hopped a quick shuttle (they’re all free!) and was heading up the gondola in no time at all. A bunch of afternoon tree runs later and I was seriously in need of some aprés.
There are no shortage of options in Sun Valley for kicking back and having a few drinks. I started at the River Run Lodge where there’s usually a good crowd and local band rocking out. I also became a fan of Lefty’s, not only for their great selection of beers and awesome mug setup, but it was also right across the road from my hotel - bonus for that quick nap.
Once fed, rested and ready to head out for the night, I would head down to the main street in town to scope the scene. On more than one occasion I found myself ending the night at Whiskey Jacques where the crowd was rowdy, the music was local, and the beers were cold.
I still can’t believe that was all in just three days! Seeing the town, the views, and chatting up the locals has me itching to come back to check out the summertime action as well. I’ll definitely be back soon, Sun Valley.
Note: This blog post was part of a sponsored campaign with Visit Sun Valley.
I love visiting the Top of the Rock a few times a year, it has the best view of Manhattan in my opinion. The day after the big blizzard was bright and sunny with a hint of clouds for sunset so it seemed liked the perfect time. Here's a few of my favorites from the quick trip up.
Feeling pretty good about the fact we made it through the second worst storm in New York City history. My snowboard outerwear came in handy as I ventured out into the storm on Saturday to grab some photos in Central Park.
Later on, we took the dogs to the dog park to get their first taste of snow, and boy did they like it. They couldn't stop bounding through it, barking their little heads off.
On Saturday night, despite NYC closing down all the roads, my wife had to go into the hospital she works at for the night shift. Since she usually takes the bus into work, she had no choice but to walk. I didn't want her to go alone, so I decided to walk with her. I grabbed my new Lecia D-Lux as I was heading out the door since it's pocketable.
Sunday morning turned out be beautiful and sunny, so I decided to check out the city in its new fresh coat from the Top of the Rock. Damn she looks fine.
2015: What a year! I wanted to do a VERY quick wrap-up of some of the highlights from the year, using a few of the photos I grabbed along the way.
Thanks for hanging with me in 2015! See you in 2016.
On my last night in San Francisco before heading back to New York, I got a text from the Priime crew asking if I wanted to join them for a quick run up to Mt. Tamalpais for sunset. Random fact: I had never shot sunset from Mt. Tam before (only sunrise after camping), so of course I said yes.
Perfect way to end my California trip and 2015!
For the final post about the Passport Express voyage, I wanted to highlight the experience of traveling by Amtrak across the country. Throughout the course of the two week trip, we ate, slept, photographed, chatted, danced, and lived in between our observation car and sleeping car.
Sure, there wasn't a ton of space, and climbing over my poor roommate Phil's face every night to get to the top bunk was probably not his favorite part of the trip, but the close quarters forced us into an intimacy that's hard to convey. Like air travel, you're in a confined space, but unlike air travel, there's a freedom to move about, to explore, and to engage. At any given time I could be in my bunk/cabin, sometimes alone or talking with Phil, sit in the observation car quietly alone with my thoughts watching the world go by, or, engage with one of the 34 other passengers. This included good chats, sharing stories, sharing photos, sharing drinks, sharing hugs, and sometimes, sharing crazy dance parties that lasted until too late at night.
One of the most amazing things about train travel is also what you see. Just staring out the window was a mesmerizing experience. Often the train would go where no roads would, allowing us peeks at slices of different places. Many of us left our cameras permanently in the observation car, ready to be picked up at a moments notice as the scenery zoomed by.