Easy, Breezy Italy

Loved, loved, loved receiving this feedback from Jaime and Matt!  Not just because they had such a fabulous time in Italy, but because it was the little touches (great guides, fabulous and reliable drivers, pre-arranged train tickets, and helpful concierges) that made such an impression on them. Anyone can plan a trip to Italy, but a true travel professional knows how to make it all seamless so that you can just relax and enjoy the ride 🙂

Hi Ann!

We can’t thank you enough for your amazing planning expertise. Our trip was wonderful and your itinerary made it so easy.  I could have seen us making some mistakes with language barriers and perhaps booking trains and maybe making an error so we both agreed it felt so nice to have a professional take care of all the arrangements so we could just relax and enjoy!! Not to mention the hotels were amazing and in great locations.

I’ll start with Aer Lingus… really nice flight, the red eye on the way there was a bit difficult. I was a zombie pretty much the first day but we did push through as you recommended and I was fine the next day. On the way back, Aer Lingus was a bit hard to find in the airport in Venice but we also arrived 3 hours early so we had to wait for them to set up their check in. That could be a bit confusing for people if they arrive early like we did… also Aer Lingus seemed to share check in space with Jet Blue. The flight back was much better as we got back around 8 pm from Boston and it was really 2 am for us so we were able to go right to sleep and then wake up this morning being fully rested and ready to go to work. It was helpful that we cleared security in Dublin and when we made it back to Boston we were already done. It was nice you gave us a heads-up because that could potentially be a bit confusing it seemed like we had to go through twice.

Our driver who met us at the airport in Rome was wonderful and awaited us with a sign with our names. Made it super easy and nice to have someone waiting. He even bought us a cappuccino since our driver was running a few minutes behind schedule but our driver was amazing! So helpful, informative and spoke great English… I would definitely use Rome Cabs again!

River Palace was awesome! The people at the desk were so helpful and informative. They gave us a complimentary bottle of wine. The hotel was in a great location. We felt very safe and were able to walk to sites. The concierge provided a map and circled places of interest, called cabs, and were just generally friendly and helpful. It really felt like a little home for the few days we were there. I loved all the detail you provided on the itinerary about local city tax and credit card for incidentals… etc… just helped us know what to expect. The concierge also confirmed our tours for us!

We loved our tour guide for our Colosseum tour. His name was Gigi he was so passionate about the information and very funny! The only thing I would say about this tour is again we arrived very early to the meeting place and were a little worried because it wasn’t an office it was just a park, but as soon as it got closer to the time of the tour we saw plenty of people also waiting, i think initially we just weren’t sure we were in the right place.

Our Vatican tour was also really great, we liked that the meeting place was in an office and we actually showed up right on time for this one so we were very lucky it was easy to find!

Next we set off for the Naples train station. We were happy you shared to be vigilant. We didn’t run into any problems but we did witness a man take advantage of some ladies traveling alone. He grabbed their luggage despite their protest and took the bags on the train, then he stood there until they gave him some money and when they gave him one euro he was not happy and let them know it!! Just another heads-up story for people about the train station. He wasn’t in uniform but wore clothes very similar to one and was sort of an imposter, asking to see people’s tickets to try to confuse them into thinking that he was an employee and then grabbed their bags and demanded tips.

Next we met our absolute favorite driver!! His name was Carmine and he was just the sweetest! He was practically giving us a tour on our drive and was super friendly! The only thing was we thought we could pay by credit card and he said it was cash only so we were just happy we had enough…

Posa Posa was a great hotel in Positano. It was more basic and more beachy feeling with a tile floor and just basic furniture, did not have a luxury feel like the Rome hotel but we were happy with the mix. Plus, the balcony was amazing! We literally woke up to a view of the sea, it had a table and chairs out there so we were able to sit and drink wine and relax!! That was our same view for the breakfast each morning as well! The people working at this hotel were also very nice and helpful with anything we needed. It was a great location. A few restaurants in Positano that we greatly recommend are di Vincenzo’s, Constantinos, and a very cool experience where you get taken to a place without a menu and they serve you a 6 course meal for 40 euros made by “mama” called La Tagliata. We hiked the Path of the Gods while we were there and took a boat to Capri which we recommend. Our driver back to Naples was also very nice, (he knows you) Fabrizio.

honeymoon couple in front of Italian grotto

The trains that you booked were fast and easy. We loved not having to purchase tickets and just having to hand them to the staff!!!

Our Florence hotel was amazing!!! So swanky haha… the breakfast was quite impressive!! They hooked us up with some champs, and aperitivo, when we arrived.  I think if we had to do it all over again, we would have done one more night to explore more in Florence and one less night in Venice, just our personal preference.

The only time we “messed up” was we didn’t realize you booked our rental car pick up at 10 am and we didn’t show up until 12-1. It didn’t end up being an issue. We picked up the car and put it in a lot so we could spend a few more hours exploring Florence before driving out into the countryside.

The next part of the trip was probably our favorite!!! We absolutely loved Radda in Chianti! The view from our room in our hotel looked like a back drop or a painting!!! We absolutely loved this hotel and Linda our favorite receptionist. She sent us to 3 wineries, one a small family run and two others, one was a castle, and one an old monastery.  We did not expect so much history on our wine tasting tour but it was so interesting!! The mom and pop winery gave us a free tour and tasting and of course we bought some amazing wine! But it was pretty cool to have a private tour and see how the wine is made, and a private tasting as well!!!! We also drove to check out San Gimignano and Siena  — very cool to explore. Returning the car was very easy and the car came with a gps which made navigation a breeze.

a view like a painting! Honeymoon at Radda in Chianti, Italy

Our least favorite part of our trip was Venice. It’s very cool to see because it’s unique, but we just loved the other places so much more. The hotel there was just ok compared to the others as well as the concierge and location. We had been so spoiled though to be honest… we got off the train and found the water bus without a problem… it was only 7 euro each for a one way, and only took about 45 minutes, plus the boat ride was pretty cool. We did the same on the way back to the airport, all the people at the waterbus ticket stations spoke English and were able to explain exactly what to do to catch the waterbus back to the airport. It was only 15 euro each and took about 1 hour and 30 minutes as opposed to 30 minutes with a private taxi. We were happy to save a few bucks here and it worked out with our flight times so we didn’t mind that it took a bit longer. We didn’t really feel like we even needed too much time in Venice as we were kind of spent on seeing churches and sites and just wanted to chill at this point.

a honeymoon in Italy wouldn't be complete without Venice

The only other thing we wished was that we gave ourselves a bit more spending money in our overall budget because we did end up spending twice as much as we thought we would. We never skipped wine at dinner and always had more than one course haha… plus we shopped a bit to bring back wine and leather 😬

a happy man across a huge pizza in Italy

Overall we felt like our itinerary was a great mix of adventure, relaxation, sight seeing, and learning/ touring. Italy is our new favorite place and we absolutely want to return!!! The people were great, food amazing, views incredible, wine delicious, and just overall history and culture so interesting and impressive.

a smiling honeymooner on a wall with beautiful rolling Italian hills

Thank you so much for your time and attention to detail with planning this trip. We kept mentioning how incredible it was that after only meeting once, we felt like you completely got our vision and nailed it!! We loved that you yourself have used some of the vendors on your own trips! We will definitely be calling you as soon as we save up for our next trip and send our friends your way!!

With gratitude,

Jaime and Matt

Wine, whiskey and waterfalls in the Finger Lakes

As a native New Yorker, I’m certainly aware of the Finger Lakes area, and have driven through it en route to Niagara Falls, but I have to admit I did not know much about it as a tourist destination of its own until my clients Corey and Jen decided to honeymoon there. In putting together their itinerary, I discovered all sorts of great places to stay, eat, and explore. And it sounds like they loved every minute of it! Thank you Corey and Jen for opening my eyes to a fantastic vacation destination that’s practically in my own back yard.


Thanks for helping out with our honeymoon.  It was great!  Here’s my review of everything we did and hopefully this helps you out when other clients consider the Finger Lakes.  This area is a true gem that isn’t that well known around here.

In Canandaigua, we stayed at a quaint lakeside bed and break called Onanda by the Lake.  The owner, Linda, was a great host and made amazing breakfasts in the morning for her guests.  The rooms were immaculate and had a nice sitting room with a lake view or a garden view of the property.  Linda was very helpful with giving us ideas of what to do and where to eat. 

We arrived later in the day on Sunday and on the first night we took a dinner cruise on the Lady Canandaigua.  It’s an old Mississippi River paddle boat that use to be transportation on Canandaigua Lake.  The food was average at best but the atmosphere of the sunset cruise was really nice.  On Monday, we went wine tasting at three different vineyards; Arbor Hill Grapery, Inspire Moore , and Heron Hill Vineyard.   Arbor Hill and Inspire Moore were our favorites.  We ate lunch at the restaurant at the Inspire Moore vineyards called Roots.  Roots is an all organic restaurant that was absolutely delicious.  In the afternoon, we relaxed at Onanda Park.  Onanda Park is less than a 5 minute walk from Onanda by the Lake.  It has a swimming area and comfy Adirondack chairs to relax in.  For dinner that night we went to the New York Wine and Culinary center.  Here we were able to try wine and beer from all regions of New York.  They had tastings of white wine, red wine, dessert wine, beer, and distilled drinks.  The food was all locally grown in New York, much of the vegetables were grown at the gardens at the center.  On Tuesday, we hiked the hiking path in the woods behind Onanda by the Lake.  The path was a good walk through the woods and a ravine that was dry when we were there but might look better if it had rained more during the season.  We then went to lunch at Simply Crepes on Main Street in Canandaigua.  We had a delicious salad and then ordered the best dessert crepes that we have ever had.  Downtown Canandaigua had some nice quaint shops that we spent a few hours walking around and shopping.  After shopping, we went wine tasting at Hazlett Red Cat vineyards.  This was one of our favorite vineyards in the Finger Lakes area.  For dinner on Tuesday night we ate at MacGregor’s Grill & Tap Room.  They had a great selection of beer, hard ciders, and wine as well as amazing food.   The prices here were very reasonable for the amount of food we got. 

On Wednesday, we packed up from Onanda by the Lake and headed to Watkins Glen.  On the way there we stopped at the Belhurst Castle vineyard and walked around the castle.  The castle and the grounds are really nice looking but we weren’t fans of their wine.  There also wasn’t a tour of the castle as the rooms are used as a hotel and restaurants.   Once we arrived in Watkins Glen, we walked down the main street that was by the hotel to an old general store for nice ice cream and old fashion candy.  They also had a cool old pinball machine that was playing for a while.  After that we went to the Watkins Glen State Park and hiked the gorge and waterfall trail.  This was absolutely beautiful and would recommend this to anyone who ever visits the area.  That night we went to dinner at an Italian restaurant called Jerlando’s Pizza Co.   The food there was delicious and fresh.   After dinner we took a romantic walk on the Seneca Lake Boardwalk and the breakwall of the harbor during sunset.  The sunset was really nice here. 

The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel was amazing.  The beds were comfortable and the rooms were extremely nice and clean.  The people who run the hotel are all extremely nice and helpful with anything you want.  On Thursday, we took a wine tour with a private town car.  The tour was from Quality Wine Tours.  The driver was really nice and knowledgeable.   We were able to visit 7 vineyards and 1 distillery during our 6 hour tour.  We visited the Finger Lakes Distilling which had really good gin, vodka, and bourbon whiskey.  We also did wine tastings at Pompous Ass Winery, Standing Stone Vineyards, Penguin Bay, Miles Estate, JR Dill, Atwater Estate, and Red Newt Wine Cellar.  We also ate lunch at the Red Newt vineyard.  We got a cheese platter as an appetizer and fresh sandwiches for lunch.  The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel setup the wine tour and was able to give us a few free passes and other discounts to these vineyards.  The hotel had a nice restaurant that we were able to eat outside.  The food was good but the service was slow.  We also got to enjoy the pool and hot tub for an hour that night.  On Friday, we traveled to Corning to visit the Corning Museum of Glass.  We made our own glass Christmas ornaments and also made glass sculptures.  The museum was really cool and they had a great gift shop with many types of glass and glass products.  For dinner on Friday night we ate outside by the lake at Blue Pointe Grille.  The food here was delicious but the area was a big buggy.  They had live music too by the patio.  That night, we also went out for drinks at the hotel bar.  We sat by the firepit and relaxed and drank local beverages.   On Saturday, we packed up and headed home.  Our drives there and home took around 6 hours with one stop each time.

The honeymoon was great and there was lots more to do in the area that we didn’t have time to get to.  There are lots of different waterfalls and gorges to hike, the Watkins Glen motor speedway if you are into cars and racing would be a good place to visit as well.  There seemed to be a few golf courses in the area as well.  Also, from Canandaigua it is a 2 hour and 15 minute drive to Niagara Falls and a 90 minute drive to Letchworth state park (the Grand Canyon of the east).       

Corey & Jen

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)