Day Tripping in Style

Day Tripping in NYC, Annapolis Maryland and the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia

Whewwww!!!  This week has been the first week in quite a while that I have been able to just putter around the house without a long list of things to get done, an event to prepare for, or pack for a trip. It feels kind of nice. When I started blogging, I had many days at home all comfy and online at my desk or my worktable creating projects. I never imagined that travel would become a regular part of my job.

Over the past few weeks, I have been traveling for the blog and on the weekends with family and friends. I have become quite an expert at packing fast and light, fitting only what I need into a small suitcase when I travel so I don’t look like a bag lady trudging through airports, train stations, or hotel lobbies.

Penn Station in NYC

Two weeks ago I went to NYC to attend the BHG Stylemaker event. After parking my car, I walked hands-free to meet up with with my blogging buddy Jenna of SAS Interiors in front of Penn Station.

All I took for my two night stay was a backpack and my new Lifetime Leather Convertible Messenger bag from Duluth Trading. You may remember the Lifetime Leather Large Tote I wrote about back in the Spring.  I had never owned a real leather bag before and fell in love not only with the quality of that tote, but the styling of it.

I wanted to find a cross-body bag to coordinate with it so that I looked pulled together with bags that look like a set when I travel. I wanted one that was not too big, but big enough to hold all I need for a day of sightseeing…and sightseeing is what I have been doing a lot of lately.


Once Jenna and I checked into our hotel in Chelsea, we headed out for an afternoon of sightseeing. It was a beautiful day and we headed straight for the High Line. If you have never been up on it  – you can read all about it here: Visit the High Line 


I think it is urban renewal at its best. The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.


I have walked along it a few times. I only wish it was in place when I was a college student at the Fashion Institute of Technology on 7th Ave and 27th St.  I would have run along it every morning and gone up to watch the sun set in the evenings.

Apartment buildings in NYC

You get a great view of all that is happening on the streets below.


No matter where you are in NYC- every way you look there is something to see. The ornate building in the photo is Grand Central Station.  It may not be a tall building, but it is big and wide – it takes up quite a bit of real estate around 42nd and Park Ave.

Did you notice my bag?  Presto Chango! – It converts from a cross-body or shoulder bag into a backpack in seconds.  It is one smart and stylish bag that went around the city with me.


The hotel we stayed at was right in the middle of the flower district. We had to get up early on the second day of the trip and stopped to take a few photos with the pretty flowers that lined the street on our way to the Stylemaker event. They were inexpensive and both Jenna and I wanted to take some home with us.  I get a lot of questions about where I bought my leopard flats. They are from Lands End.


We had a great time at the event, BHG never disappoints, but it was soon over and time to go home.  I walked with Jenna back to Penn Station the next morning and then I went to the Port Authority to get my car for the 2 hour drive home.

I stated earlier that I have been traveling a lot.  This past weekend, my bag and I went to Annapolis, Maryland..


…for a memorial for Ed’s mom who passed away this past spring. Annapolis is one quaint town along the Severn river. It is also the home of the Naval Academy where Ed went to school and we were married. The town holds lots of meaning and memories for us.


Ed’s mom loved the town and ended up living there for a few years after he graduated. They were some of the favorite years of her life so we thought it fitting to have her memorial there.


On Friday we hung out around the city dock…


…shopped…went to dinner, and enjoyed…

We toured and shopped all day...went to dinner and enjoyed... beautiful evening. 

…one beautiful evening. We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend weather wise.  We tailgated at the Navy football game on Sat (they lost) :-(


On Sunday we had the memorial and brunch at the Chart House.  Lots of family and friends around to celebrate and remember Ed’s mom.


Along with lots of time with my girls.  I am not as short as I look in this photo. :-)  I have flats on and my daughters are wearing heels.

Two weekends before going to Annapolis and NYC, Ed and I headed to Virginia.


It was the first time my Lifetime Leather Convertible Messenger bag and I went on a trip together. It was to the Barren Ridge Vineyards in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.


Another weekend where the weather was perfect.

Daytripping- Barren Ridge vineyard and winery

Perfect to sit outside and enjoy a bottle of red along with some cheese and crackers for a relaxing afternoon gazing out at the vineyard.  If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember me saying that it felt like we were in Tuscany. We liked this chillable red so much that we bought a few bottles to bring home. I wish I could have brought the view home, too.


Through all of my travels – my trusty tote bag has been at my side keeping everything I need organized and handy – and best of all…my hands are free.

Even though I loved all the places I have been the past month, I am looking forward to this weekend at home. I think it is going to get chilly and rain.  Time to nest, snuggle, enjoy curling up with a good book, and waking up in my own comfy bed.

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  1. Hi Diane,
    Based on your awesome post about this bag, I purchased it today! I can’t remember if you mentioned what you use to condition/protect your leather bag? I know it’s part of the “patina” but it seems like the leather scratches very easily so I would like to condition it right away.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mary – I have not used any conditioner on it yet. It does get scratches, but so far I have been able to rub them out. When it gets older, I am thinking Saddle Soap may be a good way to clean it, but I am not sure. I will have to do some research on how to take care of it.

  2. Diane! Pretty pictures of everywhere but especially love the Annapolis ones (I teach at the Naval Academy and live in Arnold). We’ve been to lots of weddings at the Chapel and I bet yours was beautiful–show us some pics sometime! The football team is not doing so great this year but as long as they beat Army no one will mind… :)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Danielle – We have friends who live in Arnold. Ed is not so sure that the football team will beat Army this year. He is hoping for a win, but if they keep playing the way they are – he is not so sure. :-( I did post a photo once – here is the post it is in:
      In December I have a post planned about how Ed and I met – it is a Cinderella story.

      1. Beautiful! Especially love your veil. Can’t wait to hear your story.

  3. Christina Rodriguez says:

    I love your leopard print flats! I say, “Leopard print IS a color!”

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      I agree Christina ;-)

  4. christine gowing says:

    With all your traveling, packing, clothes, etc. , you MUST tell us your secrets to all this!
    I travel to visit family and haven’t come up with the right way yet.
    Please show us what you take to make you look so great all the time!\.
    I don’t want to lug around all my luggage anymore.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Christine – About 3 years ago Ed and I went to NYC for 3 days. We decided to take a challenge to see if we could pack everything we needed into only one backpack each. We did and ever since then we realized we didn’t need to take tons of stuff when we travel. I will write a post about it soon.

  5. Julia@Cuckoo4Design says:

    You are all over the place. Love the photo of you and your daughters and of course your leopard flats. The high line is on my list to walk with my kiddos.

  6. Chuckling at all the fashion questions. I think they covered everything I was going to ask! I’ve just recently discovered Katie & Kelly brand shoes. Love DSW. And will be checking out those leopard flats. Loved your post. Feeling nostalgic. I lived back east for a while, my brother in Boston since ’87, so it felt a little like home looking at your pics. I haven’t been back in too long but I think my hubby’s going to be hearing a little bit more from me on making it a priority in the not too distant future after reading about your recent excursions! Like someone else said, I don’t always comment, but read every single one of your blogs. I’ve had to drop a few because of time constraints, but yours isn’t going anywhere.

  7. Loved reading about your travels and you look wonderful in the pictures! I have visited the High Line and was so impressed with what NYC has done with this space. What a pleasant surprise it was to find this “garden space” in the middle of a city. I checked out your Lands End flats and the name is Vivian Calf Hair Venetian Flat Shoes ~ good memory. Those are $94.00 which is more than I want to pay but I found a pair in Faux Black Reptile on sale for $27.99 that I really like. BTW, I ordered and have received my dill oil. I have my sweet cravings at night ~ now I just need to remember to put the oil on then! Enjoy your time at home. Vikki in VA.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Vikki – NYC has really changed for the better since I went to school there. It is so nice to see. I usually don’t spend that much on shoes – I am more the $30 DSW find kind of shoe buyer, but I love these shoes and they wear so well, I splurged. The dill oil is remarkable – you do need to use it on a regular basis. I put it on every 3rd day. It is overcast and rainy today – I am getting all settled in to enjoy the down time. I hope you can do the same this weekend – enjoy.

  8. Hi Diane, In reading the reviews for your bag, someone mentioned the lining freyed shortly after the got they bag, have you had any problems? Someone also mentioned if your bag isn’t full it tends to collapse on itself, have you found that to be true?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mary – I have had my bag for about 2 months now. I use it every day and have not had the problems you mentioned. The lining is heavy duty and the edges trimmed with leather and solidly sewn. If you are wearing the bag as a backpack and it is not super filled, it may scrunch in a bit since the way the straps goes around your shoulder scrunches the bag a bit, but not collapse – any soft bag would do the same. I am super happy with it.

      1. just an FYI for anyone thinking of ordering from Duluth trading, if you go online and sign up on their site, they will send you a coupon for 20 percent off any order over $100. That’s almost 32. off the price of this bag!

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Hi Mary – Thanks for sharing about the Duluth Trading coupons – that is a great savings!

  9. Well…you very nicely covered two of my favorite places….Land’s End and Duluth Trading…and both not far from my place! Great views, by the way…you have been a busy tourist! ;)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Donnamae – You must live on the west coast where Duluth Trading Co has stores. We don’t have them here on the east coast. I have to order online. I love to travel, but home-sweet-home is feeling pretty nice right now. :-)

      1. Yeah…there IS no place like home! Actually I live in Wisconsin! Duluth Trading has a store in Mount Horeb. That’s a fun little town….lots of trolls! ;)

  10. Kelly - Talk of the House says:

    You have certainly been traveling! Goodness. I enjoyed NYC when we were there last, but your photos of Annapolis make me want to go there. Beautiful! (And we have never been there.) Love your shoes and your handy dandy bag. :)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kelly – I wanted to get more pics of Annapolis, but there was not enough time. It is a great place to go for a day or weekend. Lots to see, do, and great places to eat. The only negative -It is very hard to park a car – almost impossible. It is best to get there early in the day and find a spot, then walk around the rest of the day. Everything is in walking distance – historic sites, shops, restaurants, water, tour boats, and the Naval Academy.

  11. Diane, where did you get those cute jeans. I would love to get a pair! I also am checking into Duluth and Land’s End for your other items. I shop in those stores, also.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Dorothy – I think I will do some more fashion posts :-) I bought my jeans at Lord & Taylor last summer. They are cropped boyfriend jeans by JAG.

  12. I have the same pair of leopard flats. However, I have not worn mine as much, but your pictures have inspired me to start wearing them again! Looks great on you! I also like your sandals. I think I have a similar pair, but in white. And mine has a strap around the heel and I got them at Target. By any chance did you alter yours? :)
    BTW, I LOVE your blog. I read each and every one of them…but have not commented until now. Not sure why…in general I don’t write comments/feedbacks on any site.
    I have read many blogs but yours is very classy and inspiring. And to top it off, you live not too far from me as I live in North Wales!!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi – I have met a few readers from North Wales, even a blogger – Jennifer from The Chronicles of Home. She grew up in North Wales. She lives in Mass now, but her mom and dad still live in North Wales. She worked at the Genuardis that is now a Giant on Sumneytown Pike. :-) We met at a Delta Faucet event and found this out. Small world. I am out and about all the time in Montgomeryville – so if you are ever out and about and see me – don’t hesitate to say hi! I am at JoAnn Fabrics and 2nd Ave a lot too.

      I bought my sandals at the DSW in Willow Grove. The brand is Katie & Kelly. They used to have a strap on the back, but one of the buckles broke, so I cut the straps off to get more wear out of them. I like them even better now. It was easy to cut the straps off flush right against the main section of the sandals. You would never know they once had straps. :-)

      Looking forward to meeting you.

  13. Great photos and I always enjoy your posts! Your leopard flats are fabulous, what brand are they?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Nanette – My leopard flats are from Lands End. I will link to them in the post :-) They are called Vivian Half Calf I think. I have had them for almost 2 years now. I love them – classic. I just bought another pair so I have a back-up just in case Lands End stops selling them.