Fall for Massachusetts’ Fall Destinations

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Fall is one of our favorite times here in New England, not only for the fab footwear we get to wear, but also for the fantastic fall foliage and local festivities we are lucky enough to enjoy. Here are some of our top spots to visit in our hometown of Massachusetts this season, and a few fall shoes to help you stay comfortable while you’re here.

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Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts: Experience some of the most beautiful foliage Fall has to offer in the quaint town of Shelburne Falls. Folks come from all over to leaf peep and view the Bridge of Flowers, a former trolley track turned gorgeous garden, housing over five hundred different varieties of perennials and annuals, from late spring to early fall. Another must-see: the Glacial Potholes, a collection of over fifty whirling pools left by the glacial age, over 14,000 years ago, and the site of the largest natural pothole on record. While you’re there, be sure to check out old town treasures like the Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley – one of the oldest in the country – and Gould’s Maple Sugarhouse for a pancake breakfast with local maple syrup. To see the sights in style and stay comfortable all day long, we suggest our Thurston Moc Boot for the guys and our Cobb Hill Willa Bow Slip On for the ladies.

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Pictured: Thurston Moc Boot ($140) | Cobb Hill Willa Bow Slip On ($130)

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Salem, Massachusetts: The old and historic town of Salem is a great place to visit year-round but truly comes to life in the fall. Check out Haunted Happenings for attractions and events, including guided tours, theatrical performances, haunted houses and hayrides. If you’re looking to learn about the famous Salem Witch Trials of 1692, the most popular attraction is the Salem Witch Museum, featuring exhibits with live narrations and guided tours. You can also stop by the House of the Seven Gables, the country’s oldest wooden mansion, and the inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 novel. While you’re walking around the ‘’haunted neighborhood’’ of the Salem Witch Village, be sure to wear comfortable shoes like our Colle Mid Lace Up and our Ariell Lace to Toe, both of which offer removable Ortholite® footbeds for lightweight, breathable cushioning. In black, perhaps.

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Pictured: Colle Mid Lace Up ($125)| Ariell Lace to Toe ($90)

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Boston, Massachusetts: Fall is one of the best times of the year to visit Boston, when the air is crisp and cool and the city is alive with festivities. One of the biggest events, The Head of the Charles Regatta, brings the world’s best crew teams to Boston, this year on October 21st– 22nd.  From beer and food to film and art, there seems to be a festival for everyone this time of year in the city. Check out Sam Adams Octoberfest for beer, live music and a stein hoisting competition, or Pumpkin Palooza at the Lawn on D for some Halloween-themed fun for the whole family. For a dose of colonial history, take the famous Freedom Trail Walking Tour. It’s 2.5 miles long so be sure to wear comfortable kicks like our Colle Slip On and our Cobb Hill Willa High Top.

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Pictured: Colle Slip On ($120) | Cobb Hill Willa High Top ($140)

Find more comfortable styles for your next Massachusetts adventure for men & women here.

How One Man Walked All of NYC in His Rockports

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William Helmreich, native New Yorker, writer and professor of sociology at the City College of New York, has walked almost every street in New York City. He’s the author of award winning “The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City” and “The Brooklyn Nobody Knows” – the first of five planned walking guides, one for each borough of New York City. We got the chance to catch up with him on the highs and lows of his journey and why Rockport is his shoe of choice.   

You walked more than 6,000 miles for your first book about exploring the city, The New York Nobody Knows. What inspired you to do this? When I was nine years old, my father and I played a game called “Last Stop.” We took a subway from the 103rd Street station on Manhattan’s Upper West Side to the last stop, switching to other subways as needed. When we ran out of last stops, we’d go to the second to last, third, fourth, etc. Exiting, we’d walk around the neighborhoods. In this way I learned about and developed an appreciation for this wonderful city. One discovery I made was when I saw people pulling fish out of the water in Throgs Neck, the Bronx. I had always thought they came from the fish store on 104th Street. Who knew! I was a city boy.

How long did the entire 6,000 mile journey take you? I covered 6,048 miles or 121,000 blocks in about four years. Thirty miles a week, 120 a month, 1,500 a year. Four times 1,500 and you’re there! That’s about how big the city is, according to the Sanitation Department. It’s equivalent to walking from New York City to Los Angeles and back as the crow flies and then another 971 miles to St. Louis.

We’re honored that your Rockports have been with you every step of the way. Why are they your favorite shoes? I love these shoes for several reasons. First, they’re the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. I’ve never even gotten a blister and that’s largely because they’re wide in the front and cushioned all around inside and out. Second, many of your styles are lightweight and make me feel as though I’m walking on air. The shoes attach to my feet as snugly as a glove on my hand. Third, the styles are very attractive and I’ve gotten many compliments about how cool they look. Fourth, they’re very durable shoes. I walked 816 miles on the hard concrete sidewalks of Brooklyn, using up just two pairs.

What is your favorite Rockport style to wear on your travels and why? My favorite is the Get Your Kicks Walking Shoe. It’s very light, very comfortable, and has great style.

Tell us about one of your favorite experiences while on the road… I can’t pick just one… The first is meeting Savas, a man who lives in a cave in Inwood Hill Park, Upper Manhattan. He’s not homeless. He’s not a panhandler. He just loves living in the outdoors and being in touch with nature. He’s 84 years old, in seemingly very good health, and this is his home.

Second is the Gingerbread House: This gorgeous, one of a kind home is a “Hansel & Gretel style gingerbread house” built in 1916. It’s located at 8200 Narrows Avenue, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. It has a thatch-like roof, stained-glass windows, solid stone and can be purchased for 11 million dollars. Former Mafia chieftain, Carlo Gambino lived across the street at one time. You can read more about this and Brooklyn’s 43 other neighborhoods in my recently published, The Brooklyn Nobody Knows: An Urban Walking Guide.

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Third, in front of 1430 E. 70th Street in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn is a most amazing sight. It’s a cherry tree filled with 1,140 stuffed animals and other toys. Some neighbors like it, others are apathetic about it, and still others hate it. But all of them agree it must be seen to be believed.photo (6)

Also in Brooklyn, there’s a real gem of a mural on Coney Island Avenue near Avenue R. It depicts the stages of human communication through all of history, as told by Verizon.photo (5)

You’re writing books about each of the five boroughs. Do you have a favorite? I like them all. Every borough is fascinating. But sometimes you have to work harder at it. Manhattan has probably the greatest number of interesting aspects, but Queens also has many. How about a museum in the Bellerose section dedicated totally to the artworks of the mentally ill whose work is often tremendously creative? How about standing in front of NYC’s tallest tree in Douglaston, Queens? It’s a tulip poplar, 133.8 feet high and estimated to be about 450 years old.

What changes have you witnessed in the city over the years? People are much more likely to talk to strangers than they were in the past. In part, it’s because there is far less crime today. Also, kids don’t play in the street much anymore and I think technology–video games, cell phones, and the like– plays an important role in that. The city’s population has become much more diverse due to immigration, Also, the economic revival of the city and the service sector expansion has made it into a magnet, attracting hundreds of thousands of young Americans from all over the country.

What do you hope readers walk away with after reading your books? An understanding of how fascinating this city is and an appreciation of how important walking is for capturing its inner soul. Walking forces one to slow down and take it all in. Driving and bicycling is too fast. I can’t tell you how much I would have missed if I hadn’t walked it. And, as any physician will tell you, walking is also terrific exercise and doing so in a city is far more interesting than walking on a treadmill.

Aside from writing, what are some of your other passions? Playing tennis and basketball, walking and hiking, traveling, reading and being with my family.

We have to ask: You love your Get Your Kicks sneakers, but do you have your eye on any other Rockport styles for your next borough walk? The Power Pace is reportedly very comfortable, and I like the streamlined look. The Catalyst 3 has enough room for your toes, is high quality, and has a great appearance. The Redemption Road is also intriguing because it has good shock absorption and looks really neat. Many people judge others by what they wear and all of these shoes I would want to be seen.

We can’t wait to see where Bill’s Rockports take him next. We’re hoping it’s Boston. 

Five Cities, Five Shoes: Spring Style for the Season’s Hottest Events

As the saying goes, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Then comes April, one of our favorite months and one of the best months to seek out a new city for festivals and fun as the weather starts to mellow. Read on for five of our favorite cities, the events we’ll be checking out this April, and the shoes we’ll be wearing to them.header

Coachella – Coachella Valley, California

Coachella is so much more than a music festival…it’s a festival of the arts. With two weeks to choose from this year (April 14–16 & 21–23), there’s no shortage of things to do, from eating delicious food to enjoying world class art, all while listening to some of the best music out there. And let’s not forget one of our favorite facets of the festival: the people watching. From fashionistas to free spirits, the crowd is a captivating and diverse one.

As for the footwear, it’s all about fun styles that will keep your feet comfortable all day long. For the ladies, the Cobb Hill Hollywood Cuff Sandal evokes a boho vibe with a thick ankle cuff and wood grain finish. An anatomically molded EVA footbed with a slight wedge heel gives a little lift while offering the comfort of a flat. For the guys, the Gryffen Mudguard Slip-On features cool and breathable canvas uppers, plus lightweight shock absorption with the ease of a slip-on shoe. Both will have you festival-ready all weekend long.Coachella

Pictured: Cobb Hill Hollywood Cuff ($100) | Gryffen Mudguard Slip-On ($80)

Boston Marathon – Boston, Massachusetts

The Boston Marathon is the marathon of all marathons – and not just because it takes place here in our hometown. It’s the world’s oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the most prestigious road racing events.  Every year on Patriots’ Day (the third Monday in April), thousands of avid, world-class runners compete, including Olympic runners from all over the world. Alongside the runners, thousands of folks come out to cheer from the sidelines as they pass by. For spectators both male and female, our shoe of choice are our lace-up truFLEX sneakers. With a molded Ortholite footbed that’s leather-lined and moisture-wicking and an EVA spine with a snap-back and spring-forward energy return system, the truFLEX collection will keep you comfortable from start to finish, even if you choose to go the 26.2 miles yourself.

Speaking of marathons, here’s a fun fact: a former Rockport staff member once completed the New York City Marathon wearing our DresSports men’s dress shoes (they feel that much like sneakers!).Marathon

Pictured: Women’s truFLEX Lace to Toe ($120) | Men’s truFLEX Plain Toe ($130)

Tribeca Film Festival – New York, New York

The 16th annual Tribeca Film Festival, where creators and community members come together in celebration of film, culture and art, will take place on April 19– 30 this year. The international festival welcomes actors, directors and stories that span a variety of backgrounds and budgets and features everything from traditional film and TV to virtual reality and interactive installations, plus talks with the best storytellers in the world. It’s the ultimate destination for film fans and festival lovers alike. Oh, and as for the shoes, we’re packing versatile styles that will take us from the films to industry fetes without a shoe swap. The Total Motion Adelyn Ghillie is a trend-forward flat with luxe suedes and gold accents, plus a built-in lightweight comfort system that provides shock absorption at the heel and rebound at the forefoot. For the guys, the Jaxson Wingtip is one of our favorite styles of the season. With interesting details and color pops, it can be dressed up or down and worn all day long, thanks to a sublime, padded footbed.

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Pictured: Total Motion Adelyn Ghillie ($120) | Jaxson Wingtip ($150)

 

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The Great American Foodie Fest – Las Vegas, Nevada

Calling all foodies and food truck lovers! The Great American Foodie Fest (April 27-30) in Vegas is a must visit in April. The festival features more than 50 food trucks from all over the country and some of the best specialty food vendors and restaurants out there, many of which you may have seen on the Food Network, Cooking Channel & Travel Channel. Also at the festival: carnival rides, a beer garden, tequila party tent, live entertainment and, naturally, an eating competition. Between all the activities and eating yourself silly, you’re going to want a super comfortable shoe. For the ladies, we love the Raelyn Knit Tie Sneaker. The knit upper is not only cute, but also super soft and breathable. Also breathable and uber comfortable: the Randle Mesh Slip-On with memory foam insoles is a smart slip-on for the guys.Food fest

Pictured: Raelyn Knit Tie Sneaker ($100) | Randle Mesh Slip-On ($85)

Chicago Cubs Opening Day at Wrigley Field – Chicago, Illinois

Last November, the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years. Needless to say, the defending champion’s home opener on April 10th at Wrigley Field will surely be a big event. After the game, experience everything Chicago has to offer, including world class museums, delicious restaurants and an amazing nightlife scene. For footwear, versatility will be in order. Our “Gabby” gladiator will go with your gamewear and keep you comfortable and stylish for your next destination.  For the guys, the Thurston Plain Toe features lightweight flexibility, moisture-wicking mesh and a memory foam footbed, and is a good looking shoe for a night on the town.  These shoe picks will have you gameday-ready and geared up for whatever else the city has in store.

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Pictured: Cobb Hill Gabby Bootie ($120) | Thurston Plain Toe ($125)

We’d love to see where your Rockports take you this April. Tag us in your photos on Instagram to share your adventures, using #madeformovers.

Image credits: Massachusetts.Heart.org | TribecaFilm.com | GreatAmericanFoodieFest.com | Chicago.Cubs.MLB.com

Escape Los Angeles: 24 Hours in Lake Arrowhead

Trevor Morrow Travel
Trevor Morrow is a travel writer and blogger based in Los Angeles, California. With a specialty in adventure and luxury travel, Trevor’s travel insights are regularly published across the web and on his travel blog, Trevor Morrow Travel. When he’s not globetrotting, Trevor can be found exploring Southern California.

Last week I was craving a change of scenery. Specifically, someplace quieter and colder where it might actually feel like fall — a season that evades Los Angeles.

For inspiration, I pulled up Google Maps and clicked around Southern California, looking for places within driving distance that would satisfy my criteria. Within a few minutes, I’d zoomed in on San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County’s neighbor to the east. Home to the Mojave Desert, Joshua Tree and pine tree-laden mountain forests, it’s full of adventure and far-away-feeling places that aren’t actually too far.

I decided the county’s rugged San Bernardino Mountains, specifically the area surrounding Lake Arrowhead, would be the perfect choice.

But a perfect mountain escape first and foremost requires a perfect cabin to stay in. Luckily, I’d heard of a place called Arrowhead Pine Rose Cabins, a collection of storybook-worthy cabins nestled at 5,800 feet elevation in the tiny town of Twin Peaks (just 10 minutes up the mountain from Lake Arrowhead). So, I booked cabin #9 (a.k.a. The Eagle’s Nest) and informed my girlfriend that we’d be going on an adventure!

Trevor Morrow - Arrowhead Pine Rose CabinsOur cabin at Arrowhead Pine Rose Cabins

Since we’d be gone for just 24 hours, I packed light, bringing only one pair of shoes — my Rockport Boat Builders D-Ring Plaintoe Boots. Comfortable, sturdy and stylish, these boots can go from light hikes in the woods, to providing sure footing while carrying firewood, to walking around town, to a mountain dinner. On top of all that, I just felt good wearing them.

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When we arrived in the early evening, after a two-hour drive from LA, the temperature had dropped to a refreshing 45 degrees, and the air was sweet with the smell of smoke from nearby chimneys. A more ideal welcome to the mountains couldn’t have been possible.

That night, I picked up a bundle of wood from Pine Rose’s lobby and built a fire in our fireplace. Nothing could beat the cozy ambiance of our cabin, so we stayed in and whipped up some soup and grilled cheese in our compact full kitchen.

Trevor Morrow - Arrowhead Pine Rose Cabins
The next morning, we woke up late (thanks to the comfortable king bed we didn’t want to leave) and hungry.

When it comes to places to grab breakfast in these parts, there aren’t many options — but there doesn’t need to be when there’s Hungry Bear Deli.

Hungry Bear Deli

A ten-minute drive along roller coaster roads from our cabin, Hungry Bear Deli in the mini-town of Skyforest is the place to grab a breakfast sandwich. Follow my lead and order the bacon, egg and cheese on a toasted everything bagel, along with a Volcano, a cappuccino so sweet and creamy it’s almost like a hot milkshake.

Back outside, the late morning air smelled of pine trees and changing leaves, and it looked and felt like fall. I breathed it all in and smiled, happy to have found exactly what I was looking for.

Rockport Boat Builders D-Ring Boot
From Skyforest we drove 10 minutes down a winding road to Lake Arrowhead Village, a bustling Bavarian-styled collection of shops and restaurants set along the lake. It’s worth a visit, but if you arrive full (if hungry try Belgian Waffle Works or The Lakefront Tap Room), aren’t in the mood to shop or don’t have kids (there’s a playground and an old merry-go-round) you won’t need to visit for longer than an hour.

Trevor Morrow Travel
Post stroll, we drove back up the mountain to Skyforest to peruse the two antique shops, At The Cabin (located next door to Hungry Bear) and Bella’s Antiques (located across the street from Hungry Bear). Surprisingly, both were packed with incredible, one-of-a-kind finds. And although we wanted to spend hundreds of dollars, we showed restraint, leaving with only a framed Outdoorsman magazine cover from 1946, bought for me by my girlfriend as a thank you for the getaway.

By now we were hungry again, so we walked across the street to Lou Eddie’s, a pizza place and microbrewery recommended by every local I spoke with. The ambiance was warm and inviting, the staff was incredibly friendly and most importantly, the pizza was delicious (and not delicious for a little restaurant up in the mountains, delicious for anywhere). As an added bonus, our bus boy said he really liked my boots and asked me who made them!

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Nearing the end of our trip, we made one final stop — the Strawberry Peak fire lookout. Manned by United States Forest Service volunteers, the fire lookout tower is used to spot forest fires in the surrounding mountains and the volunteers are more than happy to welcome visitors inside and tell them all about their job, the history of the tower and the sights seen from it. Personally, I know few better ways to end a trip than by taking in a breathtaking view.

Strawberry Peak Fire Lookout

After an on-the-go day, we swung by our cabin to gather our belongings and hit the road back to Los Angeles.

As we descended thousands of feet, from high up the mountain to back down into the hustle, bustle and palm trees that Southern California is known for, we knew it wouldn’t be long before we’d be heading back up that mountain, ready to do it all over again.

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Find more of Trevor’s travel & style inspiration by following @TrevorMorrow on Instagram.

This Port71 guest blogger received compensation in exchange for his post. All opinions are the blogger’s own.

Que Syrah, Syrah: Autumn in NorCal’s Wine Country

Autumn in Wine Country

Hi everyone! I’m so happy to return with more tips and insights into life in the Wine Country. My blog, A Mused, focuses on Northern California style and wine country culture. Whether you’re seeking advice on the perfect outfit for wine tasting, or family fun events, I’ve got you covered. After reading today’s post, be sure to head over to my blog for more outfits and travel ideas.

Fall in the Wine Country of Northern California is a thing of beauty and splendor. The vineyards, which stretch across the valleys and hills of Sonoma County, quickly change from lush green livery to a dazzling display of orange, red, and yellow leaves. The grape harvest, also known to locals as “The Crush,” usually begins around the autumn equinox. Large, towering vineyard fans or heaters will begin appearing in the Napa and Alexander Valleys around this time, as to prevent frost from developing on the precious grapes. The sound they create is a low and soothing hum. As the fruit matures on the vine, a bittersweet scent fills the air; it’s Syrah season.

Amber in Christy Waterproof Boots
Life in Sonoma County Wine Country is full of multifaceted cultures and traditions: from the family owned and operated wineries, to the farm hands that fuel the local restaurants, there is always more to this area than what meets the eye.

One of the highlights of Sonoma County is its farming culture. Many name brands that you may recognize from your local grocery store are from here: Clover Dairy Farms, Amy’s Kitchen, Taylor Maid Coffee, and Cowgirl Creamery*  are all proud Sonoma County businesses.

With the changing of the vineyards and the beginning of the crush season, many local residents begin to look forward to another seasonal harvest: the annual pumpkin patch in Petaluma. While there are certainly several pumpkin patches to choose from in the area, there is only one that can back up traffic along the 101. Complete with a corn maze, homemade cookies, and rows of bright sunflowers, the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch is a destination that families look forward to visiting year round.

I absolutely love wandering along the Petaluma Marina marshes, especially at twilight. The river that runs through downtown, along with the marina’s thick fog, creates a magical atmosphere at sunrise and sunset. Dressing in layers is especially important as the temperatures often fluctuate.

In addition to layers, the time I spend by the riverfront always calls for comfortable shoes. I went with the Christy Waterproof Tall Boot for my last weekend outing. With added cushion and support, my Christy boots are essential for all of my long walks. They don’t feel stiff like other rain boots; in fact, they don’t look like rain boots at all. They’re a classic tall boot that keep my feet comfortable and have the added benefit of being waterproof.

I like to end my time along the Marina with friends at one of my favorite local restaurants – either Della Fattoria or Sugo Trattoria –  it’s the perfect way to close the day!

Autumn in Wine Country

Autumn in Wine CountryAutumn in Wine Country

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Looking for more local insider tips on where to visit and shop in
Sonoma County? Visit my blog, A Mused, and search under the Local tab!

Photography: Stephanie Malilong Photography

*Cowgirl Creamery, located in Point Reyes is technically a Marin County business. The SoCo locals claim it anyway!

Find more of Amber’s style inspiration by following @AMusedBlog on Instagram.

This Port71 guest blogger received compensation in exchange for her post. All opinions are the blogger’s own.

How to Pretend You’re from Boston

Adam Infantino is a world traveler, vegan, coffee lover, and Pokémon Go aficionado. When he’s not traveling to China, the Adirondacks or his beloved Boston, you can find him at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, OH, where he studies marketing and management, music, Chinese, and philosophy (yes, you read that right) and works for the school’s marketing department, blogging and creating content for the school’s social media channels. Adam put these skills to use at his recent internship at Rockport HQ. Here, Adam shares what he loves about the greatest city on Earth: Boston. (Ok, ok. We’re biased.)

Adam French Pressed Coffee

Boston is an incredible city. I’m from Rochester, NY, but for the longest time I’ve been a Boston sports fan (mostly because the first Super Bowl I ever watched was SB 39 when the Pats won it all). As you can imagine, I take every opportunity I can to visit.

Boston has about a million and one things to offer, and on a recent weekend, my friends and I decided to take the city up on some of these offerings.

I started the day by making breakfast for all of us. Nothing like french pressed coffee and oatmeal to kick off a stellar day.

If you’ve never had French pressed coffee, let me take some time to say that it’s absolutely worth the investment. Instantly better quality coffee at home, for a fraction of the price you pay at a coffee shop. Not to imply that visiting coffee shops isn’t one of my favorite activities on this planet.

When you’re exploring a city as magnificent as this one, you must make sure you have comfortable shoes. You don’t want your puppies barking when you’re only 1/3 of the way through your adventure.

For most of my journey, I chose the Ledge Hill 2 Chukka Boot. These boots are great looking and make your feet think they are inside running shoes.

Lesson 1 on pretending you’re from Boston: Newbury Street.

Charles River, Boston, MA

This place has everything: 30 different coffee shops, brunch spots, even a t-shirt bakery! And obviously, many MANY different clothing stores. You’ve probably caught on that I’m a sucker for great coffee and stylish shoes, so I was drowning in options.

After walking the entirety of Newbury Street, we decided it was time to see Boston from a different perspective. Where better than atop the Prudential Center Building? You can see the entire city, but even then it’s still impossible to grasp how amazing this city is.

Lesson 2 on pretending you’re from Boston: The Museum Scene.

MFA

If you’re not a museum person I really urge you to reconsider. The Museum of Fine Arts (featured above) is amazing, and incredibly large. I actually got lost in it. But be warned: you’ll need at least 3 hours to fully appreciate the works of art in this building.

There is also the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which is a walk away from the MFA and has an awesome story attached to it: in 1990, 13 of the museum’s works were stolen. The case remains unsolved still today!

It goes without saying that when you’re in Boston you have to at least walk through the Fenway Park area, even if you can’t make a game. There is so much history in that stadium, it’s overwhelming.
Fenway Park

Lesson 3 on pretending you’re from Boston: The North End and Pastries.

The North End of Boston is what Little Italy is to New York City. There are endless Italian restaurants, most of which will be booked until 9:45 p.m. without a reservation, so plan ahead.

After you eat dinner, you really only have two options:
1.    Go to Mike’s Pastry and get a cannoli
2.    Go home sad and deprived of Mike’s Pastry

Mike's Pastry

Now I’m a vegan and unfortunately Mike’s does not have any vegan options, nor do most pastry shops in the North End, but worry not! I found satisfaction in vegan donuts at Jennifer Lee’s Gourmet Bakery in the Boston Public Market just a short walk away from the North End.

Boston Public Market

So there you have it, folks. Three ways to pretend you’re from the great city of Boston. If you’re planning a trip to Beantown soon (and I strongly encourage it), I hope you’re able to check out these wicked awesome spots (see how quickly I picked up the local lingo?).

Six Ways to Celebrate Fourth of July in New England

Fireworks in Boston

Break out your red, white and blue…it’s time to celebrate America’s birthday! The Fourth of July brings some of summer’s biggest bashes around the country, and while we may be biased, we think New England is one of the best places to spend the holiday. From fireworks to festivals to live music and reenactments, there is so much to do and see in New England on Independence Day. Whether you’re from the area or planning a trip, we’ve mapped out six of our favorite New England destinations to celebrate the occasion.

Boston, MA
Probably the largest celebration happens right in our hometown at the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular.  The Boston Pops Orchestra performs their Fourth of July Concert on the banks of the Charles River at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade.  The nationally televised concert is concluded with a spectacular fireworks display over the river. The marquee event brings more than 500,000 visitors to the city, and there are several great viewing spots along the river, such as Memorial Drive on the Cambridge side. Tip: get there early, pack a picnic, and prepare for crowds. Even better, if you have a boat or get a ticket for one of Boston’s charter cruises, you can get right under the action. The fireworks can be seen from all over Boston, including some restaurants, such as Top of the Hub,  and rooftops like the Lenox hotel.  Or grab a blanket and head over to the grassy hill at Castle Island in South Boston to catch them, and a few other nearby firework shows, over Boston Harbor. While you’re in town, there are several other all-American events you can partake in, such as the Reading of the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of the Old State House, just as it was read to the citizens of Boston on July 18, 1776 and several historical tours like Boston by Foot where you can walk the iconic Freedom Trail.

Bristol, RI
If you’re looking for a quintessential New England experience filled with history, head over to Bristol, Rhode Island. Bristol proudly hosts the oldest Fourth of July celebration in the country, dating back to 1785, only two years after the war ended. Known to be “the most patriotic town in the country,” Bristol boasts three weeks of festivities, starting with Flag Day. During this time there are carnivals, sporting events, concerts and more. The three-week-long celebration culminates with a huge fireworks display over the harbor on the third and a parade on the fourth. While you’re there, you can also visit the Bristol Waterfront Historic District, established in 1680.

Lobster Building in Maine

Bar Harbor, ME
If eating delicious New England seafood is more your thing, head over to Bar Harbor. Deemed as the #1 Fourth of July celebration in America by the Today Show, and recognized by National Geographic as one of the top ten in the U.S, Bar Harbor’s festivities include a blueberry pancake breakfast, fireworks on the harbor, a craft fair, live music, a parade and a seafood festival…hello, Maine lobster! The parade route winds through downtown Bar Harbor and features an annual theme. This year, it’s “Peace, Love, & the Fourth of July” to show the communities pride in our country. If you can, make a weekend out of your stay and explore all Bar Harbor has to offer, including bookstores, antique shops, galleries and gift shops along its picturesque waterfront. For the history buffs, visit the Abbe Museum,  a Smithsonian affiliate, which features exhibits and activities reflecting the history and cultures of Maine’s Native people, the Wabanaki.

Mystic, CT
For a unique Fourth of July experience with a dose of history, check out the Mystic Seaport Independence Day Celebration.  One of Connecticut’s great historical sites, Mystic Seaport takes you back to July 1876, allowing you to imagine you’re commemorating America’s Centennial. Events include a picnic lunch and game of croquet alongside re-enactors of 1876 Greenmanville residents. Other 19th century activities include crafts and ice cream churning lessons, along with live-reenactments.  In addition, enjoy boat races on the Mystic River, the Independence Parade, and a concert featuring the Mystic Silver Cornet Band, for a truly classic Americana experience. If you plan to extend your stay in Mystic, there is plenty more history to discover, like the last wooden whale-ship in the world, the Charles W. Morgan, and other exhibits that offer a unique perspective of our nation’s history. Be sure to check out the Mystic Aquarium, one of the nation’s leading aquariums, and home to Beluga whales, African penguins and Steller sea lions.

Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth’s annual American Celebration, hosted by Portsmouth’s Strawberry Banke Museum, puts on a charming ode to America, Independence Day and the joys of summer. Spend your holiday attending many festivities with something for everyone, from an old-fashioned field day to a 1940’s swing dance, and a Patriotic parade. The day is full of live music, food, history and fun, including a kids’ treasure hunt, historical garden tours and colonial cooking and basket weaving demonstrations.

Stowe, VT
For a classic New England experience, seek out Stowe’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July.  Perhaps best known as a ski destination, Stowe is a beautiful town to visit all year round. For the Fourth, the festivities include a day-long party, including a parade, music, food, a pie eating contest and The Stowe “World’s Shortest Marathon”. It’s a kid-friendly event full of face-painting, clowns, carnival attractions and even a pet parade. The annual field carnival at Mayo Farm is followed by an impressive fireworks display.

From all of us at Rockport HQ, we wish you a Happy Fourth of July!

Travel Easy With Our Top 10 Tips for Stress-Free Trips

Travel HeaderSummer travel. The exciting destinations, the memories made with family and friends…and the headaches that come with preparing for the trip. Whether you’re planning a trans-Atlantic jaunt with friends, or a trip to the next state with the kids, we have 10 sanity-saving travel tips that will put you on the fast track for vacation relaxation.

1.    Wear your bulkiest shoes when traveling to save space in your bags. If you pack additional pairs, fill them with socks; not only will you save room, but the socks will help hold the shape of your shoes.  Lighten your load with lightweight shoes that are flexible and can be manipulated to fit wherever you can find room.

2.    Roll or fold? Real Simple is here to save your relationship for those times you need to share a suitcase.  They suggest using both packing techniques (roll some things, fold others), depending on the clothing item.

3.    Place cling wrap under the caps of your shampoo and other travel toiletry bottles to create a better seal. This creates a second line of defense to reduce the chance of spilling. #Science

4.    If you carry re-usable water bottles when flying, roll your souvenir papers/tickets/maps and place them inside the bottle so that they don’t arrive home wrinkled or bent.
Maps in Bottle5.  Throughout your travels, dress comfortably while keeping in mind what the local weather could bring. Loose clothing, layered outfits, and sturdy shoes will make the trip all the more enjoyable. For women, a ballet flat can be dressed up or down, while the Total Motion Fusion is a versatile option for the guy who has both casual and dressier outings planned.

6.    Packing cubes not only help conserve space; they also make it easier to pre-plan outfits. This is also a good time to pick up shoe bags (or you could use disposable shower caps) to keep your travel worn shoes from touching your clothes. Learn how to use packing cubes from Practical Travel Gear.Travel necessities7.    Pack a smaller bag inside your carry-on bag, so when you settle into your flight, you don’t need to dig around your bag for your headphones or summer must-read. If you’re looking to add a new book to your nightstand or beach-reading list, the New York Times has us covered with “12 New Books We’re Reading this Summer (and six not so new).” For the kids, Scholastic has released their list of books that will ‘Keep Kids Reading All Summer Long.’

8.    Sitting for long periods of time can be exhausting… and not healthy. If you’re stuck at the airport or train station, take the time to get up and walk.
Airport floors are often harder on your feet (hello, cement!), so wear shoes with more cushion for shock absorption, like our truWALKzero or WALK360 collections, which offer comfort in spades.
Airport Walking9.    Pack versatile clothing that can be worn with multiple ensembles. A favorite cardigan does double duty as a warm layer on the plane, over a dress shirt at the conference, and paired with a LBD for date night. Pick and pack two to three color themes to make it easy to mix and match. Dress casual shoes or wedges can often be worn with work attire or a dress, while still looking great with a pair of jeans.

10.    Often the best way to explore a new place is on foot. You may find that small patisserie that only the locals know, or discover a hidden garden that opens up to a view of the countryside. Wherever you go, make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes.

Here are a few of our favorite apps to help you explore new destinations:
TripCase: This app keeps all of your itineraries in one place, as well as helps you find local activities and even reschedule your trip, if need be.
Flyover Country: If you have the window seat, or you’re just curious as to where in the world you actually are, you can enter your start and end points to follow the sights from 30,000 feet.
TripAdvisor: An oldie, but a goodie. We love TripAdvisor’s crowd-sourced travel reviews.
Roadtrippers: Plan your road trip and share the map with friends as you plan, or find new hidden gems along the way!

Our number one tip for stress-free travel: relax! Wherever your summer travels take you, remember to pause and take it all in.
Amalfi Coast

If you are traveling this summer in your Rockport shoes, be sure to share your adventures with us on social media. Tag Rockport, so that those of us not traveling may be suitably jealous.

Looking for trip inspiration? Check out this post about hiking in L.A. from travel blogger Trevor Morrow Travels.

What to Wear While Wine Tasting This Summer

A Mused Blog Wine Tasting

Amber is the author and editor of A Mused Blog – a place where she shares her musings on personal style, introspective essays, and the beauty of Northern California. 

Living in the Wine Country of Northern California is a delight for the senses. About an hour’s drive north of San Francisco, the Sonoma and Napa Counties offer a visual landscape comparable to the Tuscan countryside. Each and every winery here has its own distinct flare and offering. For example, Metlock Ames Winery in Alexander Valley has an organic garden, complete with fresh herbs; Longboard Winery in Healdsburg allows you to sip wine under surfboards collected from all around the world; and Castello di Amorosa boasts a castle made entirely of stones imported from Europe. Yet amidst all the spectacular destinations, it is the rolling green hills dressed with rows of vineyards heavy with grapes, the warm sunny days and crisp cool evenings, and the dramatic sunsets that take center stage here.
A Mused Blog Wine Tour in Rockport Total Motion PumpsWell, that and the food. One of the most popular dining destinations in Napa Valley is The French Laundry in Yountville. Renowned both locally and worldwide for its culinary delights, Thomas Keller has elevated the farm to table experience to a whole new level. To dine here is to plan ahead: reservations must be a made a month in advance. (A local tip: if you can’t make it to the restaurant, be sure to hop over to his local bakery instead: Bouchon)

While the culinary enthusiast may have French Laundry at the top of their list, the truth is that some of the very best dining is available right here on my side of the valley. To live in the Valleys is to be spoiled; I know that dining with a chef who has famously turned down a Michelin star (see my blog post about it at A Mused Blog) in order to keep his restaurant accessible to the locals, or falling asleep to the low hum of the vineyard fans is not something that everyone will have an opportunity to experience. But oh, I hope that some of you will!
A Mused Blog Wine Tour in Rockport Total Motion PumpsWhat should you wear when visiting Wine Country? My advice is to keep it simple, unfussy, a bit dressy, and down to earth. Californians are known for their relaxed attitude to style, and in the Valleys, that attitude is a full blown lifestyle. Ladies: Think denim or breezy maxi dresses. Men: Think a lightweight button down, and a relaxed pair of jeans.
Castello di AmorosaFor my visit to the Castello di Amorosa, I chose to wear my favorite pair of boyfriend jeans, an on-trend off the shoulder top, and the perfectly darling Total Motion Pointed Toe Pumps in blue floral print (so perfect with denim!).  I tend to describe my style as “California-relaxed” with boyish influences, and a bit of feminine flare. If jeans aren’t your thing, a light weight tunic with leggings, or a feminine maxi dress would suit just as well. A great wine will relax you and put you at ease; your clothing should follow suit!

Have you visited Napa or Sonoma Valley? If not, I hope you do someday soon!

Find more of Amber’s style inspiration by following her @AMusedBlog on Instagram.


This Port71 guest blogger received shoes from Rockport. All opinions are the blogger’s own. Photos: Sam Delaware

How to Hike Like a Local in Los Angeles

Trevor Morrow in Walk 360 Trail Low Hiking ShoesTrevor Morrow is a travel writer and blogger based in Los Angeles, California. With a specialty in adventure and luxury travel, Trevor’s travel insights are regularly published across the web and on his travel blog, Trevor Morrow Travel. When he’s not globetrotting, Trevor can be found day-tripping around Southern California.

I love living in Los Angeles.

It’s a melting pot of culture, cuisine and art where, for those with a sense of adventure, boredom doesn’t exist.

And of course, you can’t praise Los Angeles without mentioning our famously pleasant weather.

But what I love most about LA, is the city’s close proximity to nature. We not only have deserts, forests and snowy mountains all within a 2-hour drive, but we also have plenty of nature right in the middle of the city. The best example of which, is Griffith Park.Processed with VSCO with f2 presetAt 4,218 acres, Griffith Park is five times the size of New York’s Central Park and it’s my favorite city hike on account of its beauty, accessibility and the incredible views it affords.

On a recent Sunday, my girlfriend and I began our day with a morning hike at Griffith Park — starting at The Trails Cafe.The Trails CafeProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetThe Trails Cafe (known simply as “Trails”) is a true, locals-only kind of place. Seriously, I bet 9 out of 10 Angelenos have never even heard of it. In addition to tea and coffee drinks, the small shack of a building shaded by trees dishes out mouthwatering homemade scones, muffins, cookies, pies, quiches and sandwiches.

We ordered a bowl of granola and fruit with Trails’ homemade almond milk, a coconut and cardamom scone and an avocado sandwich — then took a lavender shortbread cookie and our coffees to go. Just a short walk up the road from Trails, you’ll find the trail-head that will lead you up the mountain (see map link at the end of the article for details).
The Trails CafeAs with any hike, it’s important to be prepared and comfortable — which is why I wore my Walk360 Trail Low hiking shoes. There can be some loose gravel and rocks along the way, and the traction and grip of the Walk360’s soles made conquering these segments of the trail a breeze. Plus, they’re super comfortable right out of the box, which is a hallmark of a good hiking shoe.Trevor Morrow HikingTrevor Morrow in Walk 360After a short hike up from Trails, you’ll cross West Observatory Road and meet up with the Mt. Hollywood Hiking Trail. From here, as you get higher, the views get better and better.
Trevor Morrow overlooking Los AngelesAlong the way, you’ll see the most incredible views of the city (from the downtown skyline to the Pacific Ocean), the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign. Trust me, you’ll never want to stop taking photos.
Trevor Morrow overlooking Los AngelesThe Mt. Hollywood Hiking Trail is easy to follow, and if you start at Trails, should take you about one hour and 30 minutes to reach the summit of Mt. Hollywood (but there’s no rush — take your time). At the summit, you’ll find a few picnic tables to relax at and 360-degree views of the entire Los Angeles basin.
Trevor Morrow overlooking Los AngelesAnd of course, what goes up, must come down.
Trevor Morrow Hiking with Walk360Click for a custom Google Map of this hike.

This is such a great hike, and there’s so much to see and learn about Griffith Park and the sights you can see from it that I actually started The Los Angeles Hiking Company and lead guided hikes here when I’m not traveling. So if you find yourself in LA, come hike with me!

There are so many hikes in the Los Angeles area that I can’t just tell you about one. For three more of my favorite hikes (that only hike-obsessed locals know about) check out the list below.

1.    Charmlee Wilderness Park – Malibu
Want to really escape the city? Head to Charmlee Wilderness Park in Malibu. More of a walk than a hike, Charmlee’s trails meander over gently rolling hills high above the Pacific Ocean — and the views are breathtaking (here’s a photo I took there).

After hiking, visit Malibu Wines for an outdoor wine tasting. It’s about a 20-minute drive up twisting and turning mountain roads from Charmlee.

2.    Paseo Miramar Trail – Pacific Palisades
Closer to the city but far enough away to feel like a little escape, Paseo Miramar Trail is a gorgeous, and moderately challenging, 5.5 mile out-and-back hike. At the end of the trail (the turn around point) you’ll get a commanding view of the entire city, the Pacific Ocean and Los Angeles coastline.

Afterwards, grab a beer and a burger at Gladstones, a beachfront restaurant just a stone’s through away.

3.    Stough Canyon Nature Center – Burbank
Stough Canyon Nature Center  is one of the most beautiful mountain areas near Los Angeles that no one seems to know about. Part of the towering San Gabriel Mountains, the trails at Stough Canyon seem to go on forever. Plus it’s never busy, even on weekends, so you can really find some peace a quiet (not to mention amazing views of the San Fernando Valley).

When you’re done, grab a tasty breakfast at Moore’s Delicatessen in Downtown Burbank.Trevor Morrow overlooking Los AngelesFind more of Trevor’s travel & style inspiration by following @TrevorMorrow on Instagram.

This Port71 guest blogger received compensation in exchange for his post. All opinions are the blogger’s own.

Jessica Quirk Shares Her Top Tips for Holiday Travel

Editor’s Note: Jessica Quirk, author of the blog ‘What I Wore’, has been taking photos of exactly that – what she wears – each day for more than eight years. When she’s not blogging, she’s a wife, mother, hat maker, knitter and reality TV show lover. Here she shares with us her tips for packing the essentials as we head into the busy holiday travel season.

All photos by Jessica Quirk/What I Wore.

What I Wore in her Rockport Seven to 7 BootiesShoes: Seven to 7 Ally High Bootie

Truth time: I do not love packing. But packing involves traveling, which is always a good thing! As we round the corner into the holiday season, that means many road trips for my little family. Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go!

First up – we had Thanksgiving! We spent the holiday with my sister-in-law, her husband and their darling newborn son. My mother and father in law joined us, as well! For us it’s a day all about cooking and eating, so I planned my wardrobe accordingly.

First and foremost I pick pieces with waistbands that can grow. I like to either wear knit dresses with thick tights or a big sweater with leggings and boots for the holidays with big family meals. If jeans are more your speed, here’s a little trick I learned when I was pregnant: You can take a pony holder and loop it through the buttonhole on your waistband and wrap it over the shank of the button for a little extra give. With a long sweater layered over, no one will be the wiser!

WhatIWore-Thanksgiving 2

If you’re prone to spills, pick darker colors to hide stains, because even when you’ve got on a fancy apron in the kitchen, there’s always a chance that you’ll get a little grease or cranberry sauce on your sweater.  See also: children!!!

Speaking of little ones, with two small kiddos, this visit was more on the casual side. It’s always a good idea to ask the hostess if she’s planning on a big elegant sit down meal with a more dressy dress code or if her family eats around the coffee table while watching the game (or somewhere in between).

On any trip out of town, I like to pack things that can be dressed up or dressed down. I toss in some jewelry that can up the ante on a black sweater and jeans, and always include some cozy pieces in case we decide to stay in all weekend.

Finally – your footwear!  I suggest at least two pairs – your travel shoes and something else that works with multiple outfits. There are two schools of thought for what to wear traveling. If you’re short on suitcase space or trying to just do the weekend in a carry on bag, you’ll want to wear your largest pair of shoes (usually your bigger boots). If you’ve got checked luggage and want to speed up your airport routine, flats might be a better solution!

WhatIWore-Thanksgiving 4Shoes: Total Motion Hidden Wedge Layer D’Orsay Flat

I also like flats to wear in someone else’s home (as long as they’re the kind of household that allows shoes inside!). They’re still comfy but a step up from socks. And if you’re on your feet in the kitchen all day a little cushion and support can be nice, too.

For your second pair – you could go basic with a black boot or brown boot or you could really spice things up with something a little fun like the burgundy booties I’m wearing here. At first glance they look like a dressier pair, but don’t they look cute with jeans, a big sweater and a beanie? I think this would be a perfect outfit to wear to see a parade or to wear to a movie.

My final tip – try to think about your packing the weekend before you leave for your trip. No doubt you’ll be busy enough either cooking or getting those last few pieces of work done before you head out the door. Once you’ve reached your final destination, give your Grannie a hug for me, snuggle that nephew and count your blessings. I’m so grateful for a day to do just that.

Happy Holidays!

WhatIWore-Thanksgiving 3Find more of Jessica’s style inspiration by following @WhatIWore on Instagram.

This Port71 guest blogger received compensation in exchange for her post.
All opinions are the blogger’s own.