I remember when Boston's Holocaust Memorial was dedicated in 1995. I was 10, had just learned about the Holocaust in school, and was in love with all things historical in Boston. In the years following, it became a symbol of the city and the Freedom Trail, its towers etched with six million identification numbers of those who perished. I've walked through it dozens if not hundreds of times, taking quiet time to pause and reflect.
You would imagine that a towering glass monument would be vulnerable. Yet for more than twenty years, it survived without damage.
Then two different people vandalized it, breaking whole panels of glass, within a six-week period in summer 2017. The second after a weekend where Neo-Nazis gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, bearing torches and chanting, "Jews will not replace us," and murdered one young woman.
I'm sick to my stomach. This racism has always been present in America, but with the KKK-endorsed Donald Trump as president, racists have felt emboldened to show their views publicly. We all saw those pictures from Charlottesville -- no hoods on anyone. Why hide your identity if there are no consequences at work or in life?
Even on Jimmy Fallon's Facebook page today, where he made a heartfelt statement about his despair over hate in America and what it means for his young daughters -- Jimmy Fallon, the hair-tousler, the most innocuous of all late night hosts -- people were commenting angrily, saying they'd never watch his show again. These people were DEFENDING NAZIS.
I know a lot of people who consider themselves patriotic Americans -- and they have been defending Nazis every chance they get. Oh, the violence was on all sides! Why didn't you mention the leftist mob? Black Lives Matter wants to kill all white people, when were you going to mention that?
I used to take comfort in the fact that these vile people were dying out faster than they were being indoctrinated; today, I'm not so sure.
But I do know this: I love my country fiercely, even as I detest the deplorable racism that envelopes so many aspects of our society, and I will continue working to make my country a better, safer place for the rest of my life. I know that there are far more good people here than bad. I will use my many privileges to lift up those who need the most help. And just as my grandparents did, I will fight Nazis with everything I've got. In 2017.
Written after the election and it's worth sharing again.
This is STILL our country. But we are at a disadvantage if the most privileged keep leaving the country without fighting for the rights of the most vulnerable.
Leave the country if you want. But being an expat is NO EXCUSE to turn your back on fighting injustice in your country. You can still donate money and time and work from afar.
Leaving Vail, off to Denver!
I had such a great time in Vail! A gorgeous mountain town filled with flowers, surrounded with awesome hiking trails. It's a super-friendly, international place with a village feel and tons of good restaurants. Lots of good-looking dudes, too. 😜 Maybe I should learn to ski and come back in the winter!
I have been swamped with work with the past two weeks so I had no time to research Denver. I don't want to hardcore sightsee -- only hang out in cool coffeeshops and stroll around, maybe hit a brewery or two. Any suggestions?
LLAMA ALERT! Did you know you can hike with llamas in Vail? I spent today hiking through the mountains with Paragon Guides and two of their llamas, Kareem and Bailey. This is Kareem. He sneezed on me once.
SO MUCH FUN. If you're looking for a killer selfie to make your friends jealous, this is the activity to do!
A few truths about Vail:
Last night I had a single glass of wine over the course of two hours and it still made me loopy. The altitude is no joke!
I feel overdressed in jeans. Everyone is in workout/activewear. None of that fancy athleisure.
Nearly every local I've talked to prefers summer here to winter. The hiking and the crowds are so much better. The only exceptions are the crazy snow people who are only here because they took a year off from heading to Chile or New Zealand.
Just got to Vail and I am loving it! How is this only my first visit to Colorado?! I'm getting all the Dumb & Dumber vibes!
One of the most common questions I get is how I stay healthy while traveling. Well, I've finally put all my answers into one post!
Also, there is a GIVEAWAY from RXBAR, my favorite healthy protein bar brand, with a collection of prizes worth more than $600. Details inside!
How do YOU stay healthy while traveling?
Tomorrow I'm off to Vail, Colorado, for a few days of hiking and enjoying the mountains! Believe it or not, I've actually never visited Colorado before, and it's time I finally visited this beautiful state.
Have you been to Vail? Any suggestions?
This month was split between New York and the Keys -- plus a fun trip out to Montauk and the Hamptons! Also, the recent show on Netflix that baffled me and a whopping 10 book reviews.
Damn, Australia, your wildlife is scary.
I'm on the train back to New York and everyone has been asking me if I finally fell for Philadelphia, the closest thing I have to a least favorite American city, on my ninth visit or so.
The verdict: I had a great time and would totally go back!
I will say this, though -- I would go back to Philly to photograph beautiful homes, hang out in cool neighborhoods, eat great food, drink great coffee and cocktails. While the incredible art at the Barnes Foundation was a highlight, Phildelphia's attractions are not what I enjoyed the most.
It drives me crazy when people ask for travel advice but don't want to do anything touristy -- dude, we're all tourists. Things are touristy because they are worth visiting. I do touristy things constantly. But I have to admit that in Philadelphia the things I enjoyed the most didn't have a tourist in sight and the things I enjoyed least were chock full of tourists.
This is a city that will reward you if you get off the beaten path.
Some of my favorite food and drink highlights: the tasting menu at Talula's Garden, pizza at Wm. Mulhern and Sons, gelato at Capogiro, donuts at Federal Donuts, wine at ROOT, cocktails at Hop Skip Laundromat, and coffee at Elixr, Peddler, and La Colombe, of course!
"What did you think about the Magic Gardens?" my friend Dave asked me today.
"Honestly, in shocked that they weren't covered with girls posing for Instagram," I told him. It's just the kind of place you expect to be Selfie City.
I didn't pose. But it's a great place to do so, if that's your thing. Just be sure to bring along an Instagram Boyfriend because tripods are not allowed here!
Good morning from Philly! Today's report so far: mostly awesome. The 9-course tasting menu at Talula's Garden BLEW MY MIND. Easily one of the best meals I've had in recent years. Superb wines, too.
Also great: Federal Donuts, cocktails at Hop Skip Laundromat, photographing the area around Rittenhouse Square, the lavender latte at Peddler Coffee.
I did not enjoy the Mutter Museum, however. Turns out when I see medical abnormalities in real life, it makes me want to throw up. I had to actively fight the urge to vomit the whole time I was there. I can see how other people would like it, but it's not for me.
Coming up next: art at the Barnes, lunch at Reading Terminal Market, and the Magical Gardens.
I want to check out Fishtown for dinner. Any restaurant suggestions?
What a difference it is visiting Philadelphia after becoming a photographer. I am in love with the architecture here!
Greetings from Amtrak, en route to Philly!
This is a rare treat for me -- I adore trains, but long-distance trains in the US tend to be very expensive and often inefficient. (Case in point: it's hard to find a 4-hour New York to Boston train for under $80, so I usually take the 5.5-hour bus for around $20.) I wish we had a well-connected, comprehensive system like Europe's.
New York to Philadelphia, however, is a great route to do by train: 90 minute ride and I got last minute tickets for around $45 each way.
This route is called the Silver Meteor. Sexy. It goes all the way from New York to Miami!
Today's my birthday -- I'm 33. Crazy that some of you have been with me since I was 25!
This was taken on stage at Waitress the Musical on Broadway last night. SUCH an amazing, sweet, funny show. I laughed, I screamed, I got teary. Highly recommended!
Also, if you go on the next two weeks, you'll get to see my cousin Matt play the evil husband Earl. My friends and I got tickets on the TodayTix app for $49 plus $12.50 fee each. They were the cheapest and "worst" seats but we still had a great view, so don't let that hold you back!
Thank you for being here today and every day. I love you guys so much.
I am SO excited to introduce this to you -- the Adventurous Kate Collection from Speakeasy Travel Supply! Gorgeous scarves with a hidden passport pocket -- the perfect way to protect your belongings during your travels!
I chose these myself. There's the black-and-neon Adventurous Kate Scarf (limited edition, probably going to sell out fast!) and the blue-white-gray Adventurous Kate Melbourne Scarf.
Also, Adventurous Kate readers get 10% off Speakeasy orders with the code ADVKATE. Take a look through the site -- there's a scarf for every kind of traveler!
This Thursday I'm heading back to Philadelphia for something like the eighth time. The reason? Because I hate it.
Booking.com asked me if I wanted to revisit my least favorite city for 24 hours, stay in cool accommodation, and give it another chance. I loved the idea -- and how convenient that Philadelphia is only 90 minutes away from Manhattan by train.
I've done cheesesteaks, I've done South Street, I've run up the art museum steps like Rocky, and I've done the Revolutionary War-era historic sites. And yet Philadelphia has never done it for me -- it's always felt small and dirty and limited.
So what should I do that is new to REALLY blow my mind? Think amazing restaurants, cocktail bars, unusual attractions.
Just today I was talking about England's Lake District with a friend. This is such a beautiful part of Britain. Have you been?
I know a lot of you are introverts. I have a question for you -- how do you recover from heavy socializing? Say, two long days in a row of spending time with lots of people?
I like to go someplace where I can be publicly alone -- like the courtyard of my local coffeeshop with a book -- and then go home and try to spend the next evening alone.
To the young woman frolicking in the vineyards tonight, clearly in view of the sign that says, "Do not walk through the vineyards," and who was yelled at by the staff and told to get out, and who responded with, "It's for a blog!" --
Please stop. Please fucking stop. I spend too much of my valuable time trying to explain the value of professional bloggers because of assholes like you.
Greetings from Montauk, the very end of Long Island! I daytripped out here today with two of my friends. The weather isn't great, but that's okay! Still fun.
I've been geeking out seeing where scenes from The Affair were filmed. And Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind had scenes that took place here, too. Have you been to Montauk?
The feeling when you're editing Key West photos, you zoom in, and find a Hemingway doing something the real Hemingway would have done...
Last week I had an AWESOME time in the Florida Keys and did some new, crazy activities I missed on my first trip in February. Plus: HEMINGWAY LOOKALIKE CONTEST!
Also, there's a contest to win your own trip to the Keys! (US/Canada only.) Details in the post!
It's been quiet since I've returned from the Keys -- and as always, there's a reason for that. Much going on behind the scenes. But for now, as the wheels turn in the background, I hope you enjoy this interview I did for JJ Caprices.
She sells amazing jewelry and accessories from around the world on her site and I got a beautiful pair of hoop earrings -- hope you check out her selection!
I just got word that Richard Filip won the 2017 Hemingway Lookalike Contest in Key West! I *knew* he was something special, so I asked him for a selfie two days ago. So glad I got that!
Oh man. I so want to go back for this contest next year! SO MUCH FUN.
So this is why Key West's sunsets are legendary...
The first night of the Hemingway Lookalike Contest in Key West was SO AWESOME that I seriously considered spending $1000 out of pocket to stay here two more nights and see the rest of the competition.
$1000 for two nights is crazy. But it was THAT GOOD. This is such a fun event!!
Best of luck to all the Papa wannabes! (Especially the dude I dubbed Sexy Hemingway. He doesn't know who he is. I was too shy to approach him.) You can stream the contest online so I will be doing that tonight and tomorrow in New York!
Color me shocked -- the absolute highlight of this trip to Key West was the Truman Little White House. Seven presidents from Taft to Clinton have spent time here during or after their presidencies, but Truman spent the most time here and LOVED it. Key West was his special place.
The house is restored to look as close as possible to how it looked in 1949. The guides are passionate and knowledgeable. I knew that Truman was unpopular near the end of his presidency, but I didn't know that that was primarily because he passed civil rights legislation and most Americans were anti-civil rights at the time.
Oh, and Truman LOVED to play poker with his cabinet and Chief Justice every night, but that had to be kept secret from the American public because gambling was a sin back then. And in his love letters with his wife, Bess, they would debate the merit of Shakespearean plays. He could play Chopin and Mozart by memory. He read every book in the library in Independence, Missouri. THIS GUY.
I plan to pick up David McCullough's Truman biography in the near future. I want to learn more.
Also, lest you think I've become too much of a nerd, I'm posting this from Margaritaville.
If you're driving down the Keys, break up your trip with a stop at the No Name Bar in Big Pine Key. It's COVERED with one dollar bills! You can draw on your own and staple them to the wall.
I met up with Kristin and Scott of Camels & Chocolate, who were driving east as I was driving west, and we estimated that there was perhaps $20,000 attached to the walls.
There's always money in the banana stand...
BACK IN KEY WEST. Oh, boy. OH, BOY.
To me, Key West at almost-33 is the equivalent of Las Vegas at 23, or Vang Vieng at 26. This is going to be a FUN TIME.
My favorite Keys discovery of the day: the radio station Hot 105. They play my absolute favorite genre -- 90s slow jams -- and their motto is "Making Memories, Making Babies." 😂
Today, for the first time EVER, I rode a boat captained by an all-female crew! If that's a first for me, you know just how rare that is!
Gender inequality continues to persist in many industries, and you often don't even notice until you're presented with the alternative.
Shout-out to Caiti and Stephanie for an awesome snorkeling trip at Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo. As a former shipwreckee who still gets nervous on boats, I felt very safe in your hands.
Also, thanks for telling me stories about being extras on Bloodline. 😉
Good morning from the Florida Keys. It's a perfect day to go snorkeling!
Back when Cailin and I visited the Keys in February, we were on a mission to find the best key lime pie and we searched diligently, eating a ton of it.
When I found out I was coming back, I was excited to continue the search and turn it into an even bigger blog post.
Guys. I love key lime pie, but I think I've hit my limit. Too much of a good thing is a real thing. I had it twice today and I don't think I can continue.
I *will* be taking a key lime pie class in Key West, though!
I just arrived back in the Florida Keys and have already tasted key lime pie, key lime taffy, and key lime MEAD. Yes, mead.
Keys' Meads just opened in April here in Key Largo and you can taste all kinds of their delicious meads (honey wines). Their orange cream near is unreal and their holiday spice mead tastes like Christmas in your mouth! Oh, and you won't guess what some of the strange blends taste like...
I love to support cool new businesses like these. If you're coming to the Keys, drop by for some tastes and conversation!
July 11 has always been a memorable day for me during my years of travel. Just by coincidence. Here's what I was doing every year -- and how life got better year over year.
Game of Thrones tonight!! I haven't watched since Season 2 when that weird smoke baby came out, but I *have* been to most of the filming locations.
Here's King's Landing -- Dubrovnik!
"The solo traveler who happened to meet the perfect one-night stand may be motivated by now-or-never constraints on the hookup and feel he or she needs to do whatever it takes, wherever it takes, and should also be treated with compassion."
This is incredible. A lion was seen nursing a baby leopard in the wild -- and it's the first time this has EVER been documented.
Wonder what life will be like for that baby. 🐆