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Village Beach Cottages in St. Lucia was a dream-come-true for our honeymoon. This charming, boutique facility lies right on the Caribbean and has been locally owned and operated for several generations. The owner greets each guest with a detailed orientation of the story of how his family first acquired the original buildings, as well as a fascinating overview of the area and the historical and economic challenges St. Lucia has experienced. Unlike the rowdier all-inclusives down the beach, we had a romantic, quiet stay at the Villa Beach cottages, and so enjoyed everything from the beautiful handmade furniture in the room, to the intimate pools and waterfalls, to the ocean kayak adventure to the uninhabited island across the water. The wonderful staff helped us figure out how to use the local transportation system, gave us directions to the best restaurants in the area, and helped us taste a genuine St. Lucian breakfast! Though neither of us had ever vacationed in the Caribbean previously, this heavenly experience made it hard to go home!
Two hours outside of Kruger Park is one of the most geologically stunning areas in South Africa. Blyde River Canyon and the Panorama Route are a must for anyone in the area. The canyon itself -- the third largest in the world -- is so breathtaking in person, you have to blink several times to ensure it's real. Then you drive along the Panorama Route and experience more natural wonders, such as God's Window and Pinnacle Rock. If you're in the Mpumalanga area, it would be a shame to miss out on this beautiful region.
I don't think there are enough words to describe how much my family and I enjoyed our experience at Gomo Gomo. From the moment we arrived -- to 10 elephants cooling down in the dam adjacent to the lodge -- we knew we were in for a treat. The lodge itself is rustic and comfortable, with a prime spot alongside the water. The rangers immediately make you feel at home and are experts at what they do. The food, particularly the boma dinner, is delicious, intimate and contributes to the general feeling of welcome that is present at Gomo Gomo. Since my return to New York, I've gone though withdrawals and often try to get updates from the lodge's Facebook page on which animals they've spotted recently. This is a lovely place that doesn't break the bank but still manages to give you a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
No trip to Namibia is complete without a visit to see the amazing sand dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert. Be sure to go before sun-up so that you are there for the sunrise. The sun rising behind the dunes turns them into the most amazing shades of apricot. The contrast of the orange sand with the purple shades caused from the shadows is absolutely stunning. For such a desolate, unforgiving environment, the beauty was unparalleled
I dug irrigation ditches to pay for college. I did my undergrad at Baylor, my masters at SMU, and I did my PhD at the Univ of Texas and did post grad at the Sorbonne in Paris. I moved to Colorado to ski, eventually becoming a certified free-style aerial ski instructor for the Ski School of Aspen, and their most requested instructor. I was at the top of the food chain when I passed out a flyer advocating a living wage for employees of the Aspen Ski Company, the largest employer in my town. At the time, Aspen paid 69 bucks to instructors for a lesson they charged over 600 bucks. On the day I passed out that flyer, Aspen Skiing owned by Chicago billionaires banned me from all the national forests that they lease and control. Four years hence, we are still in court over the idea that public lands are public. I believe a leader must be a servant to the community, and I believe one’s parents say a lot about them. My daddy grew up on a farm without running water or electricity. He was the 1st person to go to college in his family; designed the space suit the Apollo astronauts used on the moon; started his own business and became the American dream personified. My parents went to Africa on their 50th wedding anniv. & there they met a man without running water in his village. They took seven of us back there to Kenya to bring water to that man’s village and to establish a school. My parents told me the most imp. things in life are to love your God and to love your fellow man.
The closest you will ever come to Hogwarts. Chapel of the Chimes is a historic gem nestled quietly at the foot of Piedmont Cemetery. Originally built in 1909 and titled, The California Columbarium, the chapel has expanded, becoming a vast 3 story menagerie of indoor gardens, labyrinths of memorials and masterfully designed spaces. The "indoor cemetery"'s structure takes on a meld of middle eastern airiness and Gothic romance. Visitors will experience a sense of calm walking through the naturally lit hallways, listening to birds sing and fountains trickle. Family members of the deceased quietly leave flowers and spend time paying their respects. The main office on the lobby floor offers a health of information on the property and it's history. There is no entry fee which is a plus too. Though it may seem a strange to offer a mausoleum as a tourist stop, the strange yet breath taking architecture is well worth the time. To further your experience, take a walk or drive through Mountain View Cemetery. The historic grounds host spectacular mausoleums, monuments and headstones dating back to the mid 1800s. Landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, also designed Central Park and much of UC Berkeley and Stanford University. There are many grandiose crypts in tribute to the wealthy who are buried there. There are docent lead tours to guild you around its beautiful settings and to share its history.
I like to pride myself in checking out all kinds of food no matter where I find it. When you stop into this place, which is a little bit tucked back away from the road ask Chris, she is the resident culinary genius, and have her make you the Kranky Mexican, a Tex-Mex style pizza with black beans, sweet corn, chicken, secret Kranky sauce (it has a kick!) and copious amounts of mozzarella cheese! Let's just say I tried to eat the whole thing in one sitting. Just in case you brought company and are still hungry after that pizza, ask for the cinnamon butter infused apple Pie Pie, yes... 2 pies.
Combining the service of the Four Seasons, which took over the property in 2012, with a Santa Fe vibe—albeit a contemporary take on Southwestern style—this hotel manages to feel luxurious without sacrificing authenticity. Its location, about 10 miles outside Santa Fe, also gives guests a true taste of the high desert—plus views of the Jemez and Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Rio Grande River valley—while still granting easy access to downtown (via a complimentary shuttle, if you so desire). The Four Seasons invested over $1.1 million in landscaping improvements, the Monte Vista Terrace, and other additional offerings like the Adventure Center and Chef’s Table. Originally a privately owned ranch, the property dates back to the early 1900s. Previous owners include Guestward Ho! authors Barbara and Bill Hooton (then, the estate was known as Rancho del Monte) and, between 1968 and 1992, Betty Egan, who gave the property its current name (a reflection of Santa Fe’s tagline: The Land of Enchantment). John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart are just two of its legendary guests.
Having spent ample time in Sun Valley in the winter and summer seasons, I had no idea how much I would love the autumn. The surrounding areas are filled with magical golden fall hues. There is plenty of activity to take part in before the popular ski season arrives. Hike any of the gorgeous trails encountering amazing views and crisp clean fall air. Stroll along the streets of Ketchum taking in the art scene, and any number of wonderful restaurants. There is plenty to be had in this beautiful area inbetween September and October!
Bear Mountain Lodge has had many lives since it was first built in 1928. Back then, it was a school for unruly boys from the East Coast; later it became a country club and hotel for the well-heeled; and before artist-turned-innkeeper Linda Brewer bought the property five years ago and turned it into a 10-room lodge, it was owned by the Nature Conservancy. It’s fitting, then, that nature is the main attraction at the lodge, which sits on 178 acres and has horses, cows, and chickens, plus birds and butterflies and a pond that’s home to the endangered Chiricahua Leopard Frog. The Gila National Forest—at 2.7 million acres, the largest wilderness area in the Southwest—is the lodge’s back yard. If you find yourself missing civilization, Silver City is just over three miles away, but escape is really the point here. And while there is Wi-Fi, there aren’t any televisions.
Tucked down an alleyway near Oxford Street is one of London's most exclusive and unique clubs, the Cirque le Soir. Translating in French to circus of the night, this dance club lives up to its name. Here, you can be anyone, and every night is a fancy dress party if you want it to be. My recommendation is to arrive before midnight, because after the clock strikes 12 the line starts getting pretty long. Once you descend into the "underworld" there's an all night party waiting for you with circus performers, games, and vendors with popcorn and cotton candy. Make sure to explore the circus early because once 1 am hits the show starts: dancers, fire breathers, lasers, drag queens, living dolls; anything is possible. A night that I will never forget.
In 30-odd years of living in Florence, I've never learnt how to make pasta, so I jumped at the chance to join in a pasta-making class at Desinare, a wonderful new cooking school and kitchen shop in the Oltrarno. Under the guidance of our patient teacher, expert chef Arturo Dori, a group of 6 of us learnt to make three types of stuffed pasta in three hours: 'plin' (a meaty speciality from the Alpine region of the Val d'Aosta) with cheese fondue; potato-stuffed tortelli with meat ragù; long, cigar-shaped cannelloncini filled with broccoli and topped with baby squid. Plenty of wine along the way contributed to a fun, convivial atmosphere with lots of chat, and we ate the delicious results at the end of the session. Classes can be tailor-made to fit with individual requests, and you can also learn about food photography and table settings. The Desinare shop stocks fabulous kitchen equipment, bright ceramics and glassware: everything you need to recreate 'una cucina Italiana' back home.
A unique new seaplane service has just started operating in Vietnam meaning that it’s now possible to see stunning Halong Bay from the air. Travellers are treated to a spectacular birds-eye scenic view of the thousands of green limestone islands and crystal clear waters.
Hanoi View Hotel is a standard boutique hotel. The price is reasonable for the nice hotel, it costs only US$ 20 room/night with breakfast. Location is very convenient and good to know the local's life. If you want to luxury hotel, book Melia Hotel Hanoi
Hanoi is really amazing and mysterious city. Visit it and you will find how crazy Hanoi's traffic. But it is really wonderful experience. You check hanoi hotels list after book a room in hotels in saigon.
This landmark inn has been around since 1936, when it was known as the Hotel Martin—and the adobe homes that comprise the property date back even earlier. Originally built in the 1800s, the structures are clustered around a central plaza that, today, serves as the hotel lobby. The largest residence is now the restaurant Doc Martin’s, named after its onetime owner, Dr. Thomas Paul Martin, the county physician as well as an avid supporter of the arts. In fact, the Taos Society of Artists was founded in his dining room in 1912, and he later bought the neighboring houses to rent out to writers and artists. When the only hotel in town burned to the ground, Doc bought the Tartleton House (the last on the square and now home to the Adobe Bar) and he and his wife Helen opened for business. The property has been maintained and upgraded over the years (most recently in 2006), but the look (Spanish colonial antiques and brightly patterned bedspreads) hasn’t changed much since then—and that’s part of the charm.
I've always had a very romantic notion of Seville. It's the land of flamenco after all. And when we visited the city last summer, our night strolls of the cobble stoned streets affirmed all my romantic ideas. Exploring the halls and gardens of the Alcazar was also one of the highlights. The grounds are beautiful and it's easy for one to close their eyes and imagine what it would have been like to live in this place. For a perfect day, start your day with churros con chocolate before sight seeing. And end it with plenty of tapas and wine from an authentic taperia. And don't miss out on a beautiful drive out in the countryside!
While many area hotels offer a subtle interpretation of Southwestern design (adobe walls, kiva fireplaces, local art), there’s nothing understated about the Inn at the Five Graces. The inn is a showcase for designers Ira and Sylvia Seret’s far-flung finds: Navajo bedspreads, Uzbek and Pakistani rugs and tapestries, iron and woodwork from Mexico, Peru, and India. It’s the epitome of East-meets-West. First opened in 1996 as Serets’ 1001 Nights, the hotel is located on one of the country’s oldest inhabited streets and is comprised of 17th- and 18th-century adobe buildings connected by a maze of courtyards. In 2002, the inn was renamed to reflect Afghan and Tibetan artifacts in its collection and the eastern idea of the five graces (sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste). In 2009, it became a Relais & Chateau property.
John Gaw Meem is considered one of New Mexico’s most influential architects—and that fact alone makes this ranch, designed in 1932 by the so-called Father of Santa Fe style, worth a visit. But Meem isn’t the only big name associated with the property: Landscape architect Rose Greeley designed the gardens and artist Peter Hurd painted a mural on the property. The hotel is set on 25 acres of lavender fields, first planted in 1999 and now used for a line of in-house spa products. There are organic gardens, too, which provide the kitchen with Chimayo chilies, casaba melons, big cheese squash, and other seasonal produce. The look here tends toward clean lines, neutral hues, and quiet elegance over fussiness, though the historic rooms tend to have a bit more New Mexico flair—kiva fireplaces, exposed ceiling beams, local art—than the newer farm rooms. The latter are located in 1930s-style dairy buildings, carefully constructed to feel both of the era and of the place.
You’d never know that this pueblo-luxe hotel was once the town penitentiary. It’s a credit to Rosewood Hotels & Resorts that the hotel group chose to renovate the existing structure rather than level it and start from scratch. And, if the rooms are on the smaller side, no one seems to mind, especially after the just-completed renovation by Jim Rimelspach, who originally designed the property when it opened nearly 25 years ago. Named after the lost tribe of the Anasazi, ancestors of the Pueblo, the hotel tastefully pays tribute to the Southwest. Adobe walls, kiva-style fireplaces, handwoven carpets, and throw pillows made from Pendleton blankets pair seamlessly with Italian linens by Rivolta Carmignani and toiletries by New York’s C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries. There’s also plenty of Native American art, including Arlo Namingha’s bronze sculpture Hano Mana and Ken Rosenthal’s silver gelatin print Seen and Not Seen, throughout the three-story hotel. The result: A vibe that is modern and sophisticated while still maintaining a sense of place.
The Hotel St. Francis lays claim to being Santa Fe’s oldest hotel. Rebuilt in its current location in 1924, after a fire left its predecessor completely ravaged (save the brick chimney), the property formerly known as the De Vargas Hotel played host to elegant ladies and gentlemen in top hats, politicos, and other VIPs during its heyday. After World War II, the hotel lost some of its luster, though it was still popular with government types until the 1960s. In 1986, new owners restored the hotel to its previous grandeur, replaced the barber and beauty shops with a restaurant and bar, and gave the property its current name. Most recently, in 2008, the property was purchased by Heritage Hotels and Resorts and underwent yet another makeover. Inspired by St. Francis, the patron saint of Santa Fe and founder of the Franciscan order, the look is best described as haute-monastic. Think Frette linens and flat-screen televisions paired with neutral hues, wood furnishings crafted by local artisans, and dim, candlelit common spaces.
Meet my new be(a)stie Boomer! Born 19 years ago on an Amish farm in Ohio, he was sold to a logging company. When he turned ten, he was brought to Fernandina Beach, where he's become a much loved resident. He's been taking people around town ever since, and to be comfortable when 'working', he wears 'easy boots'–rubberized tennis shoes for horses! Call me a tourist, but I totally enjoyed the ride. A carriage provides a perfect pace to take it all in and learn a little bit about this place. Standard tours last about 30-35mins, cover major landmarks in the Historic District and, depending on your guide, include a sprinkling of good ghost and pirate stories. Private tours can be arranged and customized for you. Prices (at time of posting): Adults: $15, Children: $7 (Age 5-14) Age 4 and under free. Phone: (904) 556 2662 __________________________ A warm thank you: My Amelia Island experience was courtesy of Omni Resorts Amelia Island Plantation (http://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/amelia-island-plantation). #MeetMeAtAmelia
For once, do like every tourist and beeline it to the Acropolis, which is terrifying in size and time warps you back to 5th Century BCE. Get a fresh-squeezed OJ at the bottom, as the oranges in Greece are unreal.
If you tire of the crowds of tourists in Athens, wander a mile or so from the noise into Exarcheia. You'll find loads of cool bars, bookstores, and coffeeshops along with local punkish types in leather with mohawks. It's rough around the edges and known as an anarchist colony of sorts.
What better way to enjoy the sunset—sipping an icy Margarita and sampling fresh foods during happy hour in Ventura. We visited Brophy Brothers in Ventura Harbor Village to try out its happy hour. We ordered oysters on the half shell, shrimp cocktail, clam chowder and garlic backed clams. The clam chowder was the best I’ve ever had—and I’m very picky!. Everything tasted great and we were served by a very happy and accommodating wait staff. The portions were large enough that we made it a meal. What’s nice is that prices are about half of the restaurant’s regularly priced food and drinks. The weather was mild so we sat outside on the deck with a view of the harbor and the mountains. A perfect way to end a fall day! Happy hour at Brophy Brothers in Ventura runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Monemvasia (meaning "one entry") is a medieval settlement in the Greek Peloponnese that is surrounded by a natural moat: the Mediterranean Sea. A bridge connects to land and parking is easy enough to find. Wander the streets and you'll pass a few dozen old churches and chapels, beautiful and classic Mediterranean roofing, and a string of cafes where you can enjoy affordable and delicious local wines over a game of backgammon at sunset.
People will tell you that the drive to Elafonisos island is just 30 minutes from Monemvasia but allow 45 to navigate the adventurous roads through small towns. Wait for the ferry that allows cars (there are two) and then take the road to the left that goes toward Simos Beach. The warm, bright blue water glitters like those 4th of July sparklers and, if you go in early October, you'll probably have it all to yourself.
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