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Bringing Southern Flowers to Boston

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Nov 08, 2017

Recently, I took a trip to Savannah, Georgia with a friend of mine and by the time I came home, I ended up bringing back a new appreciation for this southern state.  Beautiful architecture, rich history, outstanding cuisine, pleasant weather, inviting southern hospitality and delicious cuisine-it was hard not to fall in love with Savannah’s warm culture that I’ve heard about for so many years.  Although being a Boston native, it didn’t take long for me to appreciate Savannah’s lifestyle that seemed so different from east coast living.

One area that I was particularly drawn towards was the city’s artistic talent within sculpting landscape and floral displays that were trendy yet traditionally styled with expected southern charm.  

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If you’ve been there, you know there is breathtaking tropical foliage springing up everywhere which provides a whole other aspect of sightseeing!  It’s not that I’m slamming Boston’s pretty parks and common areas- they are quite impressive during the warmer months of the year.  I just have to point out that when it comes to doing up a city’s public courtyard and sidewalk presentation, Savannah could teach every city a thing or two about planting and developing an eye catching outdoor exhibit.  As you can imagine, the benefits of successfully landscaping places which are major tourist attractions are extensive, including promoting a healthy, aesthetically pleasing and safe destination for travelers.  Statistics also show that a beautiful garden of flora and fauna will actually increase sales in areas where shopping is prevalent, so city managers may want to up their game and invest in a landscaping plan.


If we are talking about what’s growing outside, we might want to talk about what is going on inside the hotels and restaurants who impress customers with gorgeous floral displays in welcome centers, conference rooms and wedding venues. While Boston’s usually adapts the European style in floral work, Savannah chooses to design vases of loose fitting stems, typically filled with large headed blooms that promote a sophisticated, airy appeal.  Blush, pink and cream seem to be really popular as well as light blue, gray, soft green and indigo, which are strategically placed in urns or glassware in simplistic, flowing patterns.  Pieces never look “overdone” or “fussed with”, just elegantly created to bring about a wistful presentation that’s exemplifies the heart and soul of Savannah, GA.  


 

Tags: Flower Travel, Travel, Savannah

Keeping a Flower Diary on your Cross Country Outing

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Aug 25, 2017

If you’ve never driven across country, you should definitely put it on your bucket list because it’s the opportunity of a lifetime!  We are so lucky to live in a country where we are home to hundreds of different types of regions where each and every environment can be different from the next.   Many people in other parts of the world have to get on a plane or cross the border into the next country to experience the richness that we already possess in our climate and ecological systems.  The variations are vast and expansive which makes the U.S. the perfect spot to spend vacation time studying the eclectic nature of our landscape.  The best way to do this is by planning a car trip where you can visit a multitude of different places at your own pace.  Stunning variations of trees, lakes, oceans and plant life are all at our fingertips-especially when we’re talking about flowers that graze our earth in splendor!

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photo credit via MattSalad.com

If this idea is right up your alley, you’ll want to make sure you have a few things to bring with you which will make recording and referencing a whole lot easier.  All of the items are relatively inexpensive, a wise  invest before you leave:


  1. 1 blank notebook that can be used for a journal and sketches.

  1. Charcoal pencil for drawing and eraser. (Yes, pencils are fine too but charcoal will capture the specimen’s better.)

  1. One or two preferred reference guides to help you decipher unfamiliar species of plants and flowers.  If you’re into a more “tech” approach, download “PlantSnap” or “Ipflanzen” from the App store.

  1. Plastic baggies are a great thing to bring if you’re planning on taking a flower or plant home.  Just make sure the specimen is not poisonous or you’ll be taking along with you an unpleasant memento.

Now that you’re all stocked up, it’s smart to know a few of the species abundant in certain regions of the country to help you navigate properly.  For instance, Massachusetts’ most popular native flowers are carpetweed and violets while California hosts a wide spread population of poppies.  Here’s a few states to get you going on your way, which can help you plot your floral adventure!


  1. Nevada- Verbena 4.  Alabama- Agrimony
  2. West Virginia- Yarrow 5.  North Carolina- American Hornbean
  1.   Texas-Blue Bonnet 6.  Vermont- Broad Leaf Arrowhead

Tags: USA, Travel, About Flowers, America

Chelsea Market and Flowers in New York City

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Apr 03, 2017

During a recent trip to New York City, I marveled at the obvious love this vibrant city has for flowers.  On almost every corner, there are displays from florists, grocers and even bookstores where you’re almost guaranteed to see an impressive floral presentation.  Unlike many other urban centers, it is common practice to see multiple buckets filled with stunning blooms that customers can easily select from during their travels.  Gorgeous clumping of color such as yellow sunflowers, bright green football mums, electric orange dahlias are just a few of the incredible species I saw turning heads on sidewalks.  But whatever your taste is, I can almost promise you’ll find some kind of blooming marvel that will make you stop in your footsteps.  

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photo credit via www. chelseamarket.com

Although I usually stay near the hustle and bustle of action in the Big Apple, I changed my mind during this trip and went for a new area where I’ve never been before.  Instead of the electrifying lights and hoards of people crowding the streets of Times Square, we lodged in a charming location situated right next to Chelsea Market.  If you’ve never been before and you like cobblestone, brick buildings and quaint little shops to browse, this is the place for you.  Illuminating an “artsy” feel, this cool marketplace extends a length similar to traveling through a tunnel with original beams and structure dating back to the 1890’s.  For foodies, you’ll find any kind of delicacy you’d ever hope to taste and for consumers, you’ll be thrilled to peruse the sweet but trendy boutiques tucked inside.

 

The really special part of this hidden treasure is a small flower shop that you can find right in the middle of the market.  It isn’t actually inside a space, no this place is too funky for that!  The kiosk is actually a real old-fashioned flower cart, the original means for how flowers were sold decades ago.  Surrounding the cart, the owners have set up tables showcasing exquisite samplings of the best flowers sold in the whole city using the European style for display setup.  You’ll see pink perfection ranunculus, parrot tulips, peony tulips, exotic orchids, sweet pea, black callas and a whole lot of other delicious goodies.  Customers can purchase small bunches of the same variety or have one of their talented designers create bouquets right there in front of you. 

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Of course, no trip to NYC is complete without flowers from my husband's favorite New York city Florist. 

Starbright Floral Design
140 West 26th Street, New York City, NY 10001
Voice: 212 229 1610

Tags: Flower Travel, New York Florist, New York Flower Shop, New York, Travel

Most Desired Islands to Visit by New Englanders During Winter

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Feb 24, 2017

I bet it’s not a total shocker when you hear the fact that New Englanders are the highest rated tourists to tropical islands during the months of December through February.  We’ve all been there when the eerie bleakness of the winter gets to us and we just have to find escape even if it’s just for a few days of fun in the sun.  New Englanders have a lot to battle during this season including expensive heating bills, early nighttime fall and debilitating light deprivation just to name a few… It’s a tough time of year for many of us and it’s only natural we’d seek refuge to someplace warmer.  If you’re thinking about jumping on the bandwagon, you might want to review this list which has the top five most visited tropical islands...by us!  Check out these beautiful destinations and see if one of them just might be the perfect place for your winter getaway!


The Maldives

These incredible low lying islands are home to crystal aqua marine waters, white sand and stunning coral reefs that beckon snorkelers by the thousands.  The huts are their signature calling card where visitors can sleep and fall asleep to the sounds of the ocean.

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Bora Bora

This South Pacific Island has long been the fantasy for many travelers seeking warmth and exotic surroundings.  French owned, the colors of the beaches and water reflect an omnificent property and have become home to beautiful animals such as turtles and stingrays.  Many foodies also enjoy it here since Bora Bora has an A Class reputation for delicious cuisine.


Santorini

This one is definitely a place I want to visit because the water is a magnificent electric blue and the beaches are actually carpeted with red sand.  I enjoy learning about history as well making this a perfect match for me since Thira and Akrotiri are also located here to explore.  


Galapagos Islands

Another dream of mine is to experience the beauty of the Galapagos Islands because of the pristine beaches that lay on the islands coast and the wildlife which breeds on the land and water.  Funky species of birds and aquatic life flourish here and are fun to discover and you can even pretend you're Charles Darwin himself!


Palawan

These Philippine islands are a must visit if you’re looking for a wonderland like adventure this winter.  Not only is the ocean infused with breathtaking blues but it also possesses swirls of emerald green that excite photographers from around the world.  If you get bored hanging out on beaches too long, you’ll love that Palawan also is home to a very cool jungle where hiking is a favorite activity.

Tags: Tropical Flowers, Exotic Flowers, winter, Travel

A Floral Fantasy Tucked Inside Lovely, Ontario

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Oct 24, 2016

When you hear of a town named, “Lovely”, you might want to giggle to yourself.  You may envision pink houses with picket fences, perfectly mowed lawns or even a place that the temperature is always set at a perfect 71 degrees.  The picture that you’re seeing in your mind is probably leading you to believe that the town is completely fictitious but interestingly enough, it’s not.  Nestled safely in the banks of beautiful Canada, there is a place called “Lovely” and it holds reputable to the name it’s been given without a single fault.  

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Quaint and beautiful this tiny little area is nestled within Ontario, Canada’s suburban outskirts, which yields thousands upon thousands of tourists annually.  No, the weather may not be reflective of a continuous day in early summer (it’s Canada after all, it snows) but it is home to a lovely town, with lovely, shops, and lovely restaurants to coax just about anyone to give it a try.   This tiny town is so “Lovely” in fact, that it is a popular location for cinematic production including “The Ref” featuring Dennis Leary.  Yes, all of these assets make this the ideal place for a little getaway, but most of all, for those who love flowers.


For some mysterious reason, the townspeople of “Lovely” have made it their personal crusade to out beat any neighboring area when it comes to landscaping architecture and floral designing.  If I hadn’t seen it with my own two eyes, I might not believe it but when I say, “Wow”!  I mean it…


From the tops of the roofs, to outside window boxes and lantern posts, there are stunning baskets, arrangements, garden plantings, flower beds, loaded urns and thickly dressed pergolas designed to the nines with the most glorious flowers Canada has ever seen.  Lush greenery and blossoms popping with color spring from every direction as you stroll down the main street, which pulls you further inside the dream-like state “Lovely” has created.  It isn’t quite clear if there is a secret tribe of magical gardeners or perhaps a world-renowned society of floral designers who just happen to reside there but whatever the reason may be- the Town of Lovely is where you want to be.   


Take a look at these pictures I snapped while on my travels there and see if you’re just as amazed as we were with dramatic floral presence this community magnificently exudes!

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Bright flashes of color including foliage, perennials, annuals and tropicals cascade over everything, particularly in areas close to shops, restaurants, and boardwalks.

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Tags: Gardening, Flower Travel, Travel, Canada, Outdoor Planters

Valentine's Day Getaways

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Feb 03, 2016

Valentine’s Day is all about hearts, chocolates and flowers but on the years when the holiday falls on either a Friday, Saturday or Sunday (this year the 14th is on a Sunday), Boston couples will be happy to know there are additional options available to say you “I Love You”… to make a huge impression.

 

Booking a romantic getaway is just the thing to spark the love in a relationship and lucky for us, there are plenty of great places that are in close proximity to the city. Without having the nuisance of traveling by plane, those wanting to escape for a couple of days can find the perfect hotel or inn that best suits you and your honey’s tastes.  Whether your interests lie in the country where you can enjoy romantic walks in the woods or a more urban approach of sipping martinis inside of a fancy nightclub, Boston has an extensive variety of places to choose from!  Many hotels will also offer package deals, which may include couple’s massages, champagne brunch or complimentary roses.  So if you’re interested in adding a bit more spice to the festivities this Valentine’s Day, visit these sensational locations to celebrate the day of love in style!

 

Lake Salem Inn, Derby, Vermont

Not only do the rooms have a magnificent view of Lake Champlain but visitors will also get treated for a romantic dinner for two, spa treatments and complimentary flowers. Oh, and make sure you try the Champlain chocolates-they’re delicious!

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Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa, Stowe, Vt.

I’ve stayed here before and boy did we have a great time appreciating the gorgeous mountain landscape as well as their indoor pool, outdoor Jacuzzi, spa, salon, restaurants and game room!  The hotel is affordable as well as an easy trip back to the city.

 

The Eastland Park Hotel, Portland, Maine

This is a great deal. You get breakfast in bed, truffles and a free set of pajamas for you and your sweetheart!

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XV Beacon Hotel, Boston, MA

This hotel is featuring two special deals this year, which both offer an incredibly menu of romantic enticing.  Breakfast in bed, late check out times, champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, rose petal bed turndowns and a warm fireplace right in the room are all a part of the inspiring possibilities for couples.   



Tags: Valentine's Day, Valentines Day, Romance, Travel, vacation

Spring Break Destinations for Adults

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Mar 16, 2015

It’s finally March but if you’re living in New England, there is still a ton of snow blanketing the ground and things are still looking a bit depressing.  Everyone knows spring will eventually arrive relieving us of this ice dam, blizzard infested winter season but we want to know when!  For some Bostonians, the warm weather hasn’t arrived soon enough and hopping a flight to a steamier climate is starting to look like a better and better idea.  Sure, we’ll survive the temperature gage that hasn’t read higher than the teens in weeks but why can’t we reward ourselves with some pre-season sunshine in the meantime?  I know you’re thinking its too expensive with all the repairs you’ll have to make to your home after all of the snowstorms and booking a last minute trip will only bring headaches of inflated air flight tickets and hotel rates.  I’m in that same leaking boat as many of us are but what about taking a gander at a few hidden gems that might not break our wallets or trample us with extensive credit card debt?  Believe it or not, there are options available to any budget so here are a few to help find your tropical winter getaway!

 stlucia

Saint Lucia is becoming more and more popular for east coast travelers during the months of January and February and there is a good reason why… The island is very small and comparably to many other destinations, relatively easy to get to with a direct flight of 4 hours and 36 minutes.  The vacation locale also maintains several resorts including Ladera Resort, Sugar Beach, The Landings and Coconut Bay.  Many of the luxurious hotels offer all-inclusive deals such as the Sandals Grande St. Lucian, which promotes daily deals and special offers.  I have personally visited this beautiful destination and can only applaud the warm and friendly island atmosphere and delicious foods that both the dining resorts and restaurants provide.  One other tip if you’re thinking about booking a trip to Saint Lucia, make sure you sign up for the banana field and tropical rainforest tour.  The cost is minimal and you wont believe the natural beauty that this island has been blessed with.   There is no beating their banana daiquiris! 

 Punta_Cana_01                      photo credit: destinationsguide.copaair.com

Punta Cana is another option if you desire a quick travel experience for low expenditure.  Located on the most eastern tip of the Dominican Republican, this area is most famous for their beaches, which have been said to resemble silky granules of gold.  Unlike many other warmer resort destinations, Punta Cana is famous for attracting sun seekers who are uninterested in other activities such as site seeing.  Although it manifests spectacular ocean shores and skyline views, this tropical paradise holds other few attractions to tour.  These resorts are designed to satisfy every desire of replenishing both the physical and mental demands that Boston winter weather may have compromised.  We’re talking massages, sun bathing, dining and sleep-the key ingredients to curing the snowbound blues.   Tortuga Bay, Sanctuary Cap Cana and Casa de Campo all put on a terrific spread with all-inclusive deals encompassing all of these amenities and fluctuate little during the course of the year.  Have fun and don’t forget your sun block! 

 

Suzie Canale,

Westwood MA

Tags: Beach, Travel, vacation

The Ideal Valentine’s Day Romantic Weekend

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year which means that Bostonians will be vamping up their plans to extend over an entire romantic weekend!  While couples scurry about trying to make their ideal holiday itinerary, some are at their wits ends as to where and what they should do?  Should we stay in the city or venture out towards other New England hot spots?  Should we book a fancy urban hotel sweet or take a drive to one of Massachusetts more secluded locales?  It’s a lot to decide since we all know whats riding on our decisions.  One bad move and we can seriously affect the romantic outcomes of Valentine’s Day so be careful.  Bostonians are lucky though to have so many options at their disposal.  Whether you’re interested in having a beachy, glitzy, snowy or laid back theme to your special weekend, this region has something to offer every sweetheart couple.

 romantic weekend

Ocean Getaway

Just because it’s cold outside, it doesn’t mean that we have to completely omit any ideas of visiting the beach.  New England has some of the most beautiful oceanfront property in the country and believe it or not, can still provide the perfect vacation venue year round, even during the winter.  North Shore destinations include several Gloucester and Rockport inns and hotels including Bass Rocks Ocean Inn and the Vista Motel which both provide breathtaking views of the Atlantic at affordable prices.  If you are traveling south, check out Wequassett Resort & Golf Club in Chatham or Seacrest Beach resort of North Falmouth, Cape Cod.  You won’t be disappointed in these luxurious getaway spots and will still be conveniently close to home!

 smith and hook wine

Housebound Romance

Who says you have to leave the house to have a truly romantic weekend alone with your honey?  Forget about making the beds, washing the dishes and doing the laundry.  Just make a pact that you, as a couple, will spend the entire weekend at home with no one and nothing to take care of but each other.  Stock up on romantic movies, candles from anthropology or terrain and grab a whole bunch of local take out menus to order from.  Make sure you swap the everyday sheets for new silk blankets and stop by your florist for a fresh bouquet of flowers to add to the ambiance.  Pop the cork on a good bottle of wine and your good to go!

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Ski Bunny Stay

The slopes may be calling you this Valentine’s Day and since we’re lucky to live in one of the greatest places in the country for skiing, you’re in luck!  Not only are our winter resorts home to stunning white powdered covered landscapes but also provide quite a spread for couples looking for a romantic retreat.  Sitting by stone fireplaces, sipping hot chocolate and even indulging in many of their five star spa packages are definitely things to put on your to-do lists.  Suggested ski resorts for Bostonians are Mt Washington in Bretton Woods, NH (great spa, buffet, pool and game room) and Stowe Mountain Resort in Stowe, Vermont (great accommodations and lots of fun things to do in town). 

suzie_canale_westwoodSuzie and Rick Canale, Westwood MA

Suzie and Rick will be spending a romantic evening at their Westwood home on Valentine's Day.

Tags: Wine, #EXFL, Valentines Day, Romance, Beach, Travel, Skiing

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