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Welcome to the start of our 4 part Getaway adventure to Scotland and Iceland! This is a smidge farther than our getaways usually take us, but we decided that after 2-1/2 years of blogging together, we were ready to go international!

In case you don’t know your “Unlocking” trivia, I (Bev) was born in Scotland and moved to CT when I was 20. A wee while ago! I was due to visit my “other home”, and Lora was long overdue a trip to the UK, being that she’s a total Anglophile. Iceland has also long been on Lora’s bucket list, so we came up with a plan to bring our Unlocking show on the road. We would Unlock Edinburgh, Glasgow, The Trossachs + Loch Lomond, and Reykjavik.

Welcome to Edinburgh. Part travel journal, part guide, this is a compilation of what we did, plus some bonus “must-dos” thanks to the locals, i.e. my friends and family!

I lovermont. Vacationing as a child, and then living there for a short time after high school (which are some of my fondest memories), I always felt relaxed and carefree when I was among its lush mountains and quaint picturesque towns. So it seemed the perfect location for a weekend getaway to celebrate my one year wedding anniversary with Michael. Here are some ideas on things to do and where to stay for your visit to the Manchester area!

Have a hankering for a quick weekend getaway where you can relax, unwind, and smell fresh, salty air? An idyllic and not-too-far-away place that’s only six miles long by three miles wide exists, and it’s called Block Island. Gentle breezes (bring sweatshirts!), a laid-back atmosphere, fresh seafood, and many options for quiet solitude are waiting for you. I hope you enjoy the photos and must-see ideas from my recent trip! Cheers, Lora

Hello, my name is Lora and I’ve got “Red Rock Fever”. Wait, what? Many people develop this “condition” after visiting Sedona for the first time. Symptoms include a lump in the throat and teary eyes when it’s time to go home.

This magical Arizona town had been on my bucket list for years, so the hubs and I planned a trip for some hiking fun. If you haven’t been, maybe you’ll understand why I had to wipe those tears away after you see the photos below…

“There’s something wonderfully healing in Arizona air.” ~Zane Grey, The Call of the Canyon, 1924

When the weather outside is officially trying to kill you and you just need some FUN, head to Foxwoods Resort Casino! An emerald castle of entertainment just two hours from home, it seemed like just the thing to take our minds off the New England end of winter blues!

Our itinerary would include checking-in to our marvelous room for the night at the Grand Pequot Tower hotel, shopping the Tanger Outlets, having our hair made fancy at G-Spa and Salon, dinner and famous drinks at Sugar Factory (the most Instagrammed restaurant ever), followed by a show – Lora’s fave comedian, George Lopez. All of this without having to leave the resort. Basically, a huge enclosed bubble of fun-times. Take that, weather!

This week’s “Getaway” brings us to Hotel Zero Degrees in Danbury, a mere 20 minutes or so from our respective homes. Regardless of the short distance, this little staycation made us feel like we had traveled much farther. The moment we stepped through the glass sliding doors into the boutique hotel’s stunning lobby – we felt as if we had been teleported to some uber-modern Euro-lodge. Ready? Set? Getaway!

Hotel Elysee, NYCwallpaper Hotel Elyseechandelier Hotel Elysee

It had been much too long since our last “getaway,” so we decided on a quick and easy overnight stay and shopping trip to NYC. Don’t get us wrong, a trip to Paris would be lovely, but who has that kind of vacation time? Not us. We booked a night at the fantastique Hotel Elyseé located on East 54th Street between Park and Madison Avenue, i.e. luxury shopping central!

Come, we’ll show you around, and fill you in on our NYC adventure that includes being surrounded by thousands of police officers and a close encounter with Kathie Lee and Hoda…

Getaway: The Hopkins Inn, Warren, CT

Occasion: Right in our backyard – it’s the perfect spot to celebrate the start of fall!

About: The Hopkins Inn overlooks the highly picturesque Lake Waramaug (8 flat miles in circumference – perfect for cycling, running, and walking). Hopkins is the quintessential Litchfield County country inn and it has it all – the restaurant, the views, cozy, comfortable, and a long-standing history. They even have their own salad dressing.

Through the large wrought iron gates marked “Rock” and “Hall” we follow the winding driveway, past the grass tennis court, well-established trees (all marked with which special species they are) and finally to a circular gravel driveway complete with statue and small garden in the center. We park in front of the manor house (which was designed by renowned architect Addison Minzer in 1912) and head on in to meet the owner and innkeeper of the Rock Hall Luxe Inn, Michael Somers. If we were to compare this “getaway” to a movie, as we frequently like to do, this one would be The Great Gatsby.

The Cranwell Spa & Resort in Lenox, MA, has a very regal, castled, fit-for-royalty vibe to it, which is exactly why it was the perfect spot for Lora’s bachelorette weekend.

Besides an award winning spa (one of the largest in the Northeast) and restaurants to suit both fine and casual dining, the resort also boasts a mansion. And who doesn’t love a good mansion?! The Wyndhurst was built in 1894 by John Sloane (a relative of the Vanderbilts) as a “cottage.” In those days (the Gilded Age) the “cottage era” defined cottages as a secondary residence with a minimum of 30 rooms and 20 acres. Can you even imagine?!

In attendance for Lora’s “bachelorette weekend!!!” were the two of us, Lora’s younger sister, Holly, plus our friend, the fabulous, the entertaining, Kimberley Locke!

A quick hour or so drive up Route 7 to Lenox, MA, and we were there, ready to do bachelorette things, whatever they would be…