Help! I Need Travel Ideas for the New Year

The Open Suitcase needs travel ideas for the new year. Where’d you go in 2016? What did you love? Or hate? Leave your suggestions for places to visit, foods to eat, and things to do, or not do, in the comments section for a chance to win some travel inspiration.


The calendar flips in a few days and I need travel ideas for the new year. It’s how I survive winter.

I’m inviting you to play a round of show and tell. Continue reading

The Mackenzie-Childs Farmhouse: Design Inspiration in the Finger Lakes

“Where’s Tim Burton?”

That was my first question for tour guide Patricia, as she opened the front door to the Mackenzie-Childs farmhouse and asked us to slip on paper booties.

From the exterior, the late 1800’s farmhouse looks like any other that you’d find on a field in Smalltown, USA. But inside? The design inspiration comes from a zany riot of color, shape, pattern, and texture. If asked to assign a name to the style, I’d go with “Tasteful Psychedelic.”mackenzie-childs-farmhouse-aurora-finger-lakes Continue reading

The Aurora Inn: A Genteel Boutique Hotel in the Finger Lakes

adirondack-chairs-aurora-innLooking for the perfect place to stay to explore New York’s Finger Lakes? Consider the Aurora Inn, an historic 10-room property located on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. It’s an elegant boutique destination resort owned by Pleasant Rowland, founder of the American Girl doll company who once said her goal was to “…allow little girls to be little girls for a little longer.” At the Aurora Inn, I felt like I could be a princess…forever. Continue reading


Brigadoon_(french_poster)I’ve been searching for Brigadoon since falling in love with the film (and Gene Kelly) when I was a wee one. It’s an entertaining musical about a mysterious Scottish village that appears for one day every 100 years and then vanishes in the mist. Gene hooks up with Cyd Charisse and considers chucking his glamorous NYC life and pal Van Johnson to spend his life in kilts. To date, Cazenovia is the closest I’ve gotten to finding Brigadoon. I forged the two together years ago after dining in the local tartan-wrapped Brae Loch Inn. Located on the eastern fringe of New York’s Finger Lakes, this picturesque village has a charming mix of Gothic, Greek Revival and Adirondack-style residences and wonderful spots to sip and shop. And, best of all, it won’t disappear when you turn your back. Continue reading