On a recent visit with the ladies of The Chat I discussed the 10 Best Restaurants in Jacksonville. With dining being one of the top 3 reasons folks are visiting the First Coast, you can be sure there is plenty to discuss. Recently I wrote a story for 10Best.com highlighting these top 10. You can find the story link here.
Looking for an adventure to remember? Have distinctive tastes that seek luxurious accommodations, top rated chefs, and exquisite service? Then you have to hear all about my recent trip to Scrub Island, a private island in the British Virgin Islands. Scrub Island is home to Scrub Island Resort, Spa, and Marina a truly distinguished jewel in the sparkling waters of the Caribbean. The adventure is in the journey there as this destination is off the beaten path. After a flight through San Juan, Puerto Rico and a Cessna flight with Cape Air to the Island of Tortola, my husband and I hopped on the resort's ferry for a short trip to the exclusive island. Our stay there, was like something from a novel romantic, exotic, and full of memorable moments.
On Wednesday Dec 3rd's visit to The Chat I discussed great last minute holiday getaways with the lovely panelists. From the South Georgia barrier reef islands to the shores of Cabo these are the best deals you'll find from my trusted sources. Make your holidays extra special at one of these fantastic destinations.
I'm happy to announce the return of the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway this year. Featuring fifteen local to Jacksonville businesses that showcase the best of the First Coast. I debuted the items during my Local Gift Ideas Segment on News 4 Jax, and now you have a chance to take a closer look and more importantly enter to win.
This week I joined the beautiful and intelligent ladies of The Chat to discuss some Travel Secrets. We discussed the much debated topic of the best day to book a flight, which sites are best to book with, and where to find the best local finds. These ladies are no strangers to great travel both domestic and abroad so I really enjoyed the honest conversation and open table. Here are the highlights.
My recent whirlwind trip to the Caribbean was nothing short of exotic, breathtaking, and inspiring. In preparation for this three part adventure I knew there was only one designer I was interested in using for my wardrobe while I was filming excursions for Coconut Bay in St. Lucia and then reviewing b2 Hotel in downtown Miami, and Scrub Island Resort in the BVI. Lisa Kaminski's swim and resort wear has been featured before on my blog and her pieces never fail to strike the perfect silhouette. Whether you are dressing up or down her collectible designs make a scene and turn heads. I confess swim wear has always been a little tricky on my curvy figure. However there is just something about Lisa's designs that make me feel like a million bucks. She truly knows how to wield a special kind of magic in her garments. The kind of magic that might just convince you that romance, adventure, and intrigue are still very much alive.
You've heard it said that the "Devil is in the Details". I like to say the "Destination is in the Details". It's within the special ,sometimes overlooked details that the story is found. It's how one property distinguishes itself amongst the rest and creates loyalty and admiration from it's guests. Here are a few of my favorite details I consider best kept secrets that I recently shared on WJXT 4 News 4 Jax.
|On the Menu:|
Organic Baby Kale Salad with Grilled Atlantic Salmon
Lunch often gets overlooked as a non event meal. Generally it becomes a "thing" when it involves business or some of your favorite girls getting together for a ladies lunch. Personally, I love the thrill of sneaking away from my overwhelming to do list during the day to meet up with the hubby for an impromptu lunch date. Part of my inspiration for this series was to reawaken your imagination, and reveal a few great lunch spots that make the perfect mid day getaway. Eleven South Bistro and Bar is one of these special spots. You may remember them from my "Date Night Destination" series and thought perhaps it was just for date night. I'm happy to showcase their amazing lunch, which has recently undergone a little renovation.
It's been a busy start to the Fall which is typically normal for this household. Lot's of stories being written for 10Best.com and new material for Amy West Travel as well. Just wait til you see what's coming! In the meantime, here are some places you'll find me popping up.
This fall we had the great joy of attending one of the most perfect weddings I've ever been to. My brother in law married the most lovely girl, and their wedding was like a scene from a movie. They chose to hold the wedding on a farm that my brother in law had worked on and that is owned by dear friends of the family. The wedding was intimate and full of meaningful details. With only two months to execute the planning of this wedding I was so impressed with how special it was. Read more to enjoy the details...
Visit Jacksonville and Beaches recently reported that shopping is the number one reason visitors flock to the city. This came as a bit of a surprise since we are famous for our beaches, but when you consider some of the highly sought after brands that are making Jax their home, then it all begins to make sense.
I'm happy to report that the highly anticipated Nordstrom Jacksonville is officially open. I had the great pleasure of participating in several events for the store opening and I can tell you the excitement is contagious! Here are 5 things you should know about Nordstrom Jax.
How do you eat all that food and still stay in shape? I hear it often from those I chat with about what I do. It is a little mystifying I'm sure from the outside. I post images of delectable dishes glistening in the light with what is sure to be some very indulgent ingredients. Not only that but from the evidence on social media it probably seems like I always have a drink in my hand. What gives? Do I have some kind of super human metabolism? In short answer no. In my "Secrets Revealed Series" I begin by sharing how you can be a Foodie, and still remain Fit. Let me lead with a disclaimer that I am not a nutritionist, these are just habits that I've picked up from a lifetime of working towards healthy living.
With all the memories and experiences that come with being a Travel and Lifestyle writer and personality, there also comes a heck of a lot of work. No complaints here, as I can truly say I'm living my dream. It's always great though, when that hard work gets recognized by esteemed peers in my industry. As I continue to build this brand I am honored to be featured in statewide and worldwide media. Here are a few revealed this week.
It's been a great 2014 for Amy West Travel. As the year winds down I must say how thrilled I've been to be featured in several great media outlets. Besides my monthly guest spot on News 4 Jax morning show, frequent guest segments on First Coast Connect, and now my addition to USA Today's 10Best.com family, I've been honored to be showcased on the following platforms.
Food is not so different from fashion. Trends come and go based on a lengthy measure of circumstances. What's in season? What crop did well this year? What celebrity chef debuted their newest dish using that random ingredient? And what are the latest health trends? It's unclear at times just what makes an item leap of the menu and into patrons mouths (besides their tastiness), but what is clear, is that it is ever changing. Of course there are classics that will never go out of style like the iconic Filet, Salmon, and Pasta dishes, but some specialties will see their rise and fall within the spectrum of a year... give or take. Here are some dishes that have received a lot of fanfare recently that me thinks.... may not last much longer in the popularity contest that is dinner. So get em while they last friends before the next big thing goes viral across the dining rooms of the country.
Recently I published a few blogs on my exceptional experience with the Epicurean Hotel in Tampa, FL. After three days of getting to know this southern gem, I can tell you with authority, it is something really special. Get up close and personal in this new video we just released showcasing what makes this location, so unique.
|Poolside at the Epicurean Hotel|
Recently I visited a destination that still has my mouth watering. So much brilliance in one spot, it's hard to find a starting place to describe this hotel with a culinary heart. From the moment I learned about the Epicurean Hotel I was attracted to it's Foodie foundation, and knew this was a place I would find like minded wanderers. What I didn't realize was how deep the Epicurean's roots went, and how inspired the concept would leave me.