Sleepy Hollow Travel Guide + Vacay Inspo

welcome-to-historic-sleepy-hollow-sign

At the risk of sounding extremely basic, I LOVE fall. This time of year is my favorite! So, to continue my annual mission to fill my fall to the brim with memories, I embarked on a trip to the infamous Sleepy Hollow.

Of course, I’ve been a fan of the tale since I was a kid and used to watch the Disney version. My interest in Washington Irving’s story was reinvigorated when the Sleepy Hollow film came out (classic Johnny Depp, hello!) and then again when I relocated to New York where it takes place.

The spooky little town of Sleepy Hollow did not disappoint, so I’m thrilled to share what I learned from my adventure! Read on for my tips and tricks before you plan your own trip…

When to go

Halloween, duh. Sleepy Hollow was affectionately nicknamed the “Halloween capital of the world” (although I’m sure there might be some folks in Salem and NoLa that disagree). Even if you aren’t big on the ghouls and goblins side of Halloween, fall is absolutely beautiful in the Hudson Valley area. So trust me on this, go in October. I took the New York Water Taxi’s Sleepy Hollow Ferry. The view from the Hudson River was breathtaking and the ride there was honestly one of the highlights of my trip! Even if you’re coming in from out of town, I think this is the route to go.

new-york-water-taxi-to-sleepy-hollow

What to wear
The most important piece is comfortable shoes! Nearly everything fun in Sleepy Hollow involves walking and exploring large, hilly areas (especially the cemetery, but more on that later). Leave your witchy heels at home, this is a job for Adidas. As far as your outfit, leggings and a flowy fall dress will do!

sleepy-hollow-cemetary

What to eat

If you’re day tripping from Manhattan like I did, I recommend kicking off your Sleepy Hollow adventure with brunch at Ichabod’s, appropriately adjacent to the Headless Horseman bar on Irving Place in Manhattan. Don’t confuse this awesome spot with The Horseman in Sleepy Hollow. That Horseman is a sad diner and you will be disappointed if you eat there. Pro tip: Walk a little farther from Sleepy Hollow to Main Street in Tarrytown where you’ll find a string of foodie friendly restaurants (The Twisted Oak, yum) and hipster approved craft beer bars (The Oath, double yum). When you’re done, grab some homemade ice cream at Main Street Sweets. SO good.

brunch-at-ichabods

Where to stay

Planning to stay overnight? If you’re coming in from another area, The Castle Hotel and Spa should be your home away from home. This stunning resort is a hot spot for weddings and special events with good reason. The grounds are absolutely beautiful and have an eerie elegance, perfect for a Halloween vacay. If you’re an NYC dweller looking to save a few bucks, you can totally skip the overnight part and ferry back after a full day (it only takes about an hour to get back to the city).

 

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Where to play

It just would not be a trip to Sleepy Hollow if you skip the Headless Horseman bridge and take an obligatory tourist photo at the very spot where the horseman made his infamous ride and scared the bejeezus out of our friend Ichabod Crane. Also worth scoping out: Washington Irving’s Sunnyside where you can tour the grounds of Irving’s beautiful estate. Another not to be missed sight is The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, a walk-through pumpkin promenade at Van Courtlandt Manor with over 7,000 decorated jack o’lanterns on display. You also can’t miss the Old Dutch Church and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (where many of New York’s elite have been laid to rest). Spooky, but beautiful.

Follow my advice and I promise you a perfect Halloween excursion to Sleepy Hollow! 👻👻👻

Girl Scout Cookie and Wine Pairings

The season is here! And no, I’m not talking about Fashion Week season this time. It’s Girl Scout cookie season, folks.

Naturally, I love pairing Girl Scout cookies with wine. (Samoas and bubbles for the win!)

My friends at Mode do too, so they put together this handy video that illustrates the best wines to pair with your Girl Scout cookies.

Watch and learn! This is important. 😉


[This post was sponsored by Mode Media, but all opinions are my own.]

Celebrate the Holidays with Starbucks

Starbucks

I’m so thrilled to continue my partnership with Starbucks as a member of the Starbucks Coffee Blogger Community! Throughout 2016 I’ll continue to share the latest and greatest Starbucks goodies with you all.

But first, red cup season! 

Nothing says the holidays like a hot cup of coffee, am I right?!

If you love cozying up to a warm cup of coffee (or cocoa) in the wintry weather like I do, you’re in luck. Starbucks offers an assortment of awesome products that will transform you into a master barista at your next holiday shindig (and beyond). I mean, isn’t any time a good time for a great cup of cocoa? Read on for a description of my favs from the Starbucks holiday collection!

  • Starbucks VIA Instant Peppermint Mocha Latte – How amazing would it be to whip up your own Peppermint Mocha at home? Now you can! And you have full control over the amount of whipped cream. 😉 Inspired by the handcrafted winter favorite, Starbucks VIA Instant Peppermint Mocha combines natural dairy and 100% arabica coffee for rich, creamy flavor. Just add hot water and enjoy!
  • Starbucks Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Mix – I’m a sucker for hot chocolate. Back in my Florida days, I would blast the AC and drink it in the dead of summer. I have to admit that it does taste even better in the winter time while sitting on my stoop in New York!  This decadent hot cocoa with fluffy handcrafted miniature marshmallows is sure to add a little whimsy to your day.
  • Starbucks Holiday Blend – Every year the holiday flavor is subtly unique. With an approachable complexity and elegant flavor, each vintage is definitely worth celebrating. This year the blend is the perfect balance of bright Latin American and smooth Indonesian coffees.

What are your favorite holiday Starbucks drinks? Keep an eye on the blog for even more fresh roasted goodness from my friends at Starbucks in the new year!

Fireball Apple Pie Cupcakes with Whipped Vodka Frosting Recipe

Fireball Apple Pie Cupcake

Tis the season for sweet treats! As you know, I put my alcoholic spin on everything. This is not limited to just cocktails and cosmetics, but cupcakes, too! Since I’m baking more than usual for the holidays, I thought this would be the perfect time to introduce my new boozey baking series! Kicking it off is my alcoholic apple pie cupcake recipe featuring Fireball Whisky (in the filling) and Pinnacle Whipped Vodka (in the frosting). These babies are scrumptious and a little dangerous because you can barely taste the alcohol. Read on for the recipe and stay tuned for many more liquor laced desserts to come!

Apple Pie Cupcake Recipe

Ingredients

Spiced Apple Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Apple Pie Filling

  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch

Whipped Topping

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1-2 Tbsp Pinnacle Whipped Vodka

Instructions

For the cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cupcake pan with paper cups.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, apple pie spice, and salt.
  3. Whisk together melted butter and sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time until well mixed. Add vanilla and buttermilk and mix until combined. Stir in dry ingredients, do not over mix the batter.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the cups of the prepared cupcake pan, filling each liner 2/3 full. 
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 19 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let the cupcakes cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely before filling and frosting.

For the apple pie filling

  1. Toss the apples, brown sugar, and 1/4 tsp apple pie spice together. Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan and add the apple mixture to pan. Cook over medium heat until apples are soft, about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. In a small bowl mix the Fireball with the cornstarch. Add to hot apple mixture and cook until it thickens. Let mixture cool completely.

For the whipped topping

  1. Beat the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and sour cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until the mixture forms soft peaks. Beat in 1-2 Tbsp Pinnacle Whipped Vodka and beat until smooth and well combined.
  2. Prepare a piping bag (I used Wilton tip 1M) and fill with frosting.

Assembly

  1. Using a small knife or apple corer, cut the center out of each cupcake and fill to overflowing with the apple filling. 
  2. Pipe the whipped cream topping on top of each cupcake (don’t completely hide the cupcake) and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Fireball Cupcakes Recipe

Ta-da! My recipe yields 12 cupcakes. Garden photoshoot followed by dessert picnic is optional, but highly recommended. Cheers! 😉

Starbucks Summer Picnic Essentials

Starbucks

Time for some summer refreshment! My friends at Starbucks sent me all of the essentials required for the perfect summer picnic. These cool treats taste especially amazing while relaxing at a park, by the way. I adore all of them, but I’m living for the Mocha Coconut Frappucino. SO good. Read on for everything you need to stock your shelves with from Starbucks for your next summer picnic!

Starbucks Iced Coffee

Ah, an old love! You may remember me gushing all about these beauties a few summers ago when I first fell in love with these delicious and handy refreshments. Bottled Starbucks Iced Coffee is a blend of premium Starbucks coffee and 2 percent milk, inspired by the coffee blend and flavors used in the handcrafted Iced Coffee beverages served in Starbucks cafes. Flavors include Starbucks Iced Coffee + Milk, Starbucks Low Calorie Iced Coffee + Milk, Starbucks Vanilla Iced Coffee, and Starbucks Caramel Iced Coffee. It’s the perfect pick-me-up for those hot summer days when you’re running out the door and need to grab something in a hurry.

Starbucks Bottled Frappucino Coffee Drink

Starbucks has seriously upped the game in Frappucino flavor land. I’ve always been a fan of the classic Mocha, but now we have even more decadent varieties like Smores and Mocha Coconut. Yes, I said Mocha Coconut. And it will probably not be the last time I say it in this post because it is delicious and I am obsessed. Mocha Coconut.

Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Coffee Drink

Seriously, where has this been all my life?! This espresso goodness is supercharged with 20 grams of protein and is basically about to become my breakfast drink of choice forever and ever. I’d say it’s a good pre-gamer for your day of picnicing.

Starbucks Iced VIA

Need an easy way to whip up some coffee in the park? Shake up some VIA instant coffee in your water bottle! It’s specifically designed to mix with cold water and brew up instant coffee that tastes just as rich as regular Starbucks coffee – without the wait!

Classic Starbucks Cold Cup with Straw

Everyone needs a classic Starbucks cold cup. I feel like Starbucks just tastes better in one of these, right? Also, it helps to keep your coffee goodness cold when you’re out in the summer heat.

Add a colorful throw and a Dorothy-esque picnic basket like my friends at Starbucks sent me and you’re good to go. Happy Starbucksing this summer and beyond!