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SPRING 2014 LA TRAVEL


Spring 2014

Also in this issue... 120

112

52

80

90

30

One of LA’s hottest concierges gives us insider tips to access the best of the city

p.16

Europe

Barcelona! Barthelona!

SoCal

Escape to Santa Barbara

Africa

A Retreat from Chaos

Mexico

Realizing Loreto

NorCal

A First Timers View of Lake Tahoe

Asia

Raj, Royals and Ruins

We unveil the masters behind some of the best craft cocktails in Southern California

p.45 Former Olympic Athlete Jaime Komer shows us tips and tricks on how to train hard on the road

p.77

LA TRAVEL MAGAZINE Staff

Contributors

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jennifer Mclaughlin

Ava Roxanne Stritt

Executive Editor Michael Dunn

Chris Dunn

Photography Director Hannah Skye Design Director Olivia Harris Social Media Director Delna Briggs

Published and Produced by

Travel guru Samantha Brown, from the Travel Channel talks life, growing up in New Hampshire and her best and worst travel experiences

p.82

Chantele Petrocelli

Pack your bags and get ready to soak up the sun with spring travel deals you won’t be able to refuse

Kathryn Lejeune Susan Watkins Leslie Moore Susan Barnes Jenna Rose Robbins Nicole Prentice Williams Mikela Redd Jaime Komer

Account Manager-Southern California Joan Burton

Sarah Dandashy

Web Development Joe Issac

Rebecca Goins

Richard Carroll Adriana Gomez

Cover Photo Credit: Amanda Green Bottoms

p.110

www.kevinandamanda.com

We’re Social! Send us your travel pics! contactus@latravelmag.com

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SPRING 2014 LA TRAVEL


Letter from the Editors With

spring in the air Winter 2014 Launch Party and summer right around the corner the urge to travel is stronger than ever and Angelenos are on the move! With economies being revitalized all over the world, travel and tourism is seeing a major boost and this is a great thing for all of us! 2014 started off with a bang with our writers having experienced some amazing destinations from South Carolina to Sri Lanka to the fabulous Cinque Terre in the Italian Riviera. Once again we are excited to bring amazing travel tips, stories, do’s and don’ts to you the reader. Our continuous goal is to inspire Angelenos to travel the world and make sure they are getting the travel that they deserve! It is only a few clicks away, get on the internet and start booking your next dream vacation!

We hope you enjoy some of the new additions to LA Travel including a fitness travel column by former Olympic Athlete, Jaime Komer as well as “Ask a Concierge” with one of our favorite city concierges, Sarah Dandashy. Our talented team at LA Travel continues to bring you the best of the best all around the world and we challenge you: If you haven’t been on a vacation in awhile, pick a spot in this issue and start packing your bags! Carpe Diem! We wish you a fabulous spring and look forward to sharing more with you in the months to come! Michael Dunn & Jennifer McLaughlin

Where are we off to next?

Marietas Island

Shanghai

Rio de Janeiro 7


You asked... Have a quest ion ab out t ravel? Ask away! Q -I’m planning to take a trip by myself. Are there any destinations that are especially appealing for solo travelers? First off, you’re not alone. Solo travelers account for 11 percent of all American vacationers. No destination is strictly offlimits to solo travelers, but some places are easier (and more appealing) to navigate than others. In general, the best bets for firsttime single travelers are English-speaking destinations known for their friendliness and hospitality, such as Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia. After all, you’re a lot less likely to get lost or feel lonely if you’re surrounded by people who can understand what you’re saying. Southeast Asia, Thailand and Vietnam are also particularly welcoming, if only for the affordability and prevalence of English.

Q - I booked a flight to Paris with friends for September, in February I found out I can’t go. I want to change the name on my ticket and gift it to my friend. Why won’t my airline allow this? Very few airlines allow name changes. Among the ones that do are Air Canada, WestJet and Frontier Airlines, sometimes for free, other times for a fee, depending on which fare you purchased. The main reason is that if name changes were always allowed, some people would buy up hundreds of seats at the lowest fares and then resell them (with a name change) to other passengers when the fares are higher, such as for last minute travel. This would make for absolute chaos in the airlines’ booking procedures and result in a major loss of revenue. ©2014 San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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Q - I know the airlines can notify you of an assigned gate or change, but is there any single source I can use all of the time to get information without having to trust my airline to update me? There are two apps that are quite good and both have a basic version for free. Try iFly Airport Guide or GateGuru. They will give you security checkpoint times as well as gate assignments at all major domestic airports and hundreds around the world. If you fly frequently, we would recommend buying the “Pro” version.

Q - What Is Best Season to Go to Hawaii? The best season to go to Hawaii is between April and October. This is normally the dry season and reservations can be done early at a decent rate.

EMAIL YOUR QUESTIONS TO ASKUS@LATRAVELMAGAZINE.COM OR TWEET US @LATRAVELMAG


©2014 SAN ANTONIO CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU


DIRECTED BY CRISS ANGEL AND SERGE DENONCOURT WRITTEN BY CRISS ANGEL

FOR EXCLUSIVE ANNIVERSARY OFFERS CALL 800-557-7428 OR VISIT LUXOR.COM


Local Highlights RESTAURANT OPENINGS This April, WATERTABLE (at the Hyatt HB) will shake up Huntington Beach’s laid back “Surf City” dining scene with a sophisticated and contemporary experience. The restaurant will introduce unique concepts inspired by “essential pairings” (food/drink, rustic/ refined, old/new) and naturally … water, hand-dipped from a free-flowing contemporary “well” and infused with ever-changing herbs, spices and syrups. A few highlights include: • Bar Jars: pair your beverage with a bar jar filled with pates or pickled items • Inspired Beverages: Global wines, regionally inspired spirits, Beer-tails and signature infused water • Sunday Supper: Meat+Three – California style • Grab & Go Gourmet Selection

Orsa & Winston Chef Josef Centeno, a well-known grinder who seems most comfortable in the kitchen, steps into the spotlight at Orsa & Winston, which features a refined combination of Italian and Japanese cuisines and a more open design that keeps the main man front and center. The menu changes daily and gets as ambitious as diners will allow, from a four-course family-style menu that costs $50 per person to seats to a “super omakase” meal at the chef’s counter. The menu is highly seasonal, but you might catch dishes like koshihikari rice with uni and Pecorino cream or pork loin with chicken liver mousse and huckleberries. Centeno already captured the attention of Angelenos with Bäco Mercat and Bar Amá in the Old Bank District, and Orsa & Winston is likely to keep it. 122 West 4th Street, Downtown, 213-687-0300, orsandwinston.com

LOS ANGELES

ENTER TAINMENT

Concerts • Bruno Mars, May 31st- Hollywood Bowl • Journey and Steve Miller Band May 16th-Hollywood Bowl • Billy Joel, May 17th-Hollywood Bowl • Los Angeles Philharmonic, May 30thWalt Disney Concert Hall, LA

20th LA Film Fest: June 10–19, 2014 The Los Angeles Film Festival, hosted by Film Independent, is a perfect example of why Tinsel Town continues to be the epicenter for show business. This Los Angeles Film Festival attracts more than 90,000 people and showcases some of the best in American and international cinema, annually screening over 100 films. The Festival features a host of outdoor screenings, intimate coffee talks with established directors and producers, and the famous Filmmaker Retreat. Ticket packages start at $80 for college students wanting to see eight films and reach as high as $2500 for an all-access pass. www.lafilmfest.com

CULTURE

The 10th Annual Temecula Wine and Music Festival More Music, More Wineries, More Vendors! With over fourteen acts over the weekend and over ten wineries offering a unique wine tasting experience this is one of California’s largest wine and music events. Don’t miss the concert event of the year in Temecula’s wine country. The Temecula Wine and Music Festival is one of the most prestigious music events in the Temecula Valley. This year, the festival will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest County. temeculawineandmusicfestival.com

Musicals The smash-hit musical AMERICAN IDIOT tells the story of three lifelong friends, forced to choose between their dreams and the safety of suburbia. Based on Green Day’s GRAMMY® Award-winning multi platinum album and featuring the hits “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “21 Guns,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” “Holiday” and the blockbuster title track, AMERICAN IDIOT boldly takes the American musical where it’s never gone before. May 13-18

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New Kids on the

Block The O.C. recently added two major players to the culinary scene and they just happen to be neighbors. Shall we say making a statement? For those who say the O.C dining scene needed more top notch restaurants, they just got a two for one. Located on the outside rim of the well known shopping mecca Fashion Island, Fig & Olive and Red O are both ranking as “the top places to be seen” these days. As you enter both locations you instantly notice the stunning architecture and trendy vibe. Don’t take our word for it, head to fashion island in Newport Beach and try one or both of these hot new additions for yourself!

Red O

Top Chef Master Champion and famed Chef Rick Bayless debuted his second Red O in Newport Beach recently to rave reviews. This high-end Mexican cuisine restaurant highlights a lobby surrounded by tequila bottles, high arches and intricately tiled walls in the dining room while the refreshing sounds of Columbian salsa sets the mood. The menu features a combination of both authentic Mexican cuisine and lighter, California-style dishes. Try the Pomegranate Walnut Guacamole, Ahi Tuna Verde, Beef Short Rib Sopes and of course one of their signature Margaritas! According to Chef Rick Bayless, “this comfortable and inviting establishment feeds off the luxurious yet leisure coastal lifestyle Newport Beach embodies.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Red O is a must try. 12

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Fig & Olive Newport Beach’s newest hot spot for coastal French cuisine. The multifaceted design of the 12,000 squarefoot, 330 seat dining destination features a variety of functional spaces with natural limestone and white stucco walls throughout including several dining areas and a 2,646 square-foot Terrace Garden Lounge. Fig & Olive carries over 30 different extra virgin olive oils from all over the world and are sold in their large retail store within the restaurant. They also offer an extensive wine list with pairings that work well with the menu selection. Crostinis are a must here, try an assortment of the many they have to offer. Manchego, Fig, Marcona Almond/Burrata, Tomato, Herbs, Balsamic/Prosciutto, Ricotta, Fig, Olive, Walnut. Don’t miss the Fig Gorgonzola Tartlet, this buttery puff pastry concoction will melt in your mouth and leave you wanting more. Fig & Olive is open for brunch, lunch and dinner daily. On weekends, special holidays, and for private events. Soulful house and new down tempo music by St. Tropez‘s celebrity DJ Julien Nolan. This restaurant is ideal if you’re looking for a unique and new dining experience in Orange County.

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THEME PARK

INSIDER

NEW IN 2014 Adventure City in Anaheim debuts “Rewind Racers,” a $2 million steel shuttle coaster designed for the whole family. The coaster takes riders the track’s hills and curves both forward and backward. Aquatica San Diego in Chula Vista introduces the 375-foot “Taumata Racer” water slide that sends riders in and out of tunnels and along a 180-degree swooping turn. Gilroy Gardens opens the $2 million “Water Play Oasis” in Watsonville, south of San Jose. The play space includes a flower-themed splash pad and two-foot-deep pool for young children. Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park celebrates the 30th anniversary of its Camp Snoopy children’s zone with a restoration of the area and the addition of three new attractions. “Charlie Brown’s Kite Flyers,” a 32-passenger swing ride, takes riders up to 18 feet off the ground as they spin around the Kite Eating Tree. “Pig Pen’s Mud Buggies” lets up to 24 guests climb aboard six allterrain vehicles for an adventurous ride that spins and bounces. On “Linus Launcher,” guests lay side-by-side on one of 12 blankets that takes them soaring up to 10 feet in the air. Legoland California Resort in Carlsbad expands its water park by 3 acres and renames the attraction Legends of Chima Water Park. The new area features the “Lion Temple Wave Pool,” an interactive wave pool designed for families with young children. “Mount Cavora,” a 30-foot-tall tower at the center of the wave pool dumps more than 400 gallons of water per minute into the area below. Guests also can find adventure in Craggers Swamp, a hands-on water play area featuring slides and water cannons, as well as “Eglor’s Build-A-Boat,” where children can build boats while learning to adjust for currents and dodge obstacles while racing against fellow guests. “The Lego Movie Experience” also opens at the resort. Guests can step onto a Lego soundstage, see movie footage, and explore some of the Lego models that helped inspire the new original 3-D animated movie.

SeaWorld San Diego debuts Explorer’s Reef, a new beach-themed park entrance with four kid-friendly touch pools in the 3-acre space. Each touch pool contains 24,000 gallons of water and allows children to pet thousands of fish, including 400 brown-banded and white-spotted bamboo sharks. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo introduces the interactive “Tsunami Soaker,” a classic spinning teacup ride with a twist. Each vehicle is partially submerged in a pool of water and outfitted with a water gun that allows guests to soak one another and bystanders. Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia renovates Bugs Bunny World for the park’s youngest thrill seekers. The park debuts a new children’s coaster, “Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod Racers,” bringing the number of children’s coasters in the park to four. More experienced thrill seekers can enjoy riding the “Batman the Ride” and “Colossus” roller coasters backward for limited times during the 2014 season. Universal Studios Hollywood introduces the fully immersive “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem” attraction where guests enter Gru’s house as they wait to experience a 3-D journey into his laboratory. 14

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Hotel Spotlight:

T

Catamaran Resort & Spa he Catamaran Resort & Spa is one of the most unique hotels that San Diego has to offer. This 312 room, tropical-themed resort is just miles from several attractions, including Balboa Park, SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, and the historic old town. This resort was established in 1958, originally the summer home of the Scripps family. After being sold in 1955, William D. Evans purchased it and began construction of the Catamaran Resort & Spa.

The Catamaran offers a variety of water sports including sailboats, kayaks and paddleboards as well as an aquatic park. It is also home to the only beachfront spa in San Diego, The Catamaran Spa. We had the pleasure of enjoying a Swedish massage which uses a traditional Western technique with soothing strokes to encourage circulation, stimulate the nervous system and induce natural relaxation. We also recommend the Classic Cleansing Facial. This European-style facial is great for skin that is in need of a little TLC. The Catamaran spa also offers many additional treatments including wraps, water therapies and nail care. Dining at Atoll Restaurant within the Catamaran resort is a must when visiting or staying at the property. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and won Best Sunday Brunch within the Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and Mission Bay communities. The laidback vibe of the Catamaran Resort & Spa, combined with the fantastic spa, delicious meals and generous customer service makes this a perfect vacation destination. Tip: Explore the resorts hidden gardens of over 1,000 types of eclectic plants and flowers, exotic birds, 100 varieties of palm trees and 30 types of hibiscus. Surround yourself with striking sunsets, the splendor of secluded sandy beaches, and the sights and sounds of nature all in one place.


Ask a

Concierge

What are the best hotel pools?

Spending the day at a hotel pool is a sure way to beat the heat this season. Not staying at a hotel? Here are my favorite pools that are open to the public—with the purchase of food and drinks or cabana rental!

The London West Hollywood

This rooftop pool is a hidden gem! Reserved mainly for hotel guests; non-hotel guests can gain access to this rooftop haven by renting a cabana. The scene is sophisticated and relaxed, offering funky music and a heated pool. So if you’re looking to bask under the sun with class, this is the place to be. Delicious cocktails, attractive people, and an amazing 360 degree view—what’s not to love? Insider Tip: Stay into the evening to enjoy cocktails by the fireplace.

The Hollywood Roosevelt

The Tropicana Pool Bar is a classic pool party experience. Located in the heart of Hollywood, the David Hockey-designed pool is open daily to the public with the purchase of food and drinks from the bar. On weekends, entrance requires bottle service or a room key. Surrounded by towering palm trees and filled with fun music, you never know which celeb is going to be in the chair next to you! Insider Tip: Order one of their “Candy Bar” cocktails to make the afternoon that much sweeter.

The Standard Downtown

Hi I’m Sarah, and I’m a concierge at one of the top hotels in Los Angeles. Every day, people ask me, “Where should I go? What should we do?” Well, I’ve got you covered. Whether you have a day or a decade, there’s always something new in LA to discover! 16

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This rooftop pool offers an escape in the middle of the city. With panoramic views of downtown, the pool is open daily to the public. Offering a heated pool, vibrating waterbeds, a dance floor, and DJ-spun tunes, the Standard Downtown is a day-to-night pool party destination! Insider Tip: Try and go Sunday through Thursday to avoid the entrance cover.

Live Like A Local: Is there a

hotel pool you are dying to try out? Try the middle of the week! Go solo, or as a pair. Call ahead to see if they are willing to make an exception.


Are there any great hikes in Hollywood?

A great perk about being in Los Angeles is that it doesn’t take much of a drive to get to a hike and get a good dose of nature. Get out there and enjoy one of these fabulous hikes!

Runyon Canyon is one of LA’s more

popular hikes, turning hiking into a social event. With several route options, you can do a quick 45 minute loop or longer if so inspired. It is also a dog friendly park with an off-leash area for your pup to play. Free yoga classes are also offered daily just inside the gated entrance. Insider Tip: Bring some extra dollars to refresh with a bottled water or granola bar after your hike or yoga class!

Griffith Park has over 53 miles

of trails offering many options for hikers. My personal favorite starts right off of Fern Dell Road. From there you can hike up to the Griffith Observatory, then you can continue on up to the summit of Mount Hollywood—the highest peak of the park where you can enjoy 360 views of the city! Insider Tip: Pack a snack or light lunch and enjoy it on the lush lawn of the Observatory.

The Hollyridge Trail hike is great

for visitors as you can get active while seeing the famous Hollywood sign. After following signs up through the hills the path takes you right above the letters where you can take in the view of both the sign and the entire Los Angeles Basin. On a clear day, you can even see all the way to the ocean! Insider Tip: Veer off the path just before the Hollywood Sign and make your way along the ridge to the “Lone Tree.”

Live Like A Local: My secret

spot is the Beachwood Canyon Stairs that wind through the residential Hollywood Hills. Keep a look out for the castle theme in the architecture! You can even peel off and trek down to Lake Hollywood. A true oasis in the middle of Los Angeles. 17


Where to grab lunch like a celebrity?

The “power lunch” is huge in Los Angeles. This is where movie deals happen and business bonds are formed. It is also a great place to catch a celebrity or two!

Cecconi’s is just steps away from all the shops on Robertson Blvd and makes the perfect spot to take a break from all that shopping. This modern Italian eatery attracts a sophisticated crowd, with lovely salads, pizzas, and pasta dishes to fuel you through the rest of your day. Insider Tip: Try the Grilled Octopus and the Agnolotti, both are fantastic!

Tavern LA Tucked away

in the residential area of Brentwood, Tavern LA attracts foodies and A-listers looking to get away from the limelight of Beverly Hills. The menu is a Californian-Mediterranean fusion. The atmosphere is elegant, and the cocktails are worthy of ordering another round! Insider Tip: Order the Devil’s Chicken... just trust me on this one!

Cafe Gratitude, situated just

around the corner from Paramount Studios, this lunch spot draws a large Industry and health conscious crowd. The vegan menu inspires positivity with titles from “I am Happy” to “I am Awesome.” They offer wine and beer, but the locals know it is all about the housemade juices! Insider Tip: Order the “I am Present” (Seasonal Bruschetta) and the “I am Magical” (Veggie Burger).

Live Like A Local:

Always request a patio table!

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Boutique shopping?

There is lots of great shopping in LA, but I really love our amazing boutiques. Check out these areas to score a unique find!

Abbot Kinney in Venice is a true

artist community! Indie retailers line the street selling funky clothing, artisan-made furniture, one-of-a-kind gifts, and cuttingedge art. Looking to purchase items you can’t find anywhere else? Look no further! Must visit stores include Satine, Bazar, Milkmade, and Aviator Nation. Insider Tip: Parking can be tough, so rent a bike to cruise the streets.

Montana Avenue shops span

over a 10-block stretch in Santa Monica. Upscale and beachy is the theme-du-jour of the clothing boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and top-notch spas. Where else is it acceptable to find people shopping in their Lululemon best? Drop in to London Sole, The Blue Jeans Bar, Kicks, Planet Blue, and Jurlique’s Skin Bar. Insider Tip: Wear comfy shoes and ditch the car to easily explore all the different stores.

West 3rd Street is a burgeoning

boutique shopping destination! Nestled between Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, its location is unparalleled. A little bit modern with a vintage twist, it’s the perfect place to find a special gift or snag something for yourself! Swing by the popular Polkadot and Moonbeams, Flight 001, and Civilianaire. Insider Tip: Grab a juice or a coffee at Clover Juice for the perfect pickme-up.

Live Like A Local: Shop

mid-week for less foot traffic and a more personalized shopping experience. Like what you read? For more Los Angeles travel tips, find us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube! www.AskAConcierge.TV 19


Villagio Inn & Spa, Yountville

Right in the center of California’s wine country you’ll find Villagio Inn & Spa. This AAA Four Diamond resort exudes elegance and fully captivates the spirit of Napa Valley. The hotel offers 112 guest rooms and 26 private and spacious junior suites designed for comfort and relaxation. Each guest room includes a plush down comforter, a wood-burning fireplace, in-room Nespresso machine, flat screen television, twice-daily housekeeping service, private balconies and garden patios. Guests are provided a welcome bottle of Napa Valley wine, a complimentary daily champagne breakfast buffet and afternoon tea service. Villagio Inn & Spa also features a 13,000 square foot spa that includes luxurious treatment rooms as well as 5 vast suites that can accommodate small groups. The suites all have fireplaces, jetted infinity soaking tubs, steam showers, wet bars, private patios, and music that all work together to create a perfect harmony. The spa offers something for everyone- from 50 minute massages to three and a half hour aroma therapeutic treatments combining Old World techniques and the latest in wellness. The on-site restaurant, Bottega, presents house-made pastas and seafood plates from famed celebrity chef Michael Chiarello. Every dish on the menu is thoughtfully executed and beautifully presented. Chiarello’s culinary team also includes Chef de Cuisine Nick Ritchie, a talented young chef who has worked with Chiarello for years. 20

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LATM Favorites: Il Piatto di Salumi e Formaggi “House cured” prosciutto, Tuscan & Calabrian salumi, Teleme, Montasio, Chianti Pecorino cheese, Sicilian almonds, vine dried raisins. “Green Eggs and Ham” Crispy soft-cooked egg, olive oil braised Delta asparagus, blood orange zabaglione, prosciutto white balsamic vinaigrette. Potato Dough Raviolo Filled with spinach and ricotta, black truffles, farm fresh egg yolk, sage brown butter. From bachelorette parties to a romantic weekend for two, Villagio Inn & Spa is the ideal gathering location for any Napa getaway. The Italian gardens, cobblestone courtyards, and overall Mediterranean-style truly make the Villago Inn & Spa Napa’s little slice of heaven.

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The Best of... EAT Redd Wood

Yountville

Famed chef Richard Reddington’s second, more casual outpost, Redd Wood is a superbly stylish Italian-inspired eatery. Reddington brings a new sensibility to this laid-back wine country destination: a polished, chic restaurant with a voguish vibe and hip playlist coupled with an osteria-styled menu and locally sourced wine list.

BOUCHON

To experience another side of Thomas Keller’s culinary genius try Bouchon. This Yountville bistro serves French fare that will leave you wanting more. Don’t forget to stop over at the bakery next door for dessert as the baked specialty items are a well deserved treat.

soar Napa Valley Aloft Balloon Rides is a local family owned and operated business located in the heart of wine country. The family has been hot air ballooning over Napa Valley for more than 30 years! The hot air balloon operation is run out of V-Marketplace and their FAA certified hot air balloon pilots are among the most experienced in the world with extensive knowledge of ballooning over Napa Valley specifically. Combine that with their passion for hot air ballooning and you have the perfect hosts and guides for a most unforgettable Napa Valley flight!

wine & art Ma(i)sonry Originally built in 1904 as a private residence, the manor is one of three stone buildings in Yountville, and one of only two listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The furnishings ranging from 16th century to mid-twentieth century are paired with contemporary works of art crafted by today’s top designers. This “living gallery” atmosphere serves as a stylized backdrop for the appreciation of limited production boutique wines. The outdoor gardens are beautifully landscaped around architectural remnants and contemporary sculptures and are available for our clients to relax and enjoy a bite or a bottle of wine on their own before or after their tasting. Bell Cellars Established in 1991, Bell Wine Cellars is a small, family owned winery committed to hand-crafting limited edition bottlings of extraordinary wines. Owners, Anthony and Sandra Bell are highly educated and have plenty of wine knowledge to share! If you have ever wondered how the experts detect aromas of chocolate, nutmeg or even dirt in a wine’s bouquet then this is a must stop on your wine tour. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned connoisseur, the sensory wine tasting is a fun and educational way to fine tune your skills. First you experience a blind tasting where winemakers teach you how to experience wine to the fullest and then they help you train your sense of smell and palate impression using fresh fruit, herbs, and other delectable’s. Jessup Cellars Labeled as “One of the friendliest tasting rooms in all of wine county”, Jessup Cellars specializes in hosting interactive experiences with a focus on the arts. Highlights include its TasteMaker Speaker Series, Release Feasts and Art House Short Film Series. The TasteMaker Speaker Series are interactive thought leadership forums staged in its Tasting Gallery and integrated with month-long art exhibitions and tasting room activities. These events bring together Jessup Cellars wines, food, art and people into fully realized sensory forums. 22

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SHOP

Napa Style

Founded by Napa Valley chef, vintner, TV host and author, Michael Chiarello, NapaStyle showcases an eclectic mix of handcrafted and exclusive home goods and artisanal specialty foods that celebrate all things cooking, entertaining, wine, garden and home. Michael expresses his passion for seasonal and sustainable living through his television shows and cookbooks, and his uniquely designed NapaStyle products, such as his artisan-made salami, salts & spreads, reclaimed barn wood furniture, vintage flatware & antiques, and specialty barware & tabletop.

Getting Around Napa Valley Tours & Transportation

This full service wine country transportation company has been operating for over 17 years and creates a memorable experience you won’t soon forget. Let them be your guide as you tour the beautiful country side sipping wine along the way. From private tastings to wine and food pairings to wine blending seminars and culinary tours NVT has got you covered.


This Season’s

Hottest Hotel

Hotel Bardessono in the Napa Valley bills itself as the “greenest luxury hotel in America”. Established in 2009, its contemporary luxury embodies the simplified elegance of wine country accommodations. The hotel in its entirety simulates hospitality and is modeled after the original Bardessono family farmstead. Bardessono is California’s first and the world’s only luxury LEED Platinum built and certified hotel. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design which means the hotel is equipped with multiple green amenities like carbon fiber bicycles, onsite producing gardens, and a significant national model of green building and operating practices. Located in downtown Yountville, this hotel boasts 62 deluxe guest rooms, each one designed for private inroom spa services. Each guest room is a haven of timeless indulgence. They offer any

personalized treatment to be available in the comfort of your own room. Guests can also receive a variety of treatments including LED skin rejuvenation, hand or foot reflexology, Nuface Uplift, and Wowbrow shape & lift. Bardessono also has its own bar and restaurant named Lucy, and is known for local, fresh farm ingredients. The dining establishment features California cuisine that embodies the modern aesthetic and eco-spirit. Lucy is named after Lucy Bardessono, the matriarch of the Italian family that immigrated to Yountville in 1926. Lucy is a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner for their extensive wine by the bottle and glass list that includes many organic and biodynamic selections. Hotel Bardessono is the perfect child-less getaway to check in, relax and feel free to stay within the property’s boundaries. Their accommodations and amenities provide anything that a guest would need to enjoy a weekend in paradise. 23


Jewel by the Sea SAN DIEGO’S

Wher e to Stay

La Jolla which means “The Jewel” in Spanish is located 15 minutes from downtown San Diego. Home to beautiful beaches, cultural activities and numerous restaurants, La Jolla is known to be one of the most affluent communities in the United States. In addition to top notch dining, stunning beaches, hotels and art galleries, La Jolla is home to renowned institutions, such as the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Stephen Birch Aquarium & Museum.

Insider Tip:

Be sure to ask about the history of the hotel, the staff love to share the story behind the property!

The Lodge at Torr ey Pines

The Lodge at Torrey Pines has everything to offer a traveler, from fine dining, mission style guestrooms, a full service spa and first class service. If you like craftsman architecture and spectacular ocean views - this is the place for you. The lodge is surrounded by a first rate golf course with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Stand on the cliffs of the course and take in the astounding views of paragliders, sailboats and world class sunsets! Make sure to bring your hiking shoes as Torrey Pines is famous for its hikes; literally minutes away from the lodge spiraling down the cliffs towards the Pacific Ocean. The pool and jacuzzi area is beautiful, there is even music playing underwater in the pool. The rooms are tastefully decorated with wooden panels and classic wallpaper in the bathroom. Compliments to the resorts designers because it feels more like home than a hotel room. - The Spa at Torrey Pines lodge was outstanding. There are treatments of all types for pure relaxation. Stop in to use the steam room or grab a cup of tea while you unwind in the relaxation room. If you are looking for a one of kind experience try the “Coastal Sage scrub”. This is 50 minutes of pure indulgence. Sage, known for its purifying and detoxifying properties, is used in The Spa’s signature treatment which is performed in a Vichy shower. 24

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Wher e to D ine The Cottage

Located in the heart of La Jolla, the Cottage provides its customers a relaxing dining experience along with delicious food and great service. Sit outside on a clear sunny day and enjoy a fruit smoothie or coffee cake while waiting to tantalize your taste buds! Their menu features regular breakfast items such as French toast, omelets and eggs benedict yet all with a tasty southern Californian twist! What to try: The stuffed French toast brings people in all the way from Los Angeles; this has to tell you how decadent it is. The lemon ricotta pancakes, carne asada eggs benedict and Tuscan omelet will make you think about this meal for some time to come!

Nine-Ten

La Jolla’s Nine-Ten restaurant and bar is led by chef Jason Knibb and celebrated pastry chef, Rachel King. It opened in 2001 and is located on the former spot of the La Jolla drugstore, which was already a prime location to eat, socialize and people watch. Their menu is described as “evolving California cuisine with an emphasis on produce from local artisan farmers.” They get this produce from all around the area including Crow’s Pass and Chino Farms. They also receive seafood from Hawaii, the North Pacific & Atlantic regions. What to try: The baby beet salad. It features beets, goat cheese pudding, fennel, pistachio & cocoa nib crumble, smoked orange, and beet vinaigrette. Another great local favorite is the wild Mexican white shrimp. It is accompanied by blood orange, jicama, cucumber, serrano chili, and cilantro flowers. A great shared entrée is the red wine braised prime beef short ribs. This succulent dish has baby carrots, turnips, spring onions, daikon, potatoes, gochujang mustard seeds, scallion & radish salad, and beef consommé.

AR Valentien

Nestled in the heart of The Lodge at Torrey Pines lies AR Valentien; one of La Jolla’s best farm-to-table restaurants. Following suit to the lodge-style feel of the hotel and hosting intimate views of the seascape, resort pool and picturesque golf course- this restaurant truly is a triple threat. AR Valentien is known for its continuously changing menu, always representing the freshest ingredients with nearly everything made in-house by Executive Chef, Jeff Jackson at the helm. The wine list is equally extensive, featuring 30 sparkling, white and red wines by the glass, and over 300 bottles of wine ranging in price from $30 to $355. One menu highlight is their four course dinner featuring seasonal appetizers, a main course, artisanal cheeses, dessert, coffee and wine. There are a variety of tasty dishes making it a hard time to choose a favorite. What to order: The roasted asparagus served with a sunny side up egg and shaved parmesan, the combination may seem strange to some, yet they pair together flawlessly. The autumn squash risotto is accompanied with gorgonzola and fried sage. If your eyes are a bit bigger than your stomach then you must try the drugstore burger. This hearty portion menu item was inspired by the burgers Chef Jackson remembers eating at the local lunch counter while growing up as a child in Oklahoma City. For dessert try the Meyer lemon white cake with Meyer lemon sorbet. It is a perfectly refreshing way to end your meal. 25


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The Five Lands of the Italian Riviera

Cinque Terre by

Adriana Gomez

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It’s the

colors that strike you first

.

Candy-colored homes, narrow stone walkways and breathtaking views of the glistening azure and turquoise Ligurian Sea. Few Americans have heard of these tiny villages, set like jewels into the Ligurian Coast and known as the Cinque Terre or “The Five Lands”. The Cinque Terre is made up of 5 villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore perched up in the cliffs overlooking the Ligurian Sea. Whether you are here for a day or several, visiting this enchanting region is a must to tantalize your taste buds with fresh pesto, regional wine, and local seafood. Of the five villages, we suggest staying at Monterosso because it is the largest and less than 2 hours from Genoa airport which makes it easy to reach via private car or train. Monterosso has many accommodation options, wine shops, restaurants and one of the best beaches. In an area like the Cinque Terre you will not find hotels like the Ritz Carlton, but you can make up what you lack in luxury accommodations with the breathtaking views and amazing service provided by the locals. The Hotel Porto Roca is one of the 4 star hotels located here. Perched on a cliff the hotel comes with a 180 degree view of the sea which can be seen from your very own terrace. A great option for those wishing to stay in Manarola, the southern part of town is La Toretta. Here you will find a perfect marriage between modern and old world luxury with beautifully decorated rooms. Each room is also equipped with floor to ceiling marble paired with a jet powered soaking tub. You wouldn’t want to go to Cinque Terre and only visit one of the villages, you must visit all 5! Make sure you bring a pair of comfortable shoes as most of the site seeing is best done on foot.

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Cinque Terre is also known as the Five Lands and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1998 the Italian Government passed legislation to protect the natural environment and to further encourage ecological balance in the water and on the land. Today it is enjoyed by millions of visitors who have come and left with a small piece of enchantment. Hiking trails, in all manner of upkeep, crisscross the land. From paved walkways suspended above the sea to rough steep gravel pathways, there is something for every visitor looking to experience fresh air and views above and along the coast. Starting in the most northern or southern tip is the best way to go; if you choose to start in the most southern point of Riomaggiore it is here that you enter the national park and the start of the hiking trails that connect all the villages. Prepare yourself for a mind blowing experience; the stunning rugged coast of the Italian Riviera has been seen on thousands of postcards and once you visit you will realize why. As you hike through each village you will see that each have their own charm. If you’re not an avid hiker there is also a railroad line that you can use to avoid some of the not so pleasant stretches of the hiking trail. The Cinque Terre is well known for its Sciacchetrà wine which is native to this region. It is made with a mixture of Bosco, Albarola, and Vermintino grapes and has a sweet flavor. A Sciacchetrà Riserva wine is one which has been aged for three full years prior to commercial release. They offer aromas of honey and white blossoms, with hints of citrus perfect for sitting on your balcony taking in the marvelous scenery! Restaurants in the area tend to display the days catch from the Ligurian Sea next to the door menu for tourists to view as they are passing by. Be adventurous and let the chef decide for you! If you have room for dinner try Gambero Rosso. This seafood restaurant is set in the picturesque Piazza Marconi, framed by the bell tower of Santa Margherita and the tall keep of the Doria Castle. Considered by many to be the best restaurant in Vernazza, you will need to book ahead. Be sure to sample the stuffed mussels, fresh pastas and of course the freshly made pesto is a must! Cinque Terre in the Italian Riviera is a five star vacation spot that has to be added to your bucket list hands down.


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Escape to Santa Barbara By Susan Watkins

Oh Santa Barbara!

Affectionately known as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara is the epitome of the perfect romantic getaway. Cradled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, it calls to mind its exotic sister French and Italian Rivieras. Visitors and residents alike are thoroughly charmed by its panoramic mountains, shimmering seas, abundant gardens, Mediterranean white-washed buildings, red tile roofs and bountiful sunshine. The charisma of Santa Barbara lies in its ability to preserve its rich history, tradition and culture while at the same time welcoming that which is new and emerging. Our time here was filled with the best of classic and contemporary Santa Barbara – let us introduce you to the standouts!

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Indulge

A Classic: Four Seasons Resort, The Biltmore Santa Barbara Our luxury weekend getaway begins at the glamorous Four Seasons Resort, The Biltmore. Located directly on breathtaking Butterfly Beach, this magnificently restored 1927 Spanish colonial style jewel is a famous landmark in Santa Barbara. I call her the Queen of Santa Barbara because she represents everything that has made this destination so popular along the California coast. Frequented past and present by the rich and famous as well as discerning travelers near and far, the Four Seasons Biltmore is known for its luxurious accommodations, gracious hospitality, beautiful grounds and five star service. As we turned into the sweeping brick entrance of the hotel, its appeal beckoned us further in – classic white adobe, red tiled roof, rose gardens, graceful archways, bubbling fountains. The interiors of the lobby and public rooms are richly furnished in warm tones of burnished gold, ivory, sienna and russet – all reminiscent of an elegant Spanish hacienda. Bella Vista, the hotel’s restaurant, is open and airy with floor to ceiling windows and a pretty terrace for spectacular ocean views with al fresco dining. While not a small hotel, the ambiance here is intimate, warm and personal. We felt like we had just been given the keys to our own private villa! Our deluxe guest room was located in one of the hotel’s 12 cottages. Noted for their privacy and intimacy, the cottages are dotted along secluded camellia-laden pathways and beautiful gardens near a lush lawn with putting green and croquet court. Our cottage is classy and impeccable, featuring hard wood floors with oriental carpets, a plush king size bed with crisp white linens, a comfortable sitting area, an antique armoire containing a minibar and refrigerator, heavy walnut Mission style desk and night tables, large flat screen television and patio. The separate dressing area and bath are spacious and designed with blue and white Spanish tile, double vanities, fragrant L’Occitane amenities, a shower with rain faucet, and bathtub. Ahhh…one minute inside this quiet retreat and I am already relaxed.

Santa Barbara is a popular destination for those who love to wine and dine, and we are no exception! Here are three places that we found to really indulge:

Dream

Classic: The Spa at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore To really unwind in the lap of luxury, be sure to include a visit to The Spa at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara. After checking in to the spa, we arrive at a handsome living room to await our couples massage. A toasty fire crackles in the fireplace, and we sink into big easy chairs in front of picture windows which display the rose gardens and Pacific Ocean beyond. Dried fruit, nuts, a selection of gourmet teas and cranberry infused water are offered as we relax in anticipation of our massage. When the masseuses arrive, we’re led to the most gorgeous ocean view spa suite, which features a fireplace, a claw footed bathtub and a view of majestic palm trees silhouetting the peaceful ocean. The spa menu features a variety of restorative beauty treatments which incorporate the bounty of the sea or botanicals from the gardens of Santa Barbara. My Hope Gillerman Organics massage was honestly one of the best I’ve ever had, and all of my cares literally melted away right there in that ocean front spa suite! Afterward, I lingered in the spa’s sauna and steam room complimented by iced washcloths scented with lemongrass. Next to the Spa is another robust fitness center – the two facilities combine to offer the ultimate in The Four Seasons’ tribute to wholeness and body well being.

Unwind

Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club Pool The grounds and surrounding area of the hotel feature scenic walking and jogging paths along the ocean. A two minute stroll from our cottage and situated directly on Butterfly Beach is the hotel’s exclusive Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club Pool. Built in 1937, this historic landmark has been meticulously restored, but the 1930s’ art deco motif of this legendary establishment still calls to mind the splendor of a by-gone era. The walls of this place actually talk – throughout the club, vintage photographs are displayed telling the story of debutantes, Hollywood stars and politicians who have made this place their private playground. Today, the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club still boasts many of its original features, including the star of the show, an Olympic-size swimming pool with lap lanes and diving board – now that’s something you rarely see at a hotel these days! In addition, a children’s wading pool, an oversized beachfront whirlpool jacuzzi, 31 private cabanas and 200 guest lounges are perched over the blue Pacific. While not lounging and enjoying attentive Four Seasons’ service and amenities such as chilled towels, spritzers, fresh fruit skewers or cocktails, guests can ‘work it all off ’ with a visit to the state of the art fitness center here. The Club is also home to the Four Seasons Biltmore’s signature restaurant, Tydes, which features California coastal cuisine and stunning ocean views.

The Contemporary: Toma Restaurant and Bar - A “Must “Dine” It’s our first night in Santa Barbara, and for dinner we head to the hottest place in town – Toma Restaurant and Bar. Recently opened in April of 2013, this restaurant is a “must dine”! With soft lights and the hum of happy diners, a charming ambiance is created at the trendy waterfront bistro with views of the famous Santa Barbara harbor. The restaurant has a stylish Tuscan feel, with modern art on the walls and smooth jazz playing softly in the background. The pride of owners Tom and Vicki Dolan is evident and well founded in all aspects of Toma. To dine here is to feel like you are part of something special. We start off with a couple of Toma’s many hand-crafted cocktails -the Tuscan Pear (Grey Goose La Poire, Ventura Limoncello, King’s ginger liqueur, orange juice and mint) and The Local (Square One Cucumber Vodka, strawberries, basil leaves, agave nectar, drizzle balsamic reduction). These innovative cocktails are the perfect blend of tart and sweet, and are accompanied by Toma’s signature flash fried green olives stuffed with blue cheese. As we peruse the menu which is is a combination of Mediterranean and Italian dishes, my dining partner keeps pointing out the fabulous looking plates of food emerging from the kitchen. It’s clear that we are in for an extraordinary dining experience. Our server is attentive, knowledgeable and spot-on in his recommendations. With his help, we choose from a tempting array of dishes. When our appetizers arrive, we see from the generous servings that they are practically meals in themselves! Each one is uniquely delectable, and we enjoy shamelessly: Tuna Cones Ahi Sashimi, Ginger, Sesame, Soy, Chile and Chive in Crisp Sesame Cone Crostada Baked Goat Chevre, Caramelized Pear, Walnut, Organic Greens, Shallot Dressing Grilled Romaine Warm Lemon Parsley White Beans, Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette, Shaved Parmesan 31


Whew! We need to rest between courses, and our server offers a smooth Napa Valley Cabernet to accompany our entrees – Heaven in a glass! We sip and savor the ambiance of this little restaurant – looking around, our fellow diners appear to be having as much fun as we are! Before too long, here come our entrees, and they are absolutely mouth-watering: Lasagna Braised Beef and Pork Ragu, Spinach, Fresh Ricotta, Mozzarella and Parmesan. I ordered this because Toma is famous for their home made pastas – this lasagna is off-the- chart delicious (and that says something coming from someone who is married to an Italian.) I’m not sharing! Braised Short Rib White Polenta, Red Onion Confit, Natural Jus, Arugula, Lemon Oil. My husband’s choice – the look on his face as he tastes this savory dish tells me that he isn’t sharing either! Breast of Duck and Duck Confit with Cranberry Reduction. One of the evening’s specials which our server brought us “just to taste” – I’m not sure that I’ve ever had duck prepared quite this beautifully – it’s lean, tender enough to cut with a fork, and the sauce is a perfect compliment We’re not done yet – there’s a seductive dessert menu, and we succumb to sharing a Phyllo Crisp,filled with local strawberries, strawberry mousse, pistachio pastry, and vanilla bean cream served with fresh berry sauce. Divine and decadent! Only a romantic walk by the beach after dinner would make this evening more spectacular. Cheers to Toma – it’s not to be missed. Be sure to book a reservation as this place is an attraction for locals and tourists alike! The Contemporary: Finch & Fork – Comfort Food with a Twist Who doesn’t love to go to brunch? It’s practically an American institution on a Saturday or Sunday morning, so we sought out a special place to start our day, deciding on Finch & Fork, located in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. It has a modern ele-

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gance, and its intimate feel makes you think you are in someone’s Santa Barbara ranch style home. Brown leather studded booths, plank tabletops and little touches like pillows for your back all contribute to a very comfortable place to kick back and enjoy some great food. Long farm tables down the center of the restaurant make for a friendly atmosphere to gather for small plates and cocktails with friends, while intimate booths just for two are perfect for couples. Arriving in Santa Barbara just nine months ago, Finch & Fork is a welcomed addition to the beach town. The service is warm and friendly making you feel right at home. Chef James Siao has created a menu filled with modern American comfort food favorites, with a twist. Our brunch started with never ending tangerine or fresh squeezed orange mimosas – always a wonderful addition to any brunch. Everything we ordered was tasteful and distinctive – the Cream of Mushroom Soup was possibly the best we’ve ever tasted – anywhere. We decided to sample both a breakfast item and a lunch item from the menu. I ordered Crab Cake Benedict, a traditional dish with a new angle – featuring crispy crab cakes under soft poached eggs in place of the traditional Canadian bacon. A light but creamy hollandaise sauce over it all and roasted potatoes and vegetables made me a very happy camper. On the “lunch” side of the menu, my better half, who is somewhat of a lamb connoisseur, ordered the Lamb Burger with date chutney, onion relish and cilantro yoghurt. Served with a green salad with champagne vinaigrette dressing, the lamb burger was pronounced a winner! Once you’ve had your meal, do not – I repeat, Do Not leave this place without ordering Finch & Fork’s famous Caramelized Banana Milkshake. How on earth anyone ever came up with this sublime concoction, I do not know, but it is fabulous – rich, creamy, caramely, cookie laden and topped with fresh toasted meringue. This should be shared, unless you don’t care a thing about calories! Our time at Finch & Fork ended on a humorous note – the bill came in a folder labeled “Fork it Over!” Good times abound here – it’s a trendy restaurant that is fast becoming a Santa Barbara favorite. Classic: The Stonehouse – Truly Exceptional It is not an overstatement to say that The Stonehouse is absolutely exquisite. Located in historic San Ysidro Ranch, The Stonehouse is widely acclaimed as the ultimate in fine dining experiences. The ranch is a part of the rich history of Old California, and nostalgia permeates the place. We arrive on a starry Sunday evening and right away are seemingly transported into another time and place. The grounds of this spacious ranch are hushed tonight, and we follow the softly lit paths as they wind their way toward The Stonehouse. As we arrive, we are met with the sight of majestic olive trees filled with thousands of twinkly lights creating a canopy over the patios of this gracious restaurant. Located in a 19th-century citrus packing house, the warm interior of The Stonehouse features the original stone walls, open-beamed ceilings, overstuffed mahogany leather furniture and pieces from California history. The dining room is impressive, complete with fireplace and creek-side views. Tonight, however, we are seated on the terrace under the generous glittering branches of the trees, next to a big stone fireplace. The ambiance is absolutely enchanting, and undeniably romantic. Our server is friendly in his welcome and a complete professional. We chat about the extensive appetizer menu which includes Pan Seared Diver Scallops with Sweet Corn Puree, a Smoked Muscovy Duck and Avocado Spring Roll, and Hamachi Sashimi. Unfortunately, we can’t try everything on the menu, and we vacillate before deciding on a pairing of soups, The Stonehouse’s famous Chilled Yellow Heirloom Tomato Consommé, served over jumbo lump crab, Maine lobster, avocado and lemon verbena oil; and Leek Soup, which is a special tonight, prepared with leeks from the garden and blended with cream. The tomato consommé is light and refreshing, the leek soup rich and satisfying. Both whet our appetites for our next courses, first Pan Seared Santa Barbara Abalone with house-made capellini, chanterelle mushrooms, Arbequina olives and drizzled with Ranch Meyer Lemon Nage. This was a unique and utterly flavorful dish. Next came Grilled California Quail, accompanied by black eyed peas, grapes, cranberries, Nueske’s bacon, Vidalia onion and thyme jus. Again, inventive and unusual in preparation, an absolute delight to the palate. The Stonehouse has one of the most extensive wine lists we have seen


anywhere and guests can select wines from around the world as well as local vineyards. Our server brings us three different tastings of reds he thinks we might like – a Syrah, a Cabernet and the wine we eventually select, aSTORM Pinot Noir 2011 from John Sebastian’s Vineyard. Our entrees are sublime – Oven Roasted Colorado Rack of Lamb, served with Creamy Polenta, Sugar Snap Peas, Heirloom Cauliflower with House-Made Lamb Bacon and Garden Mint Jus and Snake River Farms Pork Chop served with Apple Butter and Brioche Crusted with Wild Rocket Arugula and Calvados Demi-Glace. Unsolicited, our waiter brings a side of San Ysidro Ranch Signature Mashed Potatoes for us to taste, playfully warning us that they contain “an undisclosed amount of cream and butter.” Of course, they are wonderful. In an effort to prolong our time here, we go ahead and indulge in dessert – an artfully prepared Grand Marnier Souffle and a tantalizing Meyer Lemon Tart made from the lemons here on the ranch. When we have relished the final morsels, we sit back and contemplate the beauty of the food, the service, and the night around us. The Stonehouse is truly exceptional. As we drove away, we felt a bit like we were leaving another world behind – one of beauty, intuitive service, grace and good taste. The Stonehouse is a special place, and those of us who shared that stellar evening there won’t soon forget its magic. DISCOVER Santa Barbara offers a cavalcade of interesting things to see and do. Art lovers, sports enthusiasts, food and wine lovers, history buffs, shoppers and theater goers will all find something here to enjoy. Popular pastimes include shopping and taking in the sophisticated downtown vibe of State Street, wine tasting along the trendy Urban Wine Trail, bike riding, playing beach volleyball, golfing, walking on Stearns Wharf, boating, visiting the many art museums, the zoo, or historic landmarks such as the Mission Santa Barbara and the County Courthouse. There is always something new happening in Santa Barbara, and on this trip we found something really great: The Contemporary: Savor Santa Barbara Food Tours Attention foodies…fun lovers…walkers! One of the best things to do in Santa Barbara is to take a walking food tour with Savor Santa Barbara Food and Walking Tours. This new venture and the only guided culinary walking tour in Santa Barbara is the inspiration of Santa Barbara cousins Erin O’Rourke and Sara Dill. “This is what you do on one of our tours,” they say, “Eat. Drink. Walk. Repeat!” That says it all! The easy walk is just under a couple of miles and is made over a period of about 3.5 hours. It’s packed with fun and showcases the food, drink, architecture and natural beauty of Santa Barbara. The goal of the walk is to take visitors off-the-beaten path to places they might not otherwise find. Mission Accomplished! We loved every stop along the way of this walk, and it turned out to be our favorite activity, giving us a unique perspective on this enchanting city. Over the course of our culinary adventure, we covered a lot of ground and participated in seven eclectic tastings. Our small group started on “the other side of the tracks” where we tasted a Crispy Shredded Beef Taco with five types of fresh salsa made daily on the premises and three varieties of handcrafted beer within sight of the room where it was brewed. At our third tasting site, we were served a wonderful Lobster Bisque laced with butter, sherry and topped with golden puffed pastry. By now, I was getting full, and wondered how I would survive four more tastings! “I think we need to incorporate a nap stop!” joked someone in our group. After a lot of playful banter, it was decided – no naps! We had places to go, lots to see and things to taste! Erin paced us well, and we enjoyed getting to know our new-found walking friends as we strolled in the sunshine. With feet on the ground and the breeze blowing on our faces, we realized that we were appreciating so much more about this fair city than if we had just been whizzing along in a car. Next we came to Santa Barbara’s vogue and ever-changing neighborhood, the Funk Zone, named for its unique mix of artists, surfboard shapers, craft workers, locally owned shops, galleries, eateries and wine tasting rooms. Here we tasted a flight of lovely red wines at one of Santa Barbara’s oldest wineries. Then, we were headed to the historic Old Town District of Santa Barbara. Our promenade took us along

beautiful hidden paseos to our next tasting, a healthy bowl of cool ambrosial fruits stuffed with acaí, bananas and strawberries, goji berry and granola. Erin shared some great stories about Santa Barbara’s unique red tiled roofs as we were arriving at our next stop, where we tasted a tempting Cedar Plank Salmon with balsamic mustard glaze and fresh local greens. Then, it was on to bustling State Street for our final tasting – ice cream! Topping off the tour, we sampled not one, but two flavors (Salted Caramel Chip and Winter Cranberry Chip) of fabulous artisanal ice cream. We were sorry to see the merriment end, but the time did come when our tour was over and we had to say good-bye to our bon vivant friends. Kudos to Erin for a super fun, high energy, interesting, informative and absolutely scrumptious tour. Now we can say we have walked and tasted Santa Barbara, and we pronounce it very, very good! NEXT TIME . . . Santa Barbara is deserving of much more time than we were able to give it on this weekend getaway. Its allure ensures that we will return again and again, like a moth to the flame. One thing is certain – we will go back to the classic spots we cherish, and we will always explore new things to see and do, adding to the long list of things that we love about Santa Barbara.

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TOP TEN

Beyond the traditional paths travelers explore are the routes scarcely visited but through extensive adventure, LA Travel Magazine has compiled the 10 Best North American Hotels & Resorts of 2014. From Sin City to the Great White North and south of the U.S. border this list is filled with off the beaten Unexpected luxury can be path lodging surrounded experienced at the all-suite by diverse beauty and Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, culture.

The 10 Best North American Hotels & Resorts of 2014: •Jade Mountain, St. Lucia •Grand Del Mar, Del Mar •Broadmoor, Colorado Springs •Santa Barbara Beach Resort, Curaçao •Rimrock Resort, Banff •Wedgewood Hotel and Spa, Vancouver •Venetian, Las Vegas •Hotel Valencia Santana Row, San Jose •The Breakers, Palm Beach •Sandy Lane, Barbados 34

the world’s largest fivediamond resort. Themed after the famous Italian city, the resort provides an authentic Venetian atmosphere for Combining romance with a thousands of visitors daily. peaceful setting is simple when staying at the Experience the culture of Wedgewood Hotel and Spa in Curacao while staying in The Vancouver. A boutique hotel Santa Barbara Beach & Golf with top of the line luxury Resort situated between the amenities, this family-run property provides top rated Caribbean Sea and Spanish restaurants, a full-service Bay. As one of the best-kept award winning spa and an secrets in the Caribbean ideal downtown location. the island of Curacao is the perfect setting for a resort Discover your inner child during any number of known for private beaches activities at The Grand Del and relaxation. The hacienda- Mar in San Diego. Play a style compound offers a round of golf at The Grand tropical setting with an Golf Course, a challenging abundance of modern luxury. Tom Fazio-designed 18-hole

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par- 72 course fit for all levels of play. Or head to the Equestrian Center for lessons and trail rides at the 20,000-square-foot facility. While some destinations may be considered common, rest assured, the experience with these properties are anything but ordinary.


Jade Mountain

Located at the highest point of the island, Jade Mountain is built into the hillside looking down over its sister property Anse Chastanet Resort—a longtime St. Lucian fixture on practically every Best of the Caribbean list. Jade is comprised of 24 hillside sanctuaries with a lot more than just a killer view. Inside, each one of the sanctuaries are unique, but they all share impressive features such as an infinity pool or Jacuzzi, 15-foot ceilings and a raised open air bathroom. Walk into your living room and you will see the most dramatic jaw-dropping views of the Pitons. The sanctuaries whole outward-facing wall has been removed leaving it completely open air. The open air continues throughout the resort with an open air restaurant and bar. Even the walkway to your sanctuary is a 100-foot-long sky bridge. Each sanctuary has one of their own. The sanctuaries are deliberately technology free; there are no telephones, radio or television. Internet access is available for those who simply cannot let go of the outside world, yet the resort encourages you to. One of our favorite things about staying at Jade Mountain is that each sanctuary is assigned a major-domo to take care of your every need. They made reservations for all of our meals, brought us lunch when we just wanted to stay in and enjoy our infinity pool, set us up with transportation when we wanted to venture out to the volcano and even booked us a couple’s massage. Kai en Ciel, the resorts spa is heavenly and offers a wide range of services which can also be enjoyed in the privacy of your sanctuary. Dining at Jade Mountain is a fresh and organic experience. Your choices are based on ingredients locally farmed, harvested and fished. Taking all the best the island has to offer and presenting it on a plate. Besides room service, which is available 24 hours a day you can request to have the Executive Chef drop in to whip up a six-course gourmet dinner. “Jade Cuisine” created by James Beard award winner, Chef Allen Susser, is a brave new world of tropical flavors. 35


TOP TEN

Grand Del Mar

Experience a true sense of luxury and impeccable service at this five-star San Diego hotel. A mandatory first start after checking in, is to head straight to the spa. With an array of services, 11 treatment rooms and 21,000 square feet it is a must. The resorts onsite Equestrian Center is a 20,000-square-foot facility that offers kids’ programs, lessons and trail rides for all ages. The Grand Golf Course is a challenging Tom Fazio-designed 18-hole par-72 course fit for all levels of play. Opened in 1999, the Grand Golf Club also provides avid golfers with a 2,000-sq.-ft. putting green and a 5,000-sq.-ft. practice tee. The Addison Restaurant is where old money mixes with new money and the Old World gives way, albeit reluctantly, to a bit of modernity. It is the only 5 Star 5 Diamond Restaurant in Southern California. Prepare yourself mentally for an extreme dining experience, this restaurant is no joke with multiple courses and white glove service. Wine aficionados will face a challenge here with 3800 wines to choose from, selecting a wine can take a while so you may need to ask your server for help.

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The Broadmoor

Situated between picturesque mountains, streams and canyons, The Broadmoor dates back to 1918 and still offers guests a way to experience the beauty of the American West in Colorado Springs. The hotel features 754 guest rooms, suites, cottages and ranch accommodations providing modern amenities in a rustic and charming setting. Views of Cheyenne Mountain and Cheyenne Lake can be seen from some of the spacious rooms while plush furnishings inside make for a relaxing stay. Nine dining experiences can be found on the property offering classic pub fare to steakhouse favorites and an extensive Sunday Brunch. The formal Penrose Room has been serving classic fine dining since 1961 and is the only Five-Star and Five-Diamond restaurant in Colorado. An extensive European wine list can be enjoyed with high-end dishes, live entertainment and dancing. If activity sounds better than restaurant hopping avid golfers will be delighted with the legendary golf courses available. The original Broadmoor Golf Club’s 18-hole course was designed in 1916 and was followed by the 1918 opening of Broadmoor East, the highest golf course in the United States at 6,400 feet in elevation. In 1948 a third golf course was designed with nine holes but was later joined with the original holes and opened in 1952 as the new East Course. With an incredible surrounding of natural elements, The Broadmoor is the perfect place to explore. Nestled on 3,000 acres under the Cheyenne Mountains, The Broadmoor is the premier lodging choice for anyone who enjoys a scenic vacation full of adventure and beauty.

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TOP TEN

The Santa Barbara Beach Resort

Located between the Caribbean Sea and Spanish Bay, The Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort has a highly sought after location with picturesque views at every turn. Positioned roughly 25 minutes away from Curacao’s colorful capital, Willemstad the resort is the ideal setting. All 350 guestrooms come with balconies, flat-screen TVs, and most with ocean views. Natural earth tones fill the interior along with bursts of bright colors to accent. The tranquil open air lobby is a great first impression, the check-in process is effortless and guests are inside their room within minutes. The hacienda-style compound is set along an alluring stretch of ocean in the enormous Santa Barbara Plantation. The Santa Barbara Plantation is a 1500-acre master planned development that includes a 120 slip marina, 18 hole Old Quarry Golf Course, the Atabei Spa and fitness center, three swimming pools, a water sports center, Tafelberg Tennis Oasis with hydro-grid clay courts and three restaurants. The dining options at the resort are top notch and it can be tough to decide where to go for dinner. The resorts signature restaurant Shore delivers fine dining at its best. Chefs use local ingredients where possible, and menus change seasonally. Golf lovers flock to this challenging 18-hole championship golf course situated throughout the Santa Barbara Plantation. A challenge to every player no matter their level of skill, the course twists between the slopes and hills of Tafelberg Mountain. The combination of the rocky terrain, the dry desert, the Caribbean Sea and Spanish Bay generates a setting impossible to forget.

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Rimrock Resort

This AAA/CAA Four Diamond Hotel is among Canada’s premier resorts and for good reason. The moment you enter the Rimrock Resort you feel all the unwanted stress in your body disappear. The view from the lobby overlooking the Canadian Rockies is truly an amazing sight. The sheer rock faces, the white capped mountains, the beautiful green trees against an ocean blue sky, are you kidding? The gracious hotel staff members go above and beyond at all turns. The guest rooms offer the same breathtaking views and showcase soft decor with combinations of warm contrasting earth tones and dark wood accents. Eden restaurant located inside the resort is the perfect way to take in all Canada has to offer in one meal. Being one of only five 5-Diamond Restaurants in Canada dining here is a real treat. It may be hard to focus on your meal as you are surrounded by the stunning backdrops of the Canadian Rockies which almost seem like you can reach out and touch them. Once you have taken your pictures of the amazing views it is time to focus on the mouth watering selections. The diverse menu items are playful and imaginative and are sure to please any palate. The team of Certified Sommeliers have choreographed a specific wine pairing for each menu item that compliments and enhances the flavors of each course. With over 17,000 bottles of wine in inventory, they can accommodate each guest’s personal preferences with wines from all over the world.

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TOP TEN

The Wedgewood Hotel and Spa

If you’re searching for a romantic, sophisticated hotel with over the top service, immaculate rooms, a top rated restaurant, a full-service award winning spa, and a central downtown Vancouver location, the Wedgewood is the only choice. The hotel is individually owned and not a product of a major hotel chain which is clear the second you walk through the main entrance. The overall vibe has everything to do with the personal interior decorating skills of Greek born owner and founder, Eleni Skalbania. With only eighty-three rooms and suites the family-run boutique hotel has been a top notch Vancouver destination in and of itself. This 83-room boutique hotel is dedicated to quiet, constant upkeep which is noticeable upon arrival. The hotel’s signature fine dining establishment Bacchus truly is an award winning restaurant. The food is outstanding and the ambiance, just as good. The restaurant also boasts an extensive international wine menu. Upon entering dining patrons are surrounded by luxury, with richly upholstered furniture, dark wood and light fixtures imported from Venice by Skalbania herself. The Spa at the Wedgewood Hotel offers a soothing retreat for rejuvenation & healing, with a Roman marble Eucalyptus Steam Room, fully equipped Fitness Center, and outdoor Garden Terrace. Candlelight, unique treatments, and highly experienced therapists are all features of this intimate Spa. Recommended treatments include the Lavender Body Bliss, the Ultimate Cinnamon Enzyme Facial, and the Chai Soy Anti-Stress Back Treatment. The spa also offers all treatments expected of an award-winning day spa, using the renowned Epicuren Skin-care line, found only in exclusive retreats around the world. 40

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Venetian, Las Vegas

For a city constantly changing it is rare to find establishments that become a part of the communities fabric and continue to stay relevant. The Venetian is part of this fabric and combines Las Vegas culture with plush amenities. The all-suite Venetian resort offers rooms with up to 1500 square feet of living space, marble bathrooms and flat screen TVs. The 36-story Venetian Las Vegas, along with its sister hotel, The Palazzo, make up the world’s largest five-diamond resort, setting the bar for Vegas hotels. Themed after the famous city in Italy, The Venetian provides a replicated yet authentic atmosphere filled with grandeur and opulence. Incorporated into the design are well-known Venetian icons including The Doge’s Palace, Campanile, Bridge of Sighs, and the Rialto Bridge set within a narrow lagoon. Guests are able to drift down the Grand Canal in a genuine gondola passing cafes, restaurants and bridges. Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian and The Palazzo host retail and entertainment in a space of more than 500,000 square feet. The Venetian Las Vegas offers guests 15 fine dining restaurants from Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio to Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico Steakhouse. Famous chef Mario Batali owns two of the top restaurants including B&B Ristorante and B&B Burger & Beer at the Venetian. Batali also graces The Palazzo with his acclaimed steakhouse, Carnevino. Casual dining options are also available with more than 20 culinary options from a street side café to a slice of pizza at Grimaldi’s. Although the glamorous resort is pristine with gold accents and refined artwork, it is still Las Vegas. Some of the city’s most popular clubs can be found inside The Venetian resort. TAO Beach is the hottest experience during the day with an exotic Balinese theme. Many celebrities and acclaimed DJs have appeared at the outdoor oasis with 12 luxury cabanas and a 30-foot bar. When night falls the pool party turns into a full club with go-go dancers, high-energy music and private skyboxes with mini-bars. TAO Lounge offers a more intimate nightlife experience with craft cocktails and Pacific Rim décor.

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TOP TEN

Hotel Valencia Santana Row

Located in the shopping Mecca that is Santana Row, Hotel Valencia Santana Row blends European style with contemporary luxury. With a multitude of shops including Gucci, Escada and a fabulous array of dining options just outside the lobby doors, it’s no wonder the hotel is such a hot spot. The sleek and sophisticated guest rooms offer a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle lurking just outside. Custom made Hotel Valencia beds are swaddled in luxurious Egyptian cotton bed linens. The hotel’s restaurant Citrus is the perfect choice for a romantic evening with sheer curtains, Venetian plants, warm walls and terracotta ceilings. The menu offers an assortment of steaks, seafood, and vegetarian plates in an open-air setting and don’t forget a stop in to Vbar to enjoy a classic martini while watching the scene from the bars balcony overlooking Santana Row. Stunning views of the Santa Cruz Mountains provide the backdrop for Cielo, the properties relaxed rooftop wine terrace and bar which is open seasonally. Enjoy the sunset view, unparalleled in Silicon Valley. With all the cozy and comfortable seating available, you can easily make an evening of it here. After sunset, gather around the glowing fireplace or under one of our many patio heaters for extra warmth. Maybe we are a little biased since the owners of LA Travel got engaged here but after visiting we know you’ll see for yourself just how truly special this hotel is.

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The Breakers

On the island of Palm Beach, Florida sits a five-acre oceanfront paradise known as The Breakers. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean this resort is an ideal tropical vacation without leaving the country. With modern amenities this Italian-Renaissance style property yields an incomparable atmosphere with activities for any traveler. This Florida resort now features new dĂŠcor with classic and nautical chic guest rooms and suites. Ocean view rooms full of luxury amenities with balconies provide a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean. Guests can enjoy themselves by relaxing on a half-mile stretch of the resorts private beach or by taking a dip in one of the five relaxing whirlpool spas and four oceanfront pools. Premium beach bungalows are available for daytime rental while staff members serve a variety of themed cocktails and poolside food at your request. With three dining experiences to choose from with oceanfront views The Breakers offers all exclusive dining to hotel guests. For Mediterranean faire head to The Beach Club Restaurant serving both a la carte and buffet breakfast, and a lunch menu featuring tapas, sandwiches and flatbreads inspired by the local seasonal ingredients and casual Atlantic setting. This indoor/outdoor restaurant provides guests with a laid back dining experience with a sophisticated meal. Those looking to relax in luxury can visit The Spa for signature spa treatments including manicures and facials. Children ages 6-12 can visit The Spa Petite for a selection of spa experiences as well as Mommy & Me services. Wellness coaching and personal training are available for active guests while two championship courses for avid golfers are on the property as well.

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TOP TEN

Sandy LanE

When visiting the island of Barbados there is only one place to stay if you are looking to be pampered and enjoy the best of the best and that is Sandy Lane. There are a few places in the world, where the word luxurious is the most appropriate adjective for every single thing you experience here. Located on the western coast of the island, known as the Platinum Coast, Sandy Lane sits on 1,000 feet of white sand. The resort boasts 112 opulent rooms and suites with hi-tech amenities, decadent interior designs, marble floors and a private veranda to enjoy the ocean views. Each room offers touch screen controls at your bedside to adjust the air conditioning, change the TV channel, open the curtains and adjusts the lighting to set the mood. The visitor experience is over the top perfection, with superb customer service. The warm, friendly and helpful staff ensures that your stay will be an absolute pleasure from start to finish. Even the kids at Sandy Lane are catered to and kept entertained while parents sit back and relax. The resort boasts four restaurants, seven bars, nine floodlit tennis courts, dedicated clubs for both kids and teens and three world championship golf courses; even better all courses have been approved by Tiger Woods himself. The magnificent 47,000 square foot spa on property provides a range of treatments and is second to none. The treatment list is pretty extensive and highlights traditional cultural therapies from around the world. There are 14 personalized VIP suites, relaxation and meditation rooms, a panoramic sauna, a 2,500-square-foot gym and a 7,500-square-foot free-form swimming pool. There is also a Chakra therapy room, a Hydrotherapy room and Jet Blitz room. The spa recently introduced a teen spa menu for guests from 9 to 16 years old that offers manicures, pedicures, facials and massages.

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Cocktail

Craftsmen

Written and photgraphy by Hannah Skye


Riva Bella, Los Angeles

Craft Cocktail Bartender: Aaron Alvarez A gorgeous venue tucked away on the Sunset Strip, Riva Bella is definitely a place you will want to spend time in to sit and sip. Extremely hard working and dedicated to his craft, head bartender Aaron Alvarez wanted to create a drink menu full of delicious, approachable and memorable cocktails. Having studied with true drink-mixing masters, this punker turned wine lover turned Level 2 Certified Sommelier shared with us what made him stay the course and study hard: “There are so many reasons why I love what I do, but the main reason is hospitality. Every time I send someone away and I know that I have brightened their day a little, I am fulfilled. Hospitality is something that becomes a part of you, and when you find it you realize what the true craft is all about. I feel very lucky to have learned from so many talented people, and I love what I do today.” LATM Favorites:

Vista Mar

East by Southeast

“Vista Mar” - Pretty, pink, and refreshing with citrus and hibiscus notes enhanced with basil. The Vista Mar (a play on the community named Mar Vista, a place where Aaron holds fond memories) was Aaron’s first drink he created for the drink menu at Riva Bella. “East by Southwest” – A variation on the Singapore Sling, this cocktail can be ordered at Riva Bella’s neighboring sister restaurant, Chi Lin. Tequila is used in place of gin and is lightly sweetened with tamarind and decorated with a monkey holding a cherry…the signature decoration of Hamburger Hamlet, the previous inhabitant of the space in which Chi Lin and Riva Bella currently reside.

Crossroads, Los Angeles

Craft Cocktail Bartender: Jeremy Lake Vegan egg whites never tasted so good…and Craft Cocktail Bartender Jeremy Lake has the perfect recipe for them down pat! A student of renowned barman, Julian Cox; Jeremy’s cocktails are the perfect blend of refreshing, balanced, and innovative. His bar menu is divided into sections that describe the sensation patrons will experience with each drink, like Refreshing, Aromatic, Citrusy and Sweet. Jeremy’s passion and dedication for his craft shines through in his cocktails, but also in the way he talks about his chosen profession:

Cause for Alarm

“I strive to create edible art - visually stimulating and balanced cocktail recipes with nuanced flavors that complement the cuisine and atmosphere of our restaurant. If a guest physically reacts positively to the drink or dish I place in front of them, then I’ve succeeded at my job and can count on seeing that guest again in the future. That’s what I want them thinking after they leave – “I want to experience this again.” LATM Favorites: Cause for Alarm: Made with Chinaco Reposado Tequila , dry curacao, lime, agave, grenadine and pomegranate seeds. This cocktail won Jeremy 1st place in his very 1st craft cocktail competition.

Parisian Standard

Parisian Standard – Nicknamed, “The Diva,” Jeremy combines gin (or vodka), sparkling rosé, elderflower, pear, lemon, agave, and a twist of grapefruit to create a refreshingly flavorful cocktail. Morning Glory Fizz – Devilishly smoky and rich, this cocktail is made from Famous Grouse scotch, Laphroaig 10yr, pastis, lemon, lime, & vegan “egg whites”.

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Morning Glory Fizz


The Corner, Huntington Beach

Craft Cocktail Bartender: Chris Grodach Tangerine Gimlet

Owner and chef, Chris Grodach, has transformed the Huntington Beach landmark building that was once Li’s Chinese into one of the city’s drinking and dining staples. Huntington Beach is inundated with chain restaurants and retail stores, so this privately owned, accessibly-modern establishment is exactly what the locals (who have been looking to break out of the chain-store box) have been craving. Their seasonal menu of delicious small bites and innovative cocktails that entice all senses have kept me coming back for more (…and more…and more) since they opened their Meyer lemon yellow framed doors almost three years ago. LATM Favorites:

Bitter End

“Tangerine Gimlet” – The Tangerine Gimlet introduces itself with its beautiful citrus aroma and inviting color. The fragrance of tangerine and sweet tangy limes make this clean, crisp, refreshing Vodka drink my favorite on the menu. “Clockwork Orange Fashioned” – Chris’s spin on the classic Old Fashioned boasts bright, rich, bold flavors combining Templeton rye, China China, and bitters, with a ginger twist. “Bitter End” – Like all of Chris’s drinks, the bright aroma of the Bitter End delights the senses and draws you in. The beautiful orange color from the Aperol combined with St. George gin and apricot liquor makes this cocktail a must to sip while you snack on one (or two) of the Corner’s incredible dishes. “Staycation” – The mix of Zaya 12 year and Cruzan white rum with pineapple & lemongrass syrup and a lime twist is what the Pina Colada so badly wishes it could be. Fresh and incredibly delicious, the Staycation is to Cinderella as that tired, out-dated, overly sweet vending machine slushy garbage is to an evil step-sister.

Coco Laurent, Los Angeles

Craft Cocktail Bartender: Greg Bryson With extensive experience and education in the field of drink mixing, barman Greg Bryson shares his immense passion through his drink menu at the luxurious Coco Laurent in Downtown Los Angeles. Greg immediately swept us off our feet with a custom-made Coco Laurent insignia stencil that he used to embellish the foam atop his variation on the classic Pisco Sour. Incredibly friendly and quite the conversationalist, Greg shared his insight with us:

The “Unofficial” Coco Laurent Pisco Sour

“My driving force comes from my passion for knowledge about everything to do with drink culture. I love recreating old American drinks, discovering new things about the spirits I use, understanding trends, reading up on the history of drinks and finding the ‘right’ drink for each guest that comes in to my bar, be it something new or a classic.” Greg envisions a world where more and more people are familiar with classic drinks and have a greater respect for this great American craft. He joked that he wants to continue to bring classic American drink mixing into the future by embracing both, literally at the same time: “I really hope that I can drink a Negroni while riding a Hoverboard soon!” LATM Favorites: The “Unofficial” Coco Laurent Pisco Sour: Frothy and tart, Greg’s version of the national drink of Peru (which was unnamed as of our review) tantalizes the taste buds and revs up your appetite.

The Barcelonnette

The Barcelonnette: Refreshing, bold and gorgeous to look at, with a rim coated in delicious Hawaiian sea salt from Maui mixed with volcanic ash.

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Luv Surf San Diego Dublin & Miller stamp their paws of approval on these top pet-friendly Southern California beach rentals.

S

an Diego is known for its playful atmosphere and laid back charm so with that attitude in mind we decided to visit Luv Surf San Diego, a full-service, pet-friendly boutique vacation rental company. Each beachside rental home is situated in the heart of Mission Beach surrounded by ocean breezes and beach style neighborhoods. This nearby property made traveling with our boys Miller and Dublin easy and convenient. Whether your family is small and prefers a charming seaside bungalow or you have a large group and would feel more comfortable in a three-story home, Luv Surf has many options to suit your needs. Each home is fully equipped with all the amenities you would find at home in addition to a personalized concierge staff. The team at Luv Surf provides exceptional service for a worry-free vacation from making restaurant reservations to stocking your fridge to recommending local entertainment.

Not only are these properties pet-friendly, they don’t charge a dime for your four legged family member to stay, regardless of size. Included in every vacation rental are pet amenities that make any dog feel at home: pet beds, doggie doors, treats, dog toys, and food bowls.

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The boys favorite properties: Miller and Dublin recommend staying at 816 Island Court, the newest addition to the Luv Surf family. This contemporary 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom home located just 10 homes from the beach and a short stroll to popular area attractions provided them with all the comfort they could need.

This impressive, newly renovated beach home sleeps up to 10 guests. Key amenities included wood floors, a spacious open-concept kitchen, furnished outdoor patio and a BBQ. Plus the home has an outdoor shower which certainly came in handy after Miller & Dublin’s trip to the beach. When Miller & Dublin put their requests in for a more spacious property their beach retreat of choice is 750 Yarmouth Court. With three stories of fully-furnished rooms an attached two-car garage, a third-story upper deck with amazing views of Mission Beach, it’s no wonder the boys feel right at home. Key features include granite countertops, comfortable bedrooms and baths on each floor, a largescreen TV and more. During our stay at Yarmouth we ventured out to nearby restaurants for lunch and dinner and didn’t feel the least bit guilty leaving the boys at the rental home. With its wide interior they didn’t feel cramped and a view of the beach made for some relaxing down time. One of the afternoons we headed to The Swell Café (formerly known as Café Mono) for breakfast where dogs are welcomed to sit on the patio and bask in the San Diego sun.

On the days that we did return to our temporary home sans dogs, we were greeted by two lively pups that were ready to have their own adventure. Based off Luv Surf ’s official Mascot, Gordie the Golden Retriever, we headed to Coronado’s Dog Beach. This dog beach is absolutely pristine and it was obvious locals and tourists respected the location as it was perfectly maintained. Miller and Dublin were free to explore the beach without any restriction, off their leashes. If a short weekend getaway is what you’re looking for and wish to bring your dogs, Luv Surf San Diego is the ideal location to feel right at home with the whole family.

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Candy C oated C onfections By Kathryn Lejeune Sweet on the eyes as well as the taste buds, this little bake shop in West Hollywood takes dessert to the next level. Sweet E’s attention to aesthetic is evident in every carefully crafted detail, from the trendy packaging to the sprinkles on top.

High quality ingredients guarantee it’s more than love at first sight. The bright and welcoming storefront is packed with an almost overwhelming variety of confections. Nostalgic offerings include classic cookies, rice Krispie treats, caramel apples, and even whoopie pies. Cake pops of every color are perfect for a quick indulgent snack or to brighten up a party. The real magic happens, however, when the talented bakers let their imagination go free. Unexpected flavors, such as Mexican Chocolate Churro, Blue Velvet, and Snickerdoodle, make their cupcakes stand out. Sweet E’s provides an essential “Cupcake Calendar” so you’ll never miss out on your favorites. Among the unusual, yet undoubtedly mouthwatering, concoctions you will find are stuffed cookies, s’mores lollipops, and cupcake push-pops. Even pets can be a part of the fun with baked dog treats that look good enough for a human to eat, though it’s certainly not recommended.

For the serious sweet-tooth, there is a concierge who can assist in making your baked goods dreams come true. Delicate winsome multi-tiered wedding cakes, custom shaped cookies, unique birthday cakes in the shape of anything you can imagine. Sweet E’s works with you to develop a sketch which turns into an edible work of art.

Want more Sweet E’s? They jumped on the food truck bandwagon, much to our delight, and you can find a calendar of their mobile locations on their website.

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A Retreat from

Chaos

By Rebecca Goins

The journey to Kribi is a retreat from chaos, into tranquil beauty. Once in the Republic of Cameroon (affectionately nicknamed “Africa in miniature� for the wide variety of culture and geography encompassed within its borders), drive westward away from the crowded cities of bustling markets, mad traffic, and the terrific myriad of sights and smells, to an idyllic confluence with the South Atlantic Ocean.

This is Kribi.

The soft sands of its beaches are filled with smooth, clear, earth-toned stones, and studded sporadically with moss-laden rocks small as step stools and large as monster trucks. The larger ones beg to be climbed at low tide, offering a quiet solitary refuge to contemplate the rolling waves gently breaking away from the unending horizon. The water is only a few degrees cooler than the humid summer air: just enough to provide a welcome respite from the heat as you dip and swirl your feet along the shallow coastal foam, or wade down its gently sloping depths. Giant fallen logs and leafy green trees beckon once the frolicking waves, relaxing depths, and meditative boulders have been exhausted. These provide a peaceful place to rest, nap or read, before heading back. On the way up, women will call out for you to buy the fresh fish that have been caught in the wood hewn canoes with the nets that are now strewn out across the sand to dry. Smiling young men will open knapsacks to reveal handmade figurines, bowls and combs, encouraging you to hold each one and consider for purchase. If you don't speak French, simply smile and murmur "Bonjour," as you pass by. 52

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Up the beach, a stone's throw from the water, is a lovely bar lounge. The round white building is surrounded by lounge chairs and a smattering of European vacationers playing games and chatting on the patio. The doors are thrown open to the summer day and the walls covered in windows, illuminating the shady room. Servers roam to and from from behind the fully stocked counter. We continue to wander out of the airy, shaded room. Passing a couple of beautiful little cabanas available for the taking, a chess set with waist-high pawns, and cross a small red-dirt road to approach a charming white picket fence that opens to the pièce de résistance, Hotel Ilomba. Here a sweetly cultivated jungle of jubilant palm fronds, exotic birds of paradise, magnolia trees, and fushia bushes of bouganvillia enfold a collection of little white villas each with forest green trim. Enter your personal villa and kick off your sandy sandals, briefly enjoying the cool of the air conditioning and the simplicity of the room, furnished with spare Spartan aesthetic. There is no television or internet to draw you back to the cares of life back home. When your stomach starts to grumble for lunch, grab your French phrase book and cross the tropical courtyard to find Le Baobab, an open air restaurant overlooking the ocean. Take a seat at the heavy wooden table, noticing the perfect position relative to the cooling sea breeze. Order any of the delicious dishes, taking advantage of the fresh seafood that was likely caught within a few miles of your seat. The Crevettes Sautées à l'ail (this is where your phrase book will come in handy), with a side of the classic Cameroonian plantains is a perfect choice, simultaneously soft and crispy, savory and sweet. Thus satiated, take a moment to appreciate the fact that you haven't seen a clock or checked your email in days, and that "stress" and "rush" have no apparent translation here. Allow your body to sink into its own rhythms, perhaps to take a nap in your villa or a hike to the local waterfalls, to swim in the ocean, or to enjoy a drink from the beach-side lounge. After all, in the freedom of paradise, the choice is yours. 53


Raceway By Leslie Moore

On a beautiful autumn afternoon, we arrived in Monterey; a wonderfully quaint beach town that is even more attractive during the off season. Gone is the crush of people with the wildlife still there to impress us. The ocean is alive with sea otters bobbing happily in massive tangles of kelp, cormorants diving for fish and prehistoric-looking pelicans trawling the waters can be seen just outside our hotel window. We are not here for a quaint or cute small town experience or even for the calming rhythm of the ocean waves. We are here to take part in an all day racing school at the world renowned Laguna Seca Raceway. Leaving the existing tranquil setting at 7:00am with our heart rates elevated knowing deep down this is going to be unlike anything we have ever experienced. The day starts with an introduction from our racing instructors, each a seasoned professional race car driver. Every driver comes with a humorous story to share, which immediately puts us more at ease. I get the feeling that behind each rugged smile hangs a plethora of wild and wonderful racing stories just waiting to come out. 54

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Each instructor is responsible for a group of eight and we are assigned two per vehicle. Our first car is the Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Gullwing, which boasts roughly 622 horsepower and starts up with an intensified roar from the performance engine. For the morning we rotate between stations; Agility Slalom and Drag Race, Skid Pad (Wet Cornering), ABS Brakes on Lane Change and Line Technique. Each station is geared to teach a driving skill, safety or emergency technique. We unlearn bad driving habits, how to accelerate, brake and steer properly. Each exercise is exhilarating as we swap from passenger to driver seat and are encouraged to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. By the noon break, I am feeling confident in my driving skill and eager to feed an almost insatiable desire to go faster.

The afternoon schedule is full-tilt amateur racing – or at least it feels this way to us. We complete three lead and follow sessions on the track; each session is four laps where every car takes a turn being the lead. The goal is to follow the instructor as closely as possible, which means keeping up your speed and hitting all your marks and using the entire track. We apply every skill learned earlier in the day (thankfully there was no use of any emergency techniques).

As the sunny California afternoon wiles away and our confidence grows, we discover there are few things in life more exhilarating than hurtling around a hairpin corner, hearing the glorious throaty rumble of a big bore engine as you punch the gas for the straightaway or passing your fellow drivers as you take the lead for the next lap. This experience is not for the weak at heart but rather a great fit for an adrenaline junkie or car enthusiast. It is addictive I must say; I think we have just found ourselves a new hobby!

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e

A Chocolate

Obsession

From

There are many ways a career can be a rewarding adventure, but few are as sweet as a job spent around chocolate.

classic European-style chocolates, to new world flavors, Naomi Pasztor and Chris Kollar have brought a taste of something new to Yountville in the heart of Napa Valley, California. Surrounded by wineries and world-renowned restaurants, a visit to Kollar Chocolates perfectly rounds out the Napa gourmet experience. Wine and chocolate, who would have thought? Ok we’re being a bit sarcastic.

What

e

makes Kollar Chocolates’ special is they use local seasonal ingredients whenever possible. For instance, lavender and fennel pollen truffles are made with flowers from certified organic Peter Jacobsen’s Orchards in Yountville. Even the decor stands out with extraordinary details and an unforgettable “chocolate bar wall”.

The Chocolate Connoisseur Chris Kollar is a chef with a particular passion for chocolate. Trained as a savory chef, Chris is a self-taught chocolatier. His inspiration is European classic chocolate making. He has traveled Europe extensively, particularly Switzerland, France, and Italy to study and learn about classic chocolates, bringing this knowledge back to his own practice. Chris has worked in kitchens across the country and beyond for the past 19 years, starting in his hometown of Atlanta, then working in South Carolina, Denver, Beaver Creek, the Cayman Islands, and Seattle. In 2001 he settled in the Napa Valley and worked at Domaine Chandon, Tra Vigne, Pinot Blanc, and Go Fish. Most recently, as Executive Chef at Peter Michael Winery in Calistoga, his passion for chocolate flourished. The Artisan Chocolatier welcomes customers to watch and learn about quality handmade chocolate through a glass show kitchen, where he produces his small batch confections. We must say, after sampling quite a few, we’re a little obsessed!

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800.730.5042

| WineResort.com

34843 RANCHO CALIFORNIA RD TEMECULA, CA | WINERESORT.COM | 800.730.5042

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Explore the South

Romancing

Charleston, South Carolina By Susan Watkins

“It was my father who called the city the Mansion on the River. He was talking about Charleston, South Carolina, and he was a native son, peacock proud of a town so pretty it makes your eyes ache with pleasure just to walk down its spellbinding, narrow streets.” Pat Conroy, South of Broad

It’s the colors that you notice first. Hazy golden light hangs over the steepled skyline of the city. Draw closer – there are mansions the hues of cotton candy, butter gracing cobblestone streets and silvery white church spires pointing proudly into the sky. Dark green gardens brim with blushing camellias, and in the near distance is the soft gray-green water of the Charleston Harbor. It is enough to make you think you’re playing inside a watercolor painting. Immediately, you notice the sounds of Charleston. Shhhhh….if you close your eyes and listen, you will hear the South whisper. The voices of history are strong and compelling here – even in the midst of today’s modern and vibrant city. This colonial town bore witness to the very birth of our nation and also to the first shots fired at Ft. Sumter which began the War Between the States. The ghosts of Charleston murmur – its sea captains and merchants, great ladies and politicians, slaves and plantation owners. The graveyards are full of American patriots and Confederate heroes. As you walk Charleston’s fabled streets, its rich heritage and storied past call out. The salty scent of the Atlantic catches your senses when the breeze is just right. Two beloved rivers, the Ashley and the Cooper (pronounced “Cuppah” by those who live here) embrace the city, one on either side. At low tide, the earthy and distinctive smell of pluff mud rises. Just minutes outside the city, the tapestry of the Charleston lowcountry landscape is rich and varied. Beyond the pleasant peninsula on which this city dwells, legendary South Carolina barrier islands beckon, each island different from the next. Natural sanctuaries bountiful in woodlands, salt marsh estuaries and abundant wildlife, plus miles of sweetgrass beaches have, for residents and visitors alike, provided the setting for many a happy summer fling. For four days we immersed ourselves in this lovely city. We took a horse drawn carriage through its streets. We walked here and there, peeking down shaded alleyways and gazing at hidden gardens through curly-cued ironwork gates. We strolled through the neighborhood known simply as “South of Broad”, marveling at antebellum mansions so large they spread out across the land like an old fashioned lady’s hoop skirt. We wandered along streets both narrow and grand, where we admired window flower boxes, churches, overgrown graveyards with crumbled mossy headstones, impressive red brick buildings and lacy tree canopied streets. We poked about art galleries, antique stores and glittering designer stores as we went. We shopped for Gullah spices, hot sauces and palmetto baskets. We sat in an old fashioned swing on the pier, legs dangling, eating peanuts as pelicans swooped over the scenic Charleston Harbor. We dined in world-class restaurants. We visited plantations from Southern days gone by. It was not long before we were utterly charmed by the beauty of this place.

Quite simply, we fell mad ly in love with Charleston. 58

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AMERICA’S FAVORITE CITY

Many on the West Coast are just now discovering the immense attraction of Charleston, which has been named the nation’s top destination city for three years running. We decided to pack our bags and head east to see what all the fuss was about. From Los Angeles, Charleston is an easy 5 hours by air. When you arrive, you’ll be struck by the marked difference in culture and the welcome change of pace from “Life in the Fast Lane”. You’ve heard about Southern Charm, Southern Hospitality, Southern Comfort, and Southern Cookin’? Well, it all genuinely comes alive in Charleston. As we ventured out on our first day in this picturesque city we soon became accustomed to the polite nod of greeting and the smiling inquiry, “Welcome! Where y’all from?” The people of Charleston are unflaggingly proud of their city and its heritage, and it shows. They love to share it with visitors like us, who’ve come to prowl about its historic sites, dine in its acclaimed restaurants and soak in all the ambience of this old Southern city which I’m told is properly pronounced “Chahhhl stun.” So, what’s to love about Charleston? Let me count the ways: PINEAPPLES AND PALMETTOS

In Charleston, the pineapple is a symbol of welcome and you see decorative images of pineapples all about town. Palmettos are the small palm trees which line its avenues and adorn its gardens. Look around - pineapples and palmettos are everywhere! They are saying, “Welcome – You’re in Charleston!” •Take a Horse Drawn Carriage Ride A great way to orient yourself to the charms of the city, this nostalgic outing will slow your pace to the lazy rhythm of the horses’ clip clop and provide you with the best seat in the house for viewing all the important places in the downtown and historic districts. Palmetto Carriage Tours, the oldest carriage company in Charleston, has fabulous guides with years of experience and is known for giving their horses tender loving care. As you go, soak in all the stories and tidbits of history that your guide will tell, and make a mental note of places you’d like to return to for a closer look. •Promenade through White Point Gardens Situated along the Battery, this idyllic park is named for the large mounds of white oyster shells that once covered this point. Meander beneath the shade of the giant oak trees, picnic under a gazebo, admire the antebellum architecture of the houses across the street, or gaze out to sea where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers meet. •Pose at the Pineapple Fountain Whether a friend snaps your picture or you’re able to get a good selfie, a picture of you in front of this enduring Charleston symbol of welcome will be a favorite in your album. •Walk along Rainbow Row A distinctive strip of antebellum homes nicknamed for their pastel colors, these historic houses standing watch over the harbor are some of the most prominent architectural landmarks of Charleston. •Sashay South of Broad Row after row of impressive antebellum homes sit graciously along the streets of the residential neighborhood named for its location south of Broad Street. Behind delicate iron gates or lush courtyards, these beautiful homes all have a history. For fun, look for porch ceilings, shutters, doors and windowsills painted in a particular color of blue called “haint blue.” Painting parts of your home in haint blue is a tradition which arose from the Gullah people, descendants of African slaves who worked the rice plantations long ago. The color is meant to protect against haints, or evil spirits. •Get Up Close and Personal on a Walking Tour You can find just about any kind of themed walking tour you might imagine here in Charleston. How about a Pirate Tour or a creepy night-time Ghost Tour? You can choose from Patriot Walks, Civil War Walks, Slave Walks, Historic Home Walks… you get the picture. Discovering your favorite places of cultural heritage and historical significance with an entertaining and expert guide will open up the world of Charleston to you. 59


HISTORIC HOMES

The homes and gardens of Charleston are a big part of its allure. Fortunately, you don’t need to stand from afar and admire all of them from the sidewalk! We are grateful to The Historic Charleston Foundation which has opened the doors to history so that we can enjoy many of the historic homes which dot the city. •Nathanial Russell House Regarded as one of the finest neoclassical dwellings anywhere in America, this home dating from Charleston’s Golden Age features an impressive free-flying staircase, geometrically shaped rooms fully furnished in period pieces, and a grand collection of decorative and fine arts. •Edmondston-Alston House Commanding a spectacular view of Charleston Harbor, this home features stately wide piazzas from which General P.G.T. Beauregard watched the bombardment of Ft. Sumter in 1861. Pay a visit to this home and you’ll be taken from one exquisite room to the next, all containing pieces of the family’s 19th century furniture, books, family portraits and silver. SHOPPING CHARLESTON STYLE

Whether you’re looking for a unique keepsake from your visit, shopping for that special bauble or just love to browse, there’s plenty in Charleston to satisfy the shopper within. •King Street The “Rodeo Drive” of Charleston, King Street is a shopper’s paradise. On Lower King Street you’ll find the antiques district where you can treasure hunt till your heart’s content. Upper King Street boasts many of your favorite high-end designer stores, plus a multitude of one-of-a-kind boutique stores owned by merchants which have been here for generations, specializing in jewelry, silver, clothing, and classy gifts. •Charleston City Market This fun market is one of the oldest public markets in the United States. Start in the bright, air conditioned Great Hall, a long corridor containing a cavalcade of mini-shops owned by local vendors. Here you can buy Charleston delicacies – tea, jam, sweets, linens, glassware, quality Charleston keepsakes from the Historic Charleston Foundation, and some captivating local art. Venture a bit further into the covered open air sheds where you can shop for jewelry, scarves, t-shirts and best of all, traditional sweetgrass baskets, one of the region’s most prized indigenous Gullah crafts. If you have a passion for spice, stop and chat with the Gullah grannies who will persuade you to buy their very own home-made fiery hot sauces. Woo Ha, they are HOT! SOUTHERN COMFORT

Where to stay in Charleston? These two places really know how to roll out the red carpet for their guests. •The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel - Here is a Grand Lady of a hotel if there ever was one! Charleston’s best historic hotel is truly a landmark - everyone in town knows The Mills House. Its storied past includes venerable guests such as General Robert E. Lee, who stood on the balcony in 1861 and watched as a great fire swept through Charleston. Situated in a prime location on the corner of Meeting and Queen Streets, everything you could want to see in historic and downtown Charleston is within walking distance. The hotel is instantly recognizable with its bright terra cotta color and ornate wrought-iron balconies. The Mills House is beautifully restored and the public rooms feature elegant colonial décor in cream and russet tones. The hotel’s lobby and courtly parlors show off opulent chandeliers, original artwork from the 17th and 18th centuries and a fine collection of stately antique furniture which are treasures not only to The Mills House, but to all the good people of Charleston. Newly remodeled guest rooms are lovely in the restful palettes of the color of water – aqua blues, greens and golds. All of the comforts of home are here. An upper room facing onto the front of the hotel will treat you to a spectacular view of the Charleston skyline, Ravenel Bridge, Charleston Harbor and Ft. Sumter in the distance. The elegance of this hotel is matched only by the cordial hospitality of the exceptional staff. Efficient and courteous, they know all about Charleston and are a wonderful resource for recommendations. Enjoy a drink in the First Shot Lounge, named for the first shot fired at Ft. Sumter which commenced the Civil War. Overlooking the peaceful fountain courtyard, it is the perfect setting for sipping a pre-dinner cocktail and reminiscing about your day’s activities. Don’t miss having 60

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at least one meal in the adjoining Barbadoes Room restaurant. For a tried and true low-country breakfast here, order the shrimp and grits. The aura of the Mills House calls to memory the wistful statement of Rhett Butler, who said “I’m going back to Charleston, where there is still a little grace and civility left in the world.” A stay at The Mills House will immerse you in the history and gentility of Charleston like no other place. •Wentworth Mansion - Indulge yourself in the lap of luxury at this intimate five star boutique hotel. Located in a quiet downtown neighborhood just minutes from the historic district, you’ll feel like you are a world away - kiss your cares goodbye and sink into the pampered life at Wentworth Mansion! If you are fortunate enough to stay here you will feel every bit like a Royal. Our spacious and utterly enchanting Suite Nine featured a king sized bed with decorative canopy, luxurious linens, wood parquet floors, a hand carved marble fireplace for romantic evenings, antique armoire, vintage chandeliers, oriental carpets, wood paneled walls, Scarlett O’Hara green velvet draperies, a comfortable library to curl up with a good book, a spacious bathroom with double sinks, two-person whirlpool tub and enormous shower, and a sun porch looking out on to the gardens. The mansion is simply breathtaking. Bask in the serenity and splendor of this place. Note the beautifully preserved historic features of the home including the inlaid floors, classic moldings and the grand staircase fit for a King (or Queen!). Take a glass of wine to the rooftop cupola for an unparalleled 360 degree sunset view of the fabled skyline of Charleston. In the mornings, make it a point to see the sun illuminate the amber and sapphire glass of the vintage Tiffany windows over the entry doors. A stay at Wentworth Mansion includes an evening wine and hors d’oeuvres reception as well as a full complimentary breakfast. Even bedtime at the Wentworth Mansion is an occasion. In the parlor, you’ll find evening port, sherry and brandy set out on gleaming silver service, and house-made chocolates will be waiting in your room. So go ahead – live a little! Pour yourself a nightcap, light up the fireplace, snuggle up in your cushy robe, savor your chocolate, and prepare to dream.

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CHARLESTON CUISINE Charleston has established itself as a thriving culinary destination in its own right and you’ll find way more here than the stereotypical heavy “Southern” food. When you’re in Charleston, be sure to sample some of the signature dishes for which it is known: Shrimp & Grits, Pimento Cheese, She Crab Soup, Benne Wafer Cookies, Tomato Pie, Fresh Oysters, Fried Green Tomatoes, Sweet Tea and any kind of cocktail with Bourbon!! Here’s a rundown of the best places to partake in the Charleston culinary scene: •McCrady’s Restaurant - The historic setting is enough to take your breath away. Located in a venerable brick tavern which dates back to the American Revolution, McCrady’s is on the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural and political significance. If the walls could talk here, maybe you would hear the voice of George Washington, who attended a banquet in his honor here in 1791. Steeped in this kind of tradition, you know you are in a special place. Fast forward to 2014, add renowned Chef Sean Brock, an innovative menu, exceptional service and creative cocktails to the mix and you’ve got Southern fine dining at its best. McCrady’s is known for its changing menu which offers food fresh from local farms. Try the four course tasting menu. The night we were there, our table especially enjoyed a Duo of Berkshire Pork with butternut squash, burnt honey and black truffle and an Aged Duck, roasted on the bone with sweet potato, oats, basil and black garlic. For dessert, a refreshing serving of Frozen Parfait of Grits with Huckleberry proves that they can do anything with grits here in Charleston! •Charleston Grill – Swanky. Romantic. Sexy. Perfect for a special occasion, or anytime you just want to indulge! This is a classy restaurant, where easy Southern manners reign. The impressive dining room feels old-world and features tables dressed in snowy white linen and soft lighting. To complete the full Charleston experience, a cool live jazz trio serenades diners nightly. The menu is inventive, the service is impeccable and the food is out of this world. Chef Michelle Weaver’s menu is cleverly divided into four sections, offering fare which is categorized as Pure (simple dishes featuring clean, light flavors), Lush (lavish food in the French tradition), Cosmopolitan (exotic dishes from around the globe) and Southern (contemporary interpretations of lowcountry favorites). Diners can mix and match from any area on the menu to create their perfect dining experience. As an appetizer, please please please order the Charleston Grill Crab Cake with creek shrimp and lime tomato dill vinaigrette. Pure chunks of sweet delicious crab without the bread fillers, they are like no crab cakes you’ve ever tasted! Oyster lovers will appreciate the Roasted Oysters with kimchi hollandaise, bacon and spinach. Our main courses, Butter Poached Lobster with uni butter, pappardelle pasta, toasted garlic and brioche crumbs and the Grilled Domestic Lamb Rack with winter vegetables, mint chimichurri and lamb jus were stylishly presented and so delicious we couldn’t bear to leave even one bite on our plates. For a different dessert, order the Rice Pudding Fritters with hazelnut caramel, milk chocolate, balsamic and cocoa sorbet. An evening here will be one of your favorite Charleston memories, we promise •Caviar & Bananas Gourmet Market and Cafe– Situated between the stylish shopping district of King Street and Charleston College, this busy bistro is the perfect place to stop for lunch, coffee or a quick bite. As its name suggests, Caviar & Bananas offers everything from scrumptious gourmet food to a simple snack. This humming market and café features a sushi bar, bakery, a large selection of specialty foods and made to order creations such as cheese & charcuterie boards, sandwiches and salads. Guests can shop for boutique wine, spices and other gourmet items while they help themselves to an artisanal 62

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coffee, glass of wine, or a full meal. Try the Housemade Pimento Cheese Plate with pickled vegetables and crostini and the popular “Naked” Kale Salad with almonds, cranberries, blueberries, aged Gouda, grape tomatoes and lemon vinaigrette. The success of Caviar & Bananas in Charleston is evidenced by the recent opening of its second walk-up location in the historic City Market Great Hall. •High Cotton – “High Cotton: An old Southern idiom meaning you’re well off, especially in terms of happiness or wealth.” At High Cotton, you’re invited into a world where the livin’ is easy, and there’s always somethin’ good coming out of the kitchen. The proprietors of this restaurant tell you that a meal here will immerse you in “High Steppin’ Lowcountry Living.” Indeed, here you can “set a spell” and enjoy the ambiance of the posh dining room’s historic antique brick walls, wood floors, palmetto ceiling fans, needlepoint upholstered chairs and artwork depicting the great Southern love of horse racing. The menu specializes in local lowcountry fare, and is accompanied by a fine wine list. We recommend the Buttermilk Fried Oysters with green goddess dressing, the Fried Brussels Sprouts with smoked paprika aioli, and the Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Rabbit Loin with pimento cheese grits, grilled baby carrots, cherry pistachio pâté and rosemary infused jus. After dinner, drift along East Bay Street and soak up the charisma of Charleston at night. Life is good at High Cotton! •Blossom – Known for its extensive selection of fresh seafood presented in true lowcountry fashion, this is absolutely the place to order Shrimp and Grits! The combination of tender fragrant shrimp, white cheddar grits, spicy creole butter and scallions will make you want to stand up and shout “Amen!” The restaurant is fresh and modern with flowers on every table and open lemon colored walls which flow onto a pleasing outdoor dining porch. While seafood is the heart and soul of this kitchen, the menu also features interesting appetizers such as Sorghum Glazed Barbecued Pork Belly with jalapeño & bourbon peach jam, salsa verde, and wood oven pizzas. A popular restaurant with visitors and locals alike, the dinner menu kicks it up a notch to make Blossom one of Charleston’s all time favorites. •Hall’s Chophouse – This top rated steak and chop house is run by the Hall family, who were happy to tell us all about their strong California roots. William Hall presides as the patriarch here and his sons Billy and Tommy have made their Mama proud with this handsome restaurant, greeting each and every guest with a hearty Southern welcome. Dark paneled walls and cushy cognac leather booths set the stage in this dignified dining room. The menu features a tempting array of steaks and chops and a mile-long wine list, and it’s all served in a lively environment. For an appetizer you won’t forget, order the LowCountry Fried Green Tomatoes with crab, shrimp and bacon succotash. With the best steak you’ll ever eat, be sure to try a couple of Hall’s most talked about side dishes – we loved the Pepperjack Creamed Corn. Save room for dessert – the Whiskey Bread Pudding with sun dried cherries, pecans & bourbon crème anglaise is a delectable treat. Ladies, as you leave, you may receive a gallant kiss on the hand from one of the Hall brothers, a gracious Southern custom which has not lost its charm. •Poogan’s Porch – Situated in a restored Victorian Charleston residence, Poogan’s Porch bears the name of a previous owner’s pup, Poogan, who sunned himself on the porch of this home in years past. You’ll find traditional lowcountry dishes here at this restaurant which is a favorite with the locals. We stopped in for lunch and ordered the She Crab Soup with dry sherry & chive oil and lump crab, the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich with goat cheese and applewood bacon and the Fried Chicken Sliders with buttermilk biscuits. Accompanied by an icy glass of sweet tea this is the food that just plain old comforts your heart. Hint: keep your eye out for the ghost of a lady in black said to haunt this place. As they say at Poogan’s Porch, you may go home with a ghostly tale! 63


CHARLESTON AT NIGHT

Charleston after dark is simply magic. Lamps light the streets with a shimmery glow; restaurants and clubs come alive with the best in food, cocktails and entertainment. Take in one of these things to do! Or, simply enjoy a moonlight stroll on the pier and let the kiss of saltwater breezes put you in the mood for romance. •Roof Top Bars Charleston’s enviable location right on the water and its temperate evening weather make it a hot spot for roof top bars. For a romantic beginning or end to your evening, take your sweetheart out under the stars, order a cocktail, enjoy some music and gaze at the lights of the city. It’s the thing to do here! •Cocktails at Husk If you can’t make it to this highly regarded restaurant for dinner, at least stop in next door at the atmospheric The Bar at Husk. In this rustic brick edifice, we climbed up the rough hewn wooden stairs to the second floor to find quite a cozy bar. Here you can snuggle up with your honey in a big backed booth upholstered in red and silver polka dots, look out the large windows onto Queen Street, and toast Charleston with a classic Light Dragoon’s Punch or some of the most impressive selections of bourbon found in town. •Coconut Cake at Peninsula Grill Top the night off with a decadent piece of the Peninsula Grill’s renowned five layer coconut cake. We were not fortunate enough to have dinner at one of Charleston’s most acclaimed dining establishments (hoping for next time!), but we did stop in to share a piece of their famous confection. It lives up to its reputation. You must have it. It’s a part of the Charleston experience. PLANTATION TEMPTATION

No trip to Charleston is complete without a visit to at least one plantation. Just a few minutes outside of the city lay acres of rich farmland and the remnants of prosperous rice plantations from lofty days gone by. •Middleton Place Step back in time at Middleton Place, where you can still envision what lowcountry plantation life must have been like. Here you can tour all aspects of the plantation including fascinating excursions into the fields and stableyards, observing working artisans such as blacksmiths and potters. You’ll enjoy touring the house museum which is full of rare artifacts, such as a hand written pass signed by Abraham Lincoln, allowing a Middleton daughter-in-law safe passage through Union lines. You’ll see many portraits of members the prominent and influential Middleton family, including Arthur Middleton, who signed the Declaration of Independence, his son Henry who served as governor of South Carolina, and his grandson, Williams who became a signer of the Ordinance of Secession, sparking the Civil War. The crowning glory of Middleton Place is its lavish gardens, which are the oldest landscaped gardens in America. Recline under the shade of massive Spanish oaks dripping with moss, mosey down camellia allées into secret gardens and wonder at the expansive emerald green terraces overlooking the Ashley River. •Drayton Hall Drayton Hall is one of the finest surviving colonial houses in the nation, and the only enduring example of Georgian Palladian architecture in the U.S. This historical treasure is intact after weathering not only the American Revolution where the British used it as a staging ground, but the Civil War as well. When all other plantation homes on the Ashley River were burned by the Yankees, Drayton Hall was spared. Since then, it has withstood the great earthquake of 1886 and the devastation of hurricane Hugo in 1989. Instead of restoring the home, the trustees have opted to preserve it in its near-original condition. Today, Drayton Hall still stands much as it stood in the 18th century. It should not be missed. •Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Before you tour the home and gardens at Magnolia, you can view an inspirational film on the history of the family which has owned this property over generations. Enjoy the abundant flowering gardens on foot or via nature train. Other options are a boat tour along Magnolia’s old flooded rice fields and the exhibition “From Slavery to Freedom” which features former slave dwellings and an award winning program on African-American history. PLEASE COME AGAIN With every invitation from our newfound Charleston friends to return, I realized that indeed, Charleston had stolen a piece of my heart. Even now, I am drawn to return and renew my love affair with this charming city. That’s what’s to love about Charleston!

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Explore the South

Where the

Deep South Meets the

Far East By Ava Roxanne Stritt

Vis it t h e M andari n O r ie n t al Atlanta H ote l an d S pa for an O r ie n tal C ocoon E x p e r ie n ce


My daughter Alexis and I knew something was different as soon as we walked into the spa. A therapist removed our shoes and carried them away on a tray - a traditional shoe ceremony. As she was led to the pedicure area, I was off to discover what it felt like to be inside an oriental cocoon. Inside the luxurious spa treatment suite, it is time for another ceremony - footwashing, followed by the gentle ringing of tiny temple bells. The Tibetan chimes are made of seven different metals, ringing at seven different levels. The tone clears the mind and focuses energy. This is the beginning of one of the most relaxing -and interesting -- spa travel experiences of Ava’s spa life. The Mandarin Oriental Atlanta Hotel and Spa is tucked deep in the heart of Georgia, but inside its doors, you will find authentic Asian influences. When you check in to this 42-story hotel in the prestigious Buckhead neighborhood, you receive a warm hand towel, steaming tea and an orchid. The rooms feature a lucky bamboo and instead of the traditional American toiletries with often overpowering scents: subtle but soothing Shanghai Tang Mandarin Tea scented goodies. The Mandarin Oriental has the most exquisite turndown in town, complete with orchid flowers scattered across the bed and high-end slippers. The holistic spa continues this unique and detailed fusion of Asian elegance and Southern hospitality. The 15,000-square-foot Mandarin Oriental spa has been honored with awards, and it’s no wonder why. From vitality pools to an outdoor spa lounge to a private yoga studio, nothing is lacking here. The thoughtful details and top-notch service made my spa treatment sink much deeper than just skin-deep. It was a journey into relaxation for my mind and spirit, too. I tried a body wrap and massage called the Body Detox and Tone Journey, which centers around oils that eliminate toxins and extra fluid and improve circulation. A full body exfoliation preceded a soothing algae wrap, an indulgent scalp massage and a full-body massage with oil. This was more than a treatment; it was a true journey. For the exfoliation, my therapist used the incredible ESPA body brush, made with Mexican cactus plant bristles that make your skin feel and look radiant. Pair this with the ESPA exfoliating body polish, infused with apricot kernels and spearmint essential oils, and you are left with glowing skin, improved circulation and tone and even renewed cells. The perfect finishing touch for the skin before the cocoon - a detoxifying body oil. Then came the cocoon. Oh, the cocoon! This was the best part, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Imagine being swathed in these top-of-the-line products and then wrapped up in comforting warmth. This was not a simple wrap, but a rebirth experience. I felt like a caterpillar in a cocoon. I could feel the stress melting off my body throughout the rest of the treatment, until I was ready to re-emerge as a stunning butterfly. A perfect way to refresh your life any day. While in the wrap, my well trained therapist, Jessica, massaged my scalp with the ESPA Pink scalp mud treatment, which uses mineral-filled clay, apricot kernel oil and watercress extract to extend the healthy indulgence all the way to the tips of your hair strands. This award-winning conditioning treatment promotes healthy hair and scalp, which is why it is adored by spa clients worldwide. In fact, the scalp massage was the best part of my entire spa treatment. With my head cradled in the therapist gentle hands, the figurative caterpillar crawled across my forehead in preparation of their new life. For days, my hair felt as soft as the hair of a child. I couldn’t stop touching it. I was delighted to learn the ESPA Pink Hair and Scalp Mud treatment is available for home use, too. ESPA Pink Hair mud is my favorite product that I’ve ever discovered in a spa -- along with the Okab sandals and Taylor shoes, also available in the spa boutique. I left the spa looking and feeling more youthful, with improved circulation and a relaxed sense of peace. I could feel the effects of the treatment for days. The wrap continues to help you rid toxins for about three days.

I truly felt transformed. Just like a butterfly perfected inside a cocoon.


Explore the South

The Southern Charm

of Beaufort

By Susan B. Barnes


Considered the little sister of neighboring cities, Charleston and

Savannah, the allure and character of historic downtown Beaufort, South Carolina (pronounced be-ew-fert) rivals that of its neighbors. Historic homes? Check. Waterfront? Check. Boutique shopping? Check. Fine dining? Check. Loads of history? Check. In just a few days, visitors can park their cars and discover all of Beaufort’s beauty, and leave wanting to come back for more. A walking tour of the historic district with Beaufort Touring Company is a fantastic way to get the lay of the town. Not only will it give you a glimpse into the stories of the palatial antebellum homes that dot the riverfront and tree-lined streets, but a real sense of Beaufort’s history. Collin, who led our tour, shared fascinating information with our group, not only of the Civil War history that filled the streets, but the celebrities who stayed in the prestigious homes while filming any number of movies based on author Pat Conroy’s novels. For a bit more walking – and shopping! – Beaufort’s Bay Street is lined with fun boutiques to pop into; art galleries filled with amazing works, jewelry shops for a little bling and restaurants to satiate any appetite. Take some time to stroll and window shop and perhaps even pick something up – for yourself, or as a gift. Another fantastic way to discover Beaufort is from the water. The Beaufort River embraces the historic district, and can be enjoyed in a few different ways. Hop aboard a pontoon boat and let Capt. Dick of Capt. Dick’s Original Beaufort River Tour and Dolphin Watch navigate the waterways, pointing out landmarks and key sights along the way. Just over an hour long, the tour is fully-narrated, and you may even spot a dolphin or two. Sunset cruises are offered, too, and small coolers are welcome to bring along your favorite beverage. If you’re looking for something a bit more active, opt instead for a kayaking tour of Beaufort’s waterways with Beaufort Kayak Tours. With three tours available – downtown Beaufort, a Blackwater creek into the rice culture of the past, or Hunting Island and the Atlantic Ocean – you’re sure to see more than you could imagine in this part of the Low Country. Back on land, an English tradition continues with high tea at Southern Graces Bistro within The Beaufort Inn. Cucumber, tomato and chicken salad finger sandwiches are served, along with fresh fruit and freshly-baked pastries, in compliment of a variety of hot teas. Pinkies up! When staying in downtown Beaufort, there’s no need to drive anywhere. Simply park your car and walk to everything the area has to offer. However, there are some spots you may want to jump back into your car to check out that are a bit further down the road. Get back to nature at Hunting Island State Park; get back to history at Parris Island; or visit one of the country’s first schools for freed slaves at the Penn Center. There’s so much to discover on the outer islands! Though small in size, Beaufort’s dining scene is big in flavor. Highlights include Blackstone’s Café for breakfast or lunch in a kitchy setting; Lowcountry Produce Market & Café for breakfast, lunch or light bites with live music on Friday nights; Wren Bistro and Bar for lunch and dinner; Emily’s Restaurant & Tapas Bar for shared plates; and Saltus River Grill for fine dining. If you like oysters don’t miss Free Oyster Friday from 5 – 7 p.m. at Plums on the river. Wherever you dine, you have to try shrimp and grits – a Lowcountry tradition – at least once! Downtown Beaufort has several options when it comes to staying the night. As far as bed and breakfasts, check into one of the historic Beaufort Inn’s 30 rooms, or the Rhett House Inn, a beautifully restored 1820’s plantation house (and enjoy daily champagne, in addition to other goodies). For a more modern stay, choose the City Loft Hotel, Beaufort’s first upscale boutique hotel.

However you enjoy Beaufort, you’ll leave wanting to return for more. And with true southern hospitality, Beaufort will welcome you back with open arms. 69


Explore the South

Savannah – A True Southern Belle By Susan B. Barnes


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oss-draped trees frame square parks dotted throughout downtown Savannah, Georgia, lending an air of romance, history and a bit of mystery, too. Spend a few days in this southern beauty of a city, and you’ll quickly fall under her spell. Listed as a Top 10 City in the United States, Savannah’s downtown area is easily accessible by foot, and truly the best way to get to know her is simply by strolling along her streets. Aside from the parks, historic homes and museums line the streets, open for exploration and discovery. If you’re interested in historic homes and architecture, be sure to tour the Harper Fowlkes House, the Davenport House Museum and the Mercer Williams House Museum, to name just a few. Literary buffs will want to visit the Flanner O’Connor Childhood Home, dedicated to the work and life of the acclaimed novelist and short story writer. Girl Scouts of all ages – current and former – will certainly want to visit the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, within the home in which she was born. A visit to the SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) Museum of Art is a highlight of any visit to the “hostess city of the south.” The museum showcases works by professional artists, as well as inspires students to push their creative boundaries. For a quick refresher whilst walking, stop by Leopold’s Ice Cream, where the Tutti-Frutti ice cream that inspired Johnny Mercer’s song of the same name was first scooped in the early 1900s. It’s always great to taste a bit of history!

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For those of you that are ghost enthusiasts a fantastic way to get to know the city is on a ghost tour. Not only will you have your wits scared out of you, but you’ll learn so much about the history and people who made Savannah home. There are plenty of graveyards to haunt too, including Bonaventure Cemetery, where the statue from the book and movie, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” stands. Like many southern towns, it’s nearly impossible to go hungry when visiting Savannah, what with all its downhome southern cooking. Savannah has plenty of fine dining restaurants to satiate every appetite. Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room isn’t an option when visiting Savannah, but rather a requirement. Lunch is served family-style – plates of fried chicken, cornbread dressing, sweet potato soufflé, black-eyed peas, biscuits and more are passed until stomachs are full, and then some. For a more traditional meal, make reservations for dinner at The Olde Pink House, Elizabeth on 37th, or 17 Hundred 90 Restaurant. From hotels to intimate bed and breakfasts, Savannah offers a variety of accommodations to meet every price point and experience. As far as hotels, you can’t go wrong with Andaz Savannah, The Marshall House, or Mansion on Forsyth Park Hotel. Bed and breakfasts reign supreme in Savannah, and the Ballastone Inn on Oglethorpe Avenue will certainly provide a royal stay, complete with afternoon high tea. Of course, the suites and rooms will make you feel like a queen or king for the night, too.

Savannah is certainly a place you’ll want to spend some time getting to know, and returning to time and again to bask in its southern hospitality.

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A DESERT ESCAPE: By Marcie Taylor

The Boulders

The mornings are chilly in the desert. But when you wake up and are faced with a 12 million year old rock formation, cacti and the sounds of nature calling your name, you can’t help but feel warm inside, and grateful. Very grateful. For it is during quiet times like these that you feel there is someone out there watching over you. Our casita is one of 160 casitas (small houses) and 60 villas at The Boulders, a Waldorf-Astoria resort in a town called Carefree, located just outside of Scottsdale. The accommodations are shaped into the natural terrain, many bordering the two 18-hole championship golf courses designed by award-winning designer Jay Morrish. Majestic boulders and desert cacti including the surreal saguaro dot the landscape. There are trails around the property that are easy to walk but you can also jump in one of the resorts’ golf carts. Since we are there only for a weekend, we decide on a laid-back itinerary of relaxation and family-friendly adventure. That’s an easy task at The Boulders with its 33,000-square -foot Waldorf Astoria Spa, terrace tennis garden, four swimming pools, modern fitness center and six unique restaurants and cafes on site! The spa is a short walk from our casita. I greet a lady and her dog on the way (yes, the resort is pet-friendly). My massage treatment is in an hour so I take the time to visit the labyrinth and meditate. There is a tipi there too and I would have loved to consult with the shaman but she was not available. The first thing I noticed about the Waldorf Astoria Spa at The Boulders is that it combines the use of organic spa products with Eastern and Western rituals. I suppose its location - a desert oasis in the Sonoran Desert - lends itself to this marriage of dual traditions to achieve wellness. There is also the undeniable energy from the earth that one feels when you are here.

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The separate men’s and women’s locker rooms are called Niwa, which is Japanese for resting place. The amenities include lounges, steam, sauna and O’furos, a Japanese bath. In the circular tearoom, overlooking the desert, I try the potassium broth that they serve, a reviving beverage the sign says. I suppose if you’ve worked out or taken a vigorous class at the fitness center, the broth is a perfect re-energizer. I wish I could have scheduled other treatments for myself like the Ayurvedic experience, or Watsu (in which the therapist cradles you, drawing on rhythmic movement, massage and stretches, in the waters of a private outdoor pool) but I only had time for a signature massage. My therapist and I talked about healing and Eastern and Western philosophies for a bit, before I melted away into a state of serenity, my mind became clear and my stress dissolved. Later that night, we ventured out of the resort, into town to see America’s largest sundial before heading into nearby Cave Creek for dinner. Buffalo Chip Saloon, which as the name implies, is an honest to goodness Western Saloon and Restaurant. In fact they have actual bull riding outdoors, along with live music and dancing. We arrived a bit too early for the bull rides but the bonfires were lit outside and everyone was already having a good old time. The barbecue was good and the beer butt chicken was the best we’ve had! Back at the resort, we walked through trails to our casita. Walking under the shadow of the boulders at night is a different experience altogether. The vast sky is lit by a multitude of stars. It is awe- inspiring and you realize that it is the same night sky that the Mexican explorers and Native Americans slept under, hundreds of years ago. The next morning, we have breakfast at the resort’s Palo Verde Restaurant and it is there that I discover and fall I love with the taste of prickly pear syrup! The Palo Verde restaurant offers breathtaking views of the Sonoran Desert and overlooks the 6th fairway and the charming Duck Pond. Not a bad start to the day. There are many outdoor recreational activities you can experience in this part of Arizona including rock climbing, hot air ballooning and desert jeep tours Guests of The Boulders looking for adventure can also explore the nearby Apache Trail with hiking to lakes, massive buttes, twisting canyons and Native American cliff dwellings and ruins.

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We opted for the jeep tour and after lunch met our guide, a spunky lady named Sandy, who had a knife and pistol on her hip. With a cooler of drinks, blankets for all and many interesting stories to tell we started our drive to the Tonto National Forest. The Tonto National Forest is the largest of the six national forests in Arizona and is the fifth largest national forest in the United States. There, in the great Sonoran desert, we learned all about plant life and survival. “Everything here bites, stings, scratches and pokes,” warned Sandy as she unsheathed her knife to cut a thorn off the deadly cactus cholla. I realized then that her pistol wasn’t a prop; rather a form of protection. On our last night dinner was at The Spotted Donkey Cantina in El Pedregal. It was crazy busy as even locals love to patronize this lively joint. Naturally I partake of a refreshing frozen margarita sweetened with my new favorite - prickly pear and we enjoy the house-made tortilla chips with queso fundido. We take turns discussing the last action-packed two days we’ve spent at The Boulders and quickly decide to return sooner rather than later. If you are looking for an escape with world-class amenities, stunning natural beauty and top-notch service, The Boulders is a great place for making memories that will last a lifetime.


Stay Active &

#latravelfit

Authentic

on the Road Hotel. Pool. Airport. Hotel. Pool. Airport. Talk about a tease! Competing for the USA Women’s Water Polo National Team, I have been to my share of pools and hotels. Yet most of the athletic nooks & crannies of the world beyond remained a mystery. This might explain why I made it a personal mission to discover and experience as many active & authentic adventures as possible since then! Here are 5 thoroughly entertaining ways to experience a culture AND challenge your fitness traveling goals: 1) Compete in a Race Crush your goals and see a city from a whole new perspective by competing in a local race. Whatever your cup of tea may be, from a 5k to Half Marathon, races of all sorts are gaining momentum around the world. • Ready to go big? Le marathon du Medoc held in France each September is your ticket. You don’t have to run for fitness, you can run for wine, food, and local culture. While cruising by 50 chateaux in the countryside, you can stop by one of the many stands carrying gourmet goodies like oysters, steak, or wine! Feel free to dress up in whatever goofy costume you can create, because almost everyone else will. Just be sure to test it out first for a chafe-free experience. 2) Get Lost I mean it. Check out a map (gasp, maybe even an old fashion paper one) and get to know the areas around where you’re staying. Give yourself a vague destination to get to. Happy hour on the waterfront? That puts some real pep in my step. Now put your Garmin away and start walking. • If you want to get off the urban concrete, many cities feature a gorgeous oasis. Larger than Central Park in New York City, the Englischer Garten in Munich has miles of paths and walkways to wander along. And what do you know, there are some top-notch beer gardens hidden within. We’ll cheers to that. 77


3) Take a class With studios depending on their local audience, what better way to experience local (and give your body the sweet sweaty love it deserves) than to hop into a yoga, spin, or bootcamp class. Do your research beforehand to get a vibe on the style and scene. Or if you like a surprise, be open for anything and hop into it. • In a bustling city like London, the yoga scene is emerging with both the chic and traditional style of studios. From restorative to heated, you’ll have a variety to choose from. Try these London studios on for size: Triyoga, YogaHaven, Evolve Wellness, and The Life Centre. 4) Be Adventurous with Locals We’ve all seen the travel guides that share “local activities” or “things to do”. Yet how authentic are they? What’s the best way to find out? Ask someone! Don’t be shy, walk right up and ask an active local that looks happy from all those heart-pumping endorphins, “how do folks around here like to be active?” • Hire a surf guide on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast to show you the best local spots catering to your level of experience. Papaya Wellness owners, Carly Chivers and India Reinartz are tapped into the surf haven and emerging community of Gigante, north of San Juan del Sur. Better jump on your board soon, the word is getting out about this hidden gem. 5) Creativity is Key Who says you can’t be innovative when working out? After all, you’ll be doing your body a service by challenging it in new ways. Use your surroundings as inspiration. • You’re wine tasting for the weekend and there’s no gym or studio in sight. Run the vineyards! That’s right, stay light on your toes as you sweep past each row of lush grapes. Just be sure to ask permission first, otherwise you might end up getting your workout by running away from angry owners.

Article & Photos by Jaime Komer; Olympic Medalist, International Instructor, & Co-Founder of Athlete.Yogi.Traveler, an active lifestyle company that combines sports, yoga, travel, and philanthropy to ignite positive change. Athlete.Yogi.Traveler: www.athleteyogitraveler.com

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Realizing Loreto By Richard Carroll Photography by Halina Kubalski

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rom every angle of the Villa del Palmar Resort, the timeless landscape, both spiritual and calming, touches the heart with an enduring gentle tug. Tucked away 220-miles north of La Paz on the 1,000-mile long Baja Peninsula, the property, a 45-minute drive from historic Loreto town, sits amidst towering mountains, ancient volcano cones, steep-sided valleys, and great boulders once tossed about by the whims of the earth. The jagged profile of the Sierra La Gigante Mountains, carved throughout time by wind, rain, and sun, is bright on the horizon with massive outcroppings and strange formations, just daring one to explore its hidden crevices, caves, waterfalls, and sharp fields of oddly-shaped cactus, while high in the sky hovering hawks on the hunt glide easily among the thermals in search of a lazy lizard. Late in the afternoon the mountains cast long shadows across the sparkling Bay of Loreto National Marine Park and the volcanic islands scattered helter-skelter throughout it. The incredible duo of mountains and sea, layered with history and far removed from the trendy tourist trail, provide an eye-popping experience, making one feel as inconsequential as a bug on a windshield.

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he 181-room Villa Del Palmar resort has it right. Deep pockets allowed the resort designers to create spacious upscale rooms with sea views, balconies, washers, dryers, full kitchens, and paramount furnishings. Service, as well, is a lofty priority at Palmar which relies on well-trained eager workers from Ensenada Blanca, a nearby fishing village of 300 souls with little previous experience of luxury. The kitchen, modern and hospital clean, is the realm of Executive Chef Roberto Cardazzo who holds impressive credentials from Europe and North America, and who, along with personable Food and Beverage Director Oscar Torres, has created inspired dining in three restaurants with free-style, artistic presentations that Picasso would love. The Chocolate Clams are a local delicacy along with a large variety of fresh fish including all the Mexican touches found in Mexico City’s finer rooms. A necessary safety catch is the massive state-of-the-art water purifier, a huge plus for the kitchen staff. The folks at Villa del Palmar, following an intensive research of Baja spas including Los Cabos’ where spas seem to be popping up on every corner, designed the Sabila Spa and Wellness Center to be the royalty of Baja spas. Sabila is a palace-like 39,000-square-foot, three-level beauty with a hefty fitness center, floor to ceiling windows with views forever, and a list of 75 treatments, many featuring the soothing aloe vera from which the spa takes its name.

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pened in March 2011, the property’s specific personality is ideal for those searching for a destination far from nerve-shattering traffic clutter and the pressure of everyday challenges. Five swimming pools will keep one passively waterlogged, but for the more active, a memorable adventure beckons from the Sea of Cortez.

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he 800-square-mile Loreto National Marine Park, bordered by the Gigante Mountain Range, is home to five protected islands, 100 miles of coastline, 300 sunny days a year, and an underwater visibility range of 30 to 130 feet depending upon the time of year. The remarkable sea teems with 350 species of fish, and tales of crusty sailors, explorers, and others in search of an incredible adventure abound. The great writer John Steinbeck spent six weeks sailing the length of this sea in a sardine boat, detailing his escapade with the celebrated, Log from the Sea of Cortez. Tagged “the world’s aquarium” by explorer and scientist Jacques Cousteau, the sea is ranked eighth in the world for stand-up paddle boarding, and at the resort location guests will enjoy superior diving and snorkeling amongst five protected islands, perfect for both beginning and advanced divers and snorkelers. A half-mile offshore 30-feet below the surface lies a World War II Mine Sweeper, while at Puertecitos one can swim with schools of barracudas, golden jacks, and sea bass. The sheltered Honeymoon site is ideal for beginners with huge rock formations home to starfish and an endless color parade of fish. ack on land, Loreto, which was the first established community of the colonial period and the busy capital of the peninsula from 1697 to 1777, is now a gentle, laid-back town enjoyed by a few hundred United States and Canadian snowbirds. In the heart of town near a leafy pedestrian walkway with a few handicraft shops, restaurants, and hotels, is the first Baja Spanish Jesuit mission, Mision Nuestra Senora de Loreto. Carved high above the massive entrance is the inscription in Spanish, “Head and mother of the missions of lower and upper California,” and up toward the top of the mission entrance, carved in stone, 25 Oct 1697. Along the sea at the far end of town, the malecon stretches along the shore where an occasional cruise ship, such as the Azamara, pops in for the day. If in need of a surge of vigor, stop by Domingo’s, one of the oldest family owned restaurants in Loreto. Helpful choices are garlic shrimp, chocolate clams, grilled sea bass, and an order of tasty guacamole.

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or history buffs, a glimpse at 18th century Mexico lies ahead at the San Javier Mission via a half-day trip to the backcountry. The second oldest mission in Baja, established in 1699, San Javier boasts beautifully preserved carillon bells dated 1761 and 1803. Whether playing a set of tennis, hot on a hiking trail or just lounging near the pool, when evening arrives the mood slowly changes as the sweep of nature closes in embracing the senses with an untainted sky ablaze with a million brilliant stars, another Baja bonus.

When you go...

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Villa del Palmar at The Islands of Loreto; www.villadelpalmarloreto.com; Alaska air offers direct flights from Los Angeles; www.alaskaair.com

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Interview with...

Samantha Brown

Labeled as “ the girl with the best job in the world” Samantha Brown has been the inspiring people of all ages for years to get out there and travel. She has hosted several Travel Channel series’ for the past 13 years including Girl Meets Hawaii, Great Vacation Homes, Great Hotels, Passport to Europe, Passport to Latin America, Great Weekends, Green Getaways, and Samantha Brown’s Asia. Even as a new mom, she is ready to once again take on the travel world by returning to the Travel Channel in a new series launching later this year. 82

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LATM: DID YOU EVER THINK AS A YOUNG GIRL GROWING UP IN NEW HAMPSHIRE THAT YOUR LIFE AND CAREER WOULD TURN OUT THE WAY IT DID?

SB: Growing up in New Hampshire I thought travel was for the privileged; it has everything to do with confidence. I was pursuing acting and came to New York City and got the job as a host. I didn’t even know what a host was at that point. It is by far the best job in the world. I still can’t even grasp what I have been able to experience around the world. It’s literally something I thank my lucky stars for every single day. LATM: DID YOU GROW UP WITH THE TRAVEL BUG?

SB: No, not really. I grew up thinking travel was for people with money. Growing up in New England my family and I frequented places close by including Maine, Montreal, Cape Cod, and Pennsylvania. We all piled in the car and ate sandwiches from a cooler along the way, life was simple. The road trips we took along with many Sunday drives brought such a sense of discovery. LATM: WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST BIG BREAK?

SB: I auditioned for Great Vacation Homes, and 30 shows were picked up. I remember when we started I had no idea how to host or how to give a home tour. LATM: HOW DID IT ALL START?

SB: The first episode I was so nervous that my head hurt but then I just started having fun with the family. That was the whole basis of the show vs. lifestyles of the rich and famous, just having fun and getting a sense of what it was like. When it finished they wanted to do something the viewers could participate with and from there Great Hotels was born. LATM: WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST TRIP ABROAD?

SB: Before the show I traveled to London and Italy. For the show I traveled to Florence and Rome. LATM: ARE THERE ANY PLACES IN THE WORLD THAT YOU HAVEN’T BEEN THAT YOU ARE DYING TO GO TO?

SB: Africa or India, I’ve never set foot there, believe it or not. LATM: WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR WORST TRAVEL EXPERIENCE?

SB: I was the loneliest in Naples, Italy. I thought I had street cred living in New York for 20 years. But this was not ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’, the people were tough. I was even pushed by one of the locals on the street. One day I went into a wine shop to get a good bottle of wine and the people were so resistant and would not help me. I went back day after day and finally the guy in the store recognized me and gave me some chocolate and a wine tasting but when I wasn’t familiar to them they didn’t want anything to do with me. I like to go back to the same places and get to know the people. I felt like a million bucks when I was finally accepted. The same thing happened at a local café. I went to the same café for an espresso every day and the place would be so crowded with men and they just wouldn’t help me. I knew the barista saw me but he wouldn’t help me either. The people from Naples they love cameras and when we went back to the café with a camera they became the nicest people. It is a great city though, looking back its a funny kind of real experience that I had to work for.

LATM: CAN YOU SHARE ANY INFO ON YOUR NEXT ENDEAVOR WITH THE TRAVEL CHANNEL? WHEN?

SB: Everything is still under the radar. I’m going in a new direction and a new path. I can’t share yet but I can tell you it will be debuting this year. LATM: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HOTEL IN LOS ANGELES?

SB: Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica- you just want your house to look like Shutters. They always have my favorite Vermentino wine and butterscotch pudding so they really know how to win a girl over. Plus they have a great staff and the perfect location. Also, Petit Ermitage in West Hollywood. I love that the rooftop bar has a really great local scene. What I love about hotels is the feeling and how it can change you and transport you, where you start tapping into another part of your personality. I also love The Library Hotel in New York. It’s a boutique hotel based on the Dewey decimal system where each floor is a subcategory. Every room comes with a shelf full of books. There’s a dinosaur room which is great but my favorite is the biography room. The hotel is comfortable and has a poetry atrium with a fantastic view of the city. LATM: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN LOS ANGELES OR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA?

SB: Actually In-and-Out. I also love the Bazaar in LA- I would follow José Andrés to the end of the Earth, I love his restaurants. 83


A cornucopia of organic architecture in celebration of one of nature’s most alluring settings

1 800 223 1108

P O Box 4000, Soufriere, St. Lucia www.jademountain.com • jademountain@ ansechastanet.com

Tranquility • Romance • Adventure

1 800 223 1108

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P O Box 7000, Soufriere, St. Lucia www.ansechastanet.com • ansechastanet@ ansechastanet.com


Visit Florida

Sprinkled in the waters just south of Miami and curving southwest are the Florida Keys – more than 1,700 islands, in fact. Though mostly unpopulated, the islands are ripe for exploration and discovery, and there are plenty of ways to do just that.

Unlocking the Florida Keys By Susan B. Barnes

Rent a convertible, put the top down and make your way to the start of the Overseas Highway in Key Largo – a 127.5-mile road that runs south all the way to Key West, the southernmost point in the continental U.S. The highway runs alongside the now-defunct Overseas Railroad, built by oilman and railroad tycoon Henry Flagler in the early-1900s, completed in 1912. During the drive, you’ll cross 42 bridges that connect 43 of the cays, or islands. Of those bridges, Seven Mile Bridge, which connects Marathon to the Lower Keys, is the longest bridge on the Overseas Highway.

In Key Largo, be sure to spend some time at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Here you can snorkel, SCUBA, go power-boating, kayak… pretty much any water activity you desire! The underwater wildlife at Pennekamp is teeming, with plenty of fish to spot, ducking in and out of the coral reefs. It’s safe to say that snorkeling or diving at this park rivals anyplace in the Caribbean, even Hawaii.

Fishermen and fisherwomen will find their slice of heaven on Islamorada, just south of Key Largo – “the sport fishing capital of the world.” That reputation is well-earned, as you may just catch a sailfish in the morning. In the afternoon venture into the backcountry to cast for bonefish, tarpon, snook and redfish which tend to lurk in the shallow waters.

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Next up, Marathon lies in the middle of the Florida Keys, and is a terrific spot for families to settle in for a leisurely vacation. At Hawks Cay Resort, Spa & Marina, kids and kids at heart can take part in the dolphin encounter program, during which they’ll learn about the resident dolphins, feed them, and even have the chance to get in the water with them. Just down the road, the Turtle Hospital is open for visitors to witness the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles, and perhaps even participate in a release! Between Marathon and Big Pine Key lies Pigeon Key, a must-stop for history buffs. This small, five-acre island served as home base for Flagler’s railroad workers, and several of the buildings stand today, housing artifacts from a bygone era. For a real treat, rent the guesthouse and essentially have the island to yourself! “Escape the crowds and worries of the everyday world with a stop in Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys.”

“The Turtle Hospital is open for visitors to witness the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles, and perhaps even participate in a release!”

Escape the crowds and worries of the everyday world with a stop in Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys. Go fishing, or snorkel or dive. Cruise on your bike looking for the elusive Key Deer, or just sit back on a beach – rare in the Keys – and watch the sun move across the sky. 86

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Throughout the Keys, and throughout the year, plenty of festivals and events are held that appeal to nearly every traveler. Be sure to take a look at the calendar of events on each of the Keys to best plan your trip, so that you can unlock all that the Florida Keys have to offer.

Final destination – Key West, known for its crazy party scene on Duval Street, nightly sunset celebrations in Mallory Square and all around fun times. It may come as a surprise that Key West was once the most populated city in Florida, and that energy is alive and well today. Be sure and visit Ernest Hemingway’s home, and for a real adventure, take a day trip to snorkel to Dry Tortugas National Park. Don’t forget a visit to historic Fort Jefferson, wherein Dr. Samuel Mudd was imprisoned after President Lincoln’s assassination. It’s no surprise that nearly every restaurant throughout the Florida Keys boasts having the best Key Lime Pie around. Make it your personal mission to taste test along your way south, and choose your favorite! When it comes to staying in the Keys, there are plenty of options, from camping to bed and breakfasts to resorts. A few of the most luxurious accommodations include Cheeca Lodge & Spa in Islamorada and Hawks Cay Resort, Spa & Marina in Marathon. Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, between Marathon and Key West, is accessible only by motor yacht or sea plane, and Sunset Key Guest Cottages, a Westin Resort, just off of Key West, is also accessible only by boat – both truly unique destinations.

When you go: Major airlines fly directly into Miami, and it’s a quick drive to Key Largo. The drive south along the Overseas Highway can take some time, so the best thing to do is relax and savor all the flavors of the Florida Keys. Or, if you’d rather, fly directly into Key West, serviced by Delta, US Airways and American Eagle Airlines. For more on the Florida Keys, please visit fla-keys.com. 87


Visit Florida

O rlando G o es

Luxe

Think Orlando,

and immediate images that pop into mind probably include cartoon characters, castles, wizards, thrilling rides, and lots and lots of people. What may not come to mind, though, is the luxe side of the city, of which there is plenty to experience, even if the majority of your time is spent visiting the ever popular theme parks.

By Susan B. Barnes

Blue Martini

Photo Courtesy of Visit Orlando

Butlers & Brews

The most coveted dining experience may just be at Victoria & Albert’s, located within Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The restaurant has held the AAA Five Diamond Award since 2001 – and is the only five-diamond restaurant in Orlando – for its exquisite culinary delights and unsurpassed service. With a seating capacity of 65 in the main room and 10 seats available at the Chef ’s Table in the kitchen, dining at Victoria & Albert’s is an unforgettable and intimate experience. Upon calling to make reservations, guests go through a pre-screen for any food allergies, dislikes or preferences. Menus are then customized to please each individual guest; as many as 15 individualized menus may be prepared for any one seating.

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At dinner, five teams of two servers provide “butler-style” service, guiding guests through the entire dining experience. Personalized menus with guests’ names and date at the top are found at each place setting and serve as a memento of the evening. There are plenty of other fantastic dining options in Orlando, both around and away from the parks. In Downtown Disney, Wolfgang Puck offers casual dining at his Grand Café, while Emeril Lagasse serves up his classic New Orleans cuisine at Emeril’s Orlando in Universal CityWalk and Emeril’s Tchoup Chop within the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. Previous James Beard Foundation Award winner of “Best Chef in the Northeast” Melissa Kelly maintains her reputation for farm-fresh produce and organic gardening at her contemporary Italian restaurant Primo, found within the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes. In Winter Park, just north of downtown Orlando, James Beard nominated Executive Chef Brandon McGlamery serves his finest dishes at Luma on Park, and James Beard nominated chef and owners Julie and James Petrakis do the same at The Ravenous Pig, in the tradition of “gastropubs.” Also from the Petrakis’ is Cask & Larder, a “southern public house” with brewed-on-site beers, homecured meats, hand-canned fruits and housepickled veggies. Delish!

Sleep like a Star

Five-star hotels in the playful city include The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes; Waldorf Astoria Orlando; Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando; Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort; and the Grand Bohemian Hotel in downtown Orlando. As far as boutique hotels, check into the EO Inn & Spa in downtown Orlando, or the new Alfond Inn in Winter Park. Opening this August is the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. The 444-room boutique hotel – boutique by Disney standards, anyway – is within a prestigious, gated residential community. Homes within Golden Oak begin at $1.8 million. Developed in full partnership with Disney, the Four Seasons will offer Disney character breakfasts, and feature a five-acre pool area and golf course designed by Tom Fazio. Overnight rates start at $545, and the 3,300-square-foot Royal Suite starts at $12,000 a night. Reservations are being accepted for stays beginning Aug. 3.

Downtown Disney

Photo Courtesy of Visit Orlando

Orlando is easily accessible via most airlines, direct from L.A. For more on Orlando, please visit visitorlando.com

Victoria and Alberts

Photo Courtesy of Visit Orlando

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Barcelona!

Barthelona!

By Adriana Gomez


After

a recent trip to the artistic city of Barcelona, or should I say Barthelona, the Spaniards have me lisping everything I say and wishing I was still there sipping on some fine rioja. Whether this is your first trip to Spain or one of many visiting the second largest city, Barcelona is a must. Its geographical location once made it an important city for commerce and today is one of the largest touristic hubs for cruise ships. Visiting Barcelona via cruise ship could be looked at as a crime because to spend only a few minuscule hours here will leave you simply crying for more! Come indulge in the mystical enchantment of Barcelona! Follow our footsteps taken throughout this city to learn how to truly live life like a Spaniard! Although Barcelona is situated right on the coast, one does not come here for the beaches; the main attractions here are the cuisine, art, people and culture. Being so close to the sea there are a plethora of opportunities to enjoy world class dining; with fresh seafood delivered daily to numerous fine dining establishments, Barcelona will meet all of your culinary desires. When you are vacationing in the area it is absolutely required that you enjoy the breathtaking Mediterranean weather. Sit outdoors; let the wind blow through your hair and the sun kiss your skin, truly let yourself be free. We did just that, sat outside and indulged in some fine local Spanish fare. The service and food was as expected at a five star dining restaurant. After one too many bites of paella we headed back downtown taking a stroll down the central, pedestrianized boulevard of La Ramblas. Lined with trees and full of street vendors, stores and markets one could spend all day here. For the true local experience, spend some time talking to the people, taste some local treats, listen and feel the music, smell the flowers; this is Barcelona at its best. This city has always had a taste for the sublime and the surreal—inspiring such artists as Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, and architect Antoni Gaudí, whose work still endows the area with an enchantment straight out of what seems like a mystical fairytale. If you have the chance make sure to visit the northern part of city where you will find many of famous architect Antoni Gaudí homes, whose facades he designed. Take a tour to view and study Gaudi’s works in Barcelona, it is an expedient way to gain some knowledge and see the highlights in a short amount of time. If you are in the mood for top-notch shopping Avinguda Diagonal or The Portal de l’Àngel, just off Placa de Catalunya, is lined with an endless array of shops selling the most exclusive brands of clothing and accessories. They say to “save the best for last” so we dedicated our entire third day to visiting la Sagrada Familía basicilia and Park Güell. La Sagrada Familía was Gaudí’s masterpiece – 132 years in the making and still unfinished! Hit the streets early to beat the crowds at La Sagrada Família because most end up wasting away the day just waiting to get in. This is the type of building whose sheer size will impress you as it stands clear surpassing all the other buildings it is surrounded by. The buildings façade is famous for its stonework that is carved with representations of the Nativity on one side and the Passion on the other. It is a story being told and will unfold before your eyes! We spent the later morning at Park Güell a garden complex with architectural elements situated on the hill of El Carmel in the Gràcia district of Barcelona also designed by Gaudi. Don’t leave without taking a rest on the world’s longest bench. Its ergonomic design truly helps your back and is extremely comfortable!

If

you are only in the city for a few hours as part of a cruise ship stop...good luck being able to experience and view all that Barcelona has to offer. Not even my three days were enough. We truly felt that our short but action packed stay was perfect as it was. To drink, eat and be merry! That is what Spaniards do best!

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Star Clippers Pu ts th e Wi n d i n Yo u r S a i l s By Susan B. Barnes She sits alone just out of reach, glittering under the moonlight, mysterious and intriguing. To approach her, you must be escorted and presented – there’s no surprising her. When I first saw Star Clippers’ Star Flyer floating in the harbor, I couldn’t wait to board and start exploring her gleaming wooden decks.

Hosting just 170 guests max per sailing – with 72 staff to dote upon the guests’ every

whim – sailing aboard a tall ship is a casual intimate experience that can’t be found on the larger cruise ships navigating the world’s oceans. As guests, we were invited to treat it as if it was our own private sailing ship, and with every inch accessible to us. Don’t think I didn’t take my turn at the helm!

One of the highlights of sailing on a smaller ship is the chance to really get to

know your fellow passengers, and even the crew. Meals are very casual – as is the dress – with one seating at dinner and unassigned seating. Dining aboard the Star Flyer is exquisite. Breakfasts and lunches are served buffet-style, and dinner is an elegantly-presented feast for the senses. All menus are created by a Michelinstar chef, and offer meat, fish and vegetarian options. A sommelier can help with wine selections, and cocktails are always flowing at the bar.

Daily excursions are just about the only chance to work off the calories from the day before; if you choose something a bit more active. When it comes to excursions, another benefit of sailing on a tall ship is that group sizes are quite small – typically a maximum of 30 instead of, say, 200, as found on larger cruise line excursions. Sign up is on a first come, first served basis, and is done once onboard instead of ahead of time. The fun-loving crew filled the sailing days with activities, from exercise classes to knot tying classes to opportunities to climb up into the crow’s nest. Instead of lavish after-dinner shows, nighttime entertainment onboard is a bit more casual, from bringing on local bands for a performance, to a guest and crew talent show.

When to Go:

In 2014, Star Clippers’ three tall ships the Royal Clipper, Star Clipper and Star Flyer – are sailing the Caribbean, Eastern and Western Mediterranean, Northern Africa, the Panama Canal and ocean crossings.

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LA Travel’s Chef Spotlight By Hannah Skye

Ways & Means Orange

Hannah Skye Photography

JUSTIN ODEGARD AND BENJAMIN WALLENBECK– EXECUTIVE CHEFS Chefs de Cuisine Justin Odegard and Benjamin Wallenbeck are relatively new to the scene at Ways & Means Oyster House in Orange, but not to the world of cooking. Both have impressive resumes with experience in some of Southern California’s premiere dining establishments. Together, they are maintaining and perfecting the delicious, traditional, and impressive menu of (mostly) seafood inspired cuisine served at Ways & Means, including seared halibut with beautifully rich braised oxtail, impeccably roasted duck breast topped with a sunny-side up quail egg, and their signature oysters on a half-shell. Ways & Means is exactly the vibe Old Towne Orange needed – traditional, and passionate while providing an upscale, yet casual, atmosphere that every Orange local would be proud to dine in.

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The Wallace

Chef Spotlight

Culver City

Michael Teich – EXECUTIVE CHEF Sometimes what we want to do in life and what we’re meant to do don’t always agree at first. Chef Michael Teich started off his career path as a baseball player with no intentions on becoming a chef. He was bitten (quite severely) by the cooking bug after a few cookbooks landed in his hands and the rest is history. Chef Teich studied culinary arts at the Art Institute in Santa Monica and has an impressive list of culinary experiences under his whites, including his time as Executive Chef at the Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey and Corporate Executive Chef for SBE Hospitality. Now he along with his incredibly talented wife, Carol (a culinary degree holder, Sommelier, and hospitality veteran in her own right), and her brother Marcello, are proud co-owners of The Wallace in Culver City. A “True California Restaurant,”

The Wallace serves impeccably crafted cuisine using locally grown, seasonal ingredients with flavors so bold and vibrant I really can’t put them into words. Maybe Chef Teich can say it better: “My philosophy is local and sustainable great food. Letting the ingredients speak, not making it about myself or technique but about the farmer, rancher, fisherman and forager I get the ingredients from.” As it is not enough these days just to serve locally grown ingredients featuring a seasonal menu in order to stand out, The Wallace takes it a step further. Each ingredient listed on the menu brought itself to the forefront while being balanced and knowing its place at the same time. Although we had many favorites, the jarred section of the menu was so much fun and absolutely delicious. The caramelized onion and blue cheese dip is delightfully decadent (the flavors pop without being overpowering) while the warm braised white beans jar is absolutely to die for. We inhaled the grilled cauliflower and the squid ink pasta silenced the crew. We could have stayed all night and honestly can’t wait to go back for more!

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Chef Spotlight

Q

Los Angeles

HIROYUKI NARUKE EXECUTIVE CHEF A true master of sushi and Japanese cuisine, Edo-style sushi Chef Hiro takes dedication to a completely new level. From humble beginnings in a small, but busy sushi restaurant in Tokyo, Chef Hiro earned his stripes by working unbelievable hours with very little time off. What he learned there would prove invaluable as he continued on his culinary journey and became the head sushi chef at a restaurant in Honolulu: “This was an incredible three years, and had three great influences on me. First, it was my first real opportunity to work with, experiment with, and incorporate local fish into the cuisine. It was exciting and satisfying to use different fish, but serve them in a very traditional style. The end product is genuine and traditional. This is my philosophy.

Second, I was exposed to different cuisines and their presentation of food, which of course is an education each meal. And third, it created a passion in me to introduce traditional sushi to the American palate. It was extremely fufilling for me to introduce my sushi not just to sushi aficianados, but also to people trying it for the first time. I want everyone to see and taste my passion. This, of course, eventually drove me to opening Q in Los Angeles and drives me every time someone opens the door and sits down.” A deeply insightful man, Chef Hiro shared with us the driving force behind his passion for sushi and why he was inspired to open Q, a modern, upscale Edo-style sushi dining establishment: “… the thing I love most is introducing my sushi to Los Angeles. I love when a sushi expert appreciates my work, but love it just as much when a person tries it for the first time and falls in love with a dish they have never had before. It is incredibly satisfying to bring a little of my culture here.”

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Mercado

Chef Spotlight

Los Angeles

JOSE ACEVEDO EXECUTIVE CHEF Chef Jose Acevedo is co-owner and executive chef of Mercado in Los Angeles. The second installment (original Mercado is in Santa Monica) created by Chef Acevedo and co-owner and longtime friend, Jesse Gomez, Mercado Los Angeles creates a drinking and dining experience that seamlessly blends traditional Mexican cuisine with a fresh, modern aesthetic. Originally from Guana juato, Mexico, Chef Acevedo takes incredible pride in the food he creates for his customers and truly cares about how satisfied they are when they leave. He takes care to stay true to the traditions of his native cuisine while infusing an upscale feel that any LA or OC foodie would relish in. Everything we tried from Mercado was delicious, but the flan took us to another world! From its smooth, rich custard to the liqueur-laden sauce we drizzled on top, we likened it to a flan combined with crème brulee. It truly is to die for!

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KRUPS, one of the leaders in coffee, espresso and kitchen appliances, kicked off the KRUPS Best Brew Awards 2014, for the fourth year in a row this past February, to discover the best coffee shops across the nation, uncovering favorite local brews from New York to Los Angeles.

Voters from Across the Nation Decide on the Best Coffee Shops in America Atlanta, GA – Octane Coffee: This spacious, modern shop feels like a lively college study hall, serving expertly-prepared espresso drinks, french-press coffee and V60 pourover coffee, food, snacks, craft beers, wines, and specialty cocktails. With Counter Culture Coffee responsible for the growth and care of Octane’s coffee beans, they strive for perfection that can easily be tasted (1009-B Marietta Street)

Boston, MA – Diesel Coffee: Owned by former employees of Toscanini’s Ice Cream; presumably, they drank a lot of joe and did a lot of thinking at their old job, because the high-ceilinged, chrome-edged space became an instant destination for Somerville’s young and cool. Java is the obvious draw, which comes in the form of lattes, cappuccinos and café au lait, but there’s also a grab bag of creative wraps, sandwiches and pastries (257 Elm Street)

Chicago, IL – Metropolis Coffee Co.: The third win for the Windy City shop, the Metropolis Coffee Co. aesthetic is rooted in the belief that great coffee comes from a line of respect, beginning with the farmers and their respect for their land. Founded by a father and son team, the small batch artisan roasters have been serving the area since 2003 (1039 West Granville Avenue)

Dallas, TX – White Rock Coffee: Taking home the title for Dallas three years in a row, White Rock Coffee is a locally-owned coffee shop specializing in hand-crafted, small batch, micro-roast coffee, freshly roasted on the premises (10105 E Northwest Hwy)

Miami, FL – Eternity Coffee Roasters: The second win for this Miami shop, Eternity Coffee Roasters is committed to sourcing through blind tastings the highest scoring single origin coffees from around the globe and artisanally roasting in small batches to uncover the special characteristics of each bean (117 SE 2nd Avenue)

New York, NY – Stumptown Coffee Roasters: Although Stumptown is Portland-based, the coffee shop and roaster has taken the prize in New York City. Stumptown has been recognized as having “revolutionized the coffee business” in Portland, and founder Duane Sorenson and Stumptown have been credited with being part of the “Third Wave” of the coffee movement (18 West 29th Street)

Portland, OR – Water Avenue Coffee Company: By bringing together great coffees and great people, Water Avenue Coffee stands out for its incredible products and unsurpassed customer service, even in a city where great coffee is often just around the corner (1028 SE Water Avenue)

De Café Baristas was declared the KRUPS Best Brew Award 2014 Winner for Los Angeles! The other nominees in Los Angeles included:

House Roots Coffee 28452 Constellation Road, Valencia, CA 91355

Menotti’s Coffee Shop 56 Windward Ave, Venice, CA 90291

Tierra Mia

San Francisco, CA – Jane: Chef Amanda Michael opened Jane (named after her daughter) in hopes of creating a 1202 N. Alvarado “third space” in the neighborhood offering well crafted coffee, excellent housemade pastries, organic salads and soups, and tasty sandwiches (2123 Fillmore Street)

Seattle, WA – Cherry Street Coffee House: In a city known for exceptional coffee, Cherry Street sets itself apart by cultivating relationships and deep connections with the community to bring great energy into the coffeehouse (103 Cherry Street)

Washington, D.C. – Ebenezers Coffeehouse: Ebenezers serves coffee with a cause on Capitol Hill.

They are owned and operated by National Community Church and all profits go toward community outreach projects (201 F St NE)

Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026

True & Brave Coffee Roasters 3245 Casitas Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90039


FIG at 7th, Downtown LA’s premier shopping and dining destination

T here’s

a new kid on the shopping block and that is FIGat7th, the new home to chic retailers and staples including Sports Chalet and Target along with fashion powerhouses ZARA and H & M both opening in the next few months along with Bath & Body Works, H&M, L’Occitane, MAC Cosmetics, Sunglass Hut, Victoria’s Secret, Victoria’s Secret PINK, and ZARA. TASTE, a culinary collection of chef-driven, accessible, quickservice casual eateries anchors the signature dining experience of this recently added landmark retail and dining mecca in Downtown Los Angeles. FIGat7th offers a unique, oasis-like shopping and dining environment, with massive appeal for everyone, from tourists to Angelenos to downtown residents, to the hundreds of thousands of professionals who are getting down to business, to students who are looking to grab a bite, meet friends, and do a little shopping. The downtown community can eat, shop, play, and park here before going to cheer on their favorite team at the Staples Center or dance the night away at the Nokia Center or LA Live. FIGat7th Restaurants include: California Pizza Kitchen, City Tavern, the Flying Pig Café, George’s Greek Grill, Indus by Saffron, Juicy Lucy, Loteria Grille, The Melt, Mendocino Farms, Morton’s Steakhouse,New Moon Café, Oleego by Park BBQ’s, Pazzo Gelato, The Pizza Studio, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Starbucks, Torta Company, and Twist & Grill. FIGat7th Shopping & Amenities include: City Target, Gold’s Gym, LensCrafters, Sport Chalet, and Yolanda Aguilar Beauty Institute & Spa.

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LOOK GOOD, FEEL GOOD By Kathryn Lejeune Sometimes our travels take us unexpected places. In these cases, a trip to Cambodia turned into an opportunity for savvy entrepreneurs to give back to local communities while giving the rest of us a chance to liven up our wardrobes. Proof that beautiful, luxury items don’t have to come at the cost of unfair practices.

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2. BASIK 855 -

3. GLOBAL GOODS PARTNERS -

4. TONLE -

Old Meets New Ikat may be all the rage now, but this ancient method of weaving dates back millennia. A close eye on modern design takes traditional to trendy with their eye-catching clutches, totes, wallets, and more. Basik 855’s products are all designed and hand-woven by the local community in Takeo Province, renowned for their weaving skills passed through generations. www.basik855.com

From Vulnerable to Victorious Women in developing countries face a multitude of economic, social, and political challenges. Global Goods Partners aims to change that by connecting skilled women artisans around the world with a market for their handmade products. By empowering artisans to determine their own futures and encouraging responsible environmental stewardship, communities see an instant positive impact. It’s a win-win. www.globalgoodspartners.com

Taste without Waste Nothing is wasted at Tonlé, not materials and certainly not the talents of the small team of sewers. Each month, their design team scours for recycled materials and remnant fabric to fight the waste of large scale manufacturers while also providing creative and unique clothing. Anything not recycled is sourced from local artisans, such as handmade beads. Recently undergoing a rebranding, Tonlé will soon be available in stores worldwide and online. www.tonledesign.com

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1. TEMPER Make Love Not War Who knew recycled bullet cases and bombshells could make for stunning minimalist jewelry? Crafted in a fair trade workshop in Cambodia, all TEMPER artisans receive wages that reflect their incredible work, in addition to education stipends and benefits. Hats off to this Phnom Penh-Seattle duo for bringing us everyday luxury that reflects simplicity, beauty, and culture. www.temperbrand.com

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GLOBETROTTING GLAM

SwiMSuiT EssENTiaLS

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BY MIKELA REDD

It is our pleasure to dive into the most essential swimsuits for you ladies this season. Whether you plan on taking a dip at a five star resort abroad with your significant other, a beach fun day with the family, looking to dance the day away at a poolside party in Vegas or at one of the urban rooftop summer soiree’s, we have you covered. Here are some fabulous options for every style, shape and size. From modern and sexy, retro full coverage, high-waisted bottoms to string bikinis; we have options that will flatter everyone. The best bathing suits are either comfortable and feel like silk against your skin or are not always practical but are simply impossible to forget. If you follow the latest cutting edge trends, prefer modern chic, earthy glamour, sporty or simple, these are the essentials.

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1 MODERN TWO PIECE SUITS

Pily Q Mix Up Bandeau Bralette Top ($76) and Banded LowRise Bottoms ($68)

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2 SPORTY SWIM SUIT

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SELECTIONS Clover Canyon Huntington Gardens Front Zip Top ($95) & Swim Bottom ($95)

3 LUXURIOUS TWO PIECE

SUITS Herve Leger Basic Halter Bandage Two-Piece Swimsuit in Green Opal ($650) escape look.

4 STRAPLESS TWO PIECE

GRAPHIC TREND BIKINIS Beach Riot Freemont Underwire Swim Top ($107) and Monte Carlo Laser-Cut Bottom ($95)

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5 ONE PIECE GRAPHIC PRINTS THAT FLATTER

Nanette Lepore Saint Etienne Seductress One-Piece Swimsuit ($144.00)

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6 BLACK & WHITE ON-TREND Red Carter Contrast-Trim Underwire One Piece Swimsuit ($179.00)

7 SEXY ONE-PIECE SUITS

OYE Swimwear Katherine Plunge V-Neck One-Piece Swimsuit ($350.00)

8 8 CHIC BLACK & WHITE FULL COVERAGE

Cover Long Sleeve HoundstoothPrint One Piece ($190.00)

9 FLIRTY BEACH BUNNY

Milly Capella Maxime Printed Underwire Top ($105) & St. Lucia Printed Bikini Bottom ($90)

10 TOUCHES OF RADIANT

ORCHID (PANTONE COLOR OF THE YEAR) Nanette Lepore Fleur De La Mere Lover One Piece Swimsuit ($164)

What are you waiting for? Take the plunge this season and show your dramatic or effortless style by putting your best beach body forward in one of this season’s most playful options. 103


Must Haves to Simplify Your Beauty

Routine on the Go!

Love to travel, but hate to pack? We couldn’t agree more. Luckily, beauty brands have recognized the need to save space while on the go, and have launched a bevy of lightweight, multi-tasking must-haves (no liquids involved!) for spill-proof, stress-free travel. From multipurpose hair tools to make up remover and skin care, choosing products that serve many purposes and take up as little space as possible is the trick to saving room for what you’ll buy while you’re off trotting the globe. Pack Multi-Purpose Hair Tools: If there’s one beauty item that takes up too much suitcase space- its hair tools. The Rowenta Beauty Versa Style Iron is a 5-in-1 master tool that can achieve the look of five salon tools: a flat iron, roller set, and three curling irons for versatility at your fingertips. This 1” ceramic plated tool is tiny enough to slip anywhere, and comes with a heat protectant pouch for styling on the go. ($159.99, Ulta.com)

Pack Multi-Purpose Foundations: jane iredale PurePressed Base is a 4-in-1 mineral foundation that acts as a foundation, powder, concealer, and sunscreen all in one. Designed to look like your skin only better, it applies evenly and easily for long-lasting, highly pigmented coverage with light diffusing properties. Provides broad spectrum SPF 20 that’s water resistant for up to 40 minutes while protecting the skin and minimizing pores and fine lines. ($52, shop.janeiredale.com)

Replace your cleanser and exfoliator with this: A powder based exfoliator that eliminates the TSA 3 oz liquid rule for good! The Amarte DailyExfolipowder is dual purpose, powder based cleanser and exfoliator that removes dry dull skin to reveal a smooth radiant complexion. Without a liquid base, pack it in your carry on and eliminate the need to bring more than one skin care product. ($35, AmarteSkinCare.com) 104

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No need to pack bulky makeup remover bottles: jane iredale Dot the i, is a “Q-tip” style make up remover in a small pouch that fits perfectly in a purse. The swabs contain makeup remover within the stick that leave absolutely no residue. To use, snap off the marked edge and allow the makeup remover to soak up the swab for quick on the go convenience in just one snap. ($11, shop.janeiredale. com)

Bring a 3-in-1 makeup brush: jane iredale Snappy Brush Wand is a unique, new wand with three interchangeable magnetic brush heads to make creating a beautiful eye easier than ever. Thejane iredale Crease Brush, Smudge Brush and Eye Liner Brush will build any look from natural to dramatic. Simply snap on the brush head you wish to use, and switch as needed. Slides easily into evening bags for touch-ups on-the-go. ($30, shop.janeiredale.com)


“Live for fashion. Set the trend.” Born in South Vietnam,

Thai Nguyen and his family migrated to America in 1993. A graduate of FIDM he went on to be one of the youngest associate designers for BCBG Max Azria. You may recognize him from Bravo’s “Launch My Line” or RuPauls Drag Race Season 2. Currently Thai is working with the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Adrienne Maloof and we can’t wait to see what comes out of that collaboration! Why we love him? His designs are inspired by his Vietnamese heritage and he brings a romantic and fresh ambiance to his globally inspired couture pieces and gowns.

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Pack Your Bags

Spring is finally here and what better way to shake off a long winter than a trip to soak up the sun! Whether you are looking to dig your toes in the sand, explore the great outdoors or simply indulge in relaxation, these resorts from Florida to Panama are offering fun in the sun packages to kick off the season. Westin Playa Bonita, Panama Watch ships from all over the world await to cross the Panama Canal from your private balcony or cozy lounge chair at Westin Playa Bonita Spend the day exploring Panama’s historic treasures or simply retreat to this beachfront escape featuring a state-of-the-art spa, six restaurants, four bars and three palm-lined infinity pools for a sophisticated spring retreat. The “Westin Indulge” package includes: -Sparkling wine & strawberries on arrival -Breakfast in Bed -Late check-out Rates start at $241/night. Offer is valid through December 31, 2014. To book visit www.westinplayabonita.com and select “Westin Indulge Package” or call 1.877.800.1690.

Marco Island Marriott, Marco Island, FL A golf getaway awaits at this Balinese-inspired resort! With Marco Island Marriott’s Golf Getaway package, guests have an active getaway complete with powder sand beaches & unbeatable Gulf Coast sunsets – a combination that makes for one magical escape.

The “Golf Getaway” package includes: -Golf for one or two including cart at the resort course -Complimentary replay (based on availability, valid on day of play only) -Breakfast for 2 daily -Complimentary bag storage and range balls -Kids play for free (some restrictions apply) -10 percent off Golf Pro Shop purchases Rates start at $349 per night; Minimum two-night stay required. Valid through December 31, 2014. Book at marcoislandmarriott. com and enter promo code GOF.

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Half Moon, A RockResort, located in Montego Bay, Jamaica is the most historic resort on the island and has been visited by countless U.S. presidents, heads of state, British Royalty and Hollywood Stars – it sure makes for good company! 2014 marks the resort’s 60th anniversary and there are a number of discounts/packages available.

The 1954: Created to celebrate the opening of the hotel in 1954 and priced at $1954 for two, it includes: -3 nights of a superior room on the Half Moon Plan -Roundtrip auto transfers from Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay -2 30-minute massage treatments -Upgrade to a Junior Suite for $195.40 for the duration. Valid April 21st – October 31st

As much of the country recovers from a cold and snowy winter season, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain is touting Scottsdale’s year-round sunshine with adrenalin and vitamin D-packed getaways. The packages showcase Arizona’s glorious outdoors, complemented by the creature comforts of Sanctuary’s elements restaurant, Sanctuary Spa, and other world-class amenities. Thrill Seekers: Perfect for the adventurer at heart, it includes: - Three nights’ accommodations - Daily breakfast - Hot air balloon ride with roundtrip transportation - Optional plane ride and lunch at Roosevelt Lake - Guided hike on Camelback Mountain - All taxes and gratuities - Rates start at $1,206 based on single occupancy and $1,371 with the plane ride and lunch

Triathlon Prep: Ideal for athletes looking to tackle the swimbike-run challenge, it includes: -Three nights’ accommodations -Three days of training in the areas of core training, swimming, biking and running with Sanctuary’s team of dedicated fitness experts, including Olympic Gold Medalist Misty Hyman. -Three spa treatments to address specific aches brought on by the days’ activities -Daily power breakfast - Includes all taxes and food, beverage and spa gratuity. Trainer gratuity is at guests’ discretion. -Rates start at $1,797 based on single occupancy For more information or to make a reservation, please visit www.sanctuaryaz.com or call (855) 402-9811.

Casa Palopó, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala Spend a week exploring the picturesque, historical cities of Antigua and Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Travelers who head to the “Land of Eternal Spring” before lent is over will get to witness the elaborate religious ceremonies Antigua is known for this time of year. The “Colorful, Cultural Guatemala” package includes: -One night at Casa Palopo Villa Antigua in Antigua, Guatemala (breakfast included) -Walking tour of Antigua, Guatemala -Six nights at Casa Palopo, Lake Atitlan -Welcome cocktails and Guatemalan bites on the main terrace -Private car transportation to and from Guatemala City -Excursion to Chichicastenango Market (only available Thursday and Sunday) -Boat tour to Lake Atitlan towns of Santiago and San Antonio Palopo Rates start at $370/night based on a double occupancy, for a minimum seven-night stay. To book email reservations@casapalopo.com or call (888) 479-6026. 111


Raj, Royals, and Ruins By Jenna Rose Robbins

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rom the top of the rock I’ve just climbed, I can see forever. Lush green treetops spread out before me some 600 feet below, blanketing the region for miles in every direction. A few feet away, a young boy balances along the foundation of an ancient palace that stretches across the top of the monolith. The view before me explains why a royal would have gone to such pains to build his residence in such an inaccessible area. Even 1500 years ago, the old saw held true: It’s all about location, location, location.

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igiriya is just one of the many notable sites that draw visitors from around the world to Sri Lanka, and it is this combination of history and panoramas that make it the most visited site in the country. My three-day journey through the Cultural Triangle ¬– the region of central Sri Lanka famed for its abundance of ruins, temples, and palaces – has introduced me to a slice of history I’d never known existed, and the grandeur and scope of some of these marvels leaves me wondering how it could be possible that these sites aren’t more well-known to the Western world.


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lthough the small island nation isn’t on the radar for most American travelers, it should be; both for the variety of its offerings and the ability to vacation like royalty. In the British-colonial town of Nuwara Eliya, I stayed at the St. Andrew’s Hotel, a former private residence during the British Raj, where I took tea on the veranda and played snooker with some blokes from Edinburgh. At Yala National Park, while other visitors were crammed into jeeps and had to vie for prime photo-taking space, I went on safari in my own vehicle, which allowed me to get closer to the elephant herds that were congregating for their annual visit. And in my journey around the Cultural Triangle, hiring a driver afforded me the luxury of taking in the countryside while being chauffeured from one breathtaking attraction to the next. For many visitors to Sri Lanka, it’s not unusual to rent a house, which often comes with its very own staff of chefs and housekeepers.

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ecause the tourism scene is still burgeoning in Sri Lanka, trendy attractions such as ziplines are still unheard of. Classic activities, such as scuba diving and hiking, however, are plentiful, with many locations still relatively unvisited, giving you the feeling you’ve discovered it yourself. In the resort town of Trincomalee, the bay has only recently reopened to visitors, meaning dive sites are far more intact and you often have the beach to yourself when sunset comes, as if you were on your own secluded isle. Outdoorsy types will find the hiking in Sri Lanka exceptional, particularly at Horton Plains National Park with its diverse wildlife, and at Adam’s Peak, where travelers start their trek at dawn in order to watch one of the most splendid sunrises on the planet.

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ven after four weeks in the country, I found I still hadn’t checked off every item on my must-do list. Now, several months after my visit, I still have dreams of petting elephants, exploring ancient Buddhist temples, and basking on sun-drenched beaches. The country keeps beckoning me back. One of these days, I plan to heed its call.

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Spa Spotlight k

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Glen Ivy Hot Springs j

Tucked behind a 12-acre paradise of palm trees, bougainvillea and oaks about an hour south of Los Angeles you’ll find Glen Ivy Hot Springs, just off the 15 freeway in Corona. It boasts 19 pools and spas and exclusive attractions including thermal mineral water baths, an underground grotto, and Glen Ivy’s famous “Club Mud,” California’s only therapeutic red clay mud bath. One of the best features of Glen Ivy Hot Springs is that booking a treatment is not necessary to enjoy all that it has to offer. Without a treatment, general admission, also known as “taking the waters”, averages $30 depending on what day you choose to come and you’re welcome to stay as long as you like. Whether you desire to lounge in the pool or mineral spa, participate in various yoga or aqua fit classes, or simply enjoy a light lunch and blended beverage at Café Solé- your possibilities are endless. Glen Ivy Hot Springs has 72 treatment stations in three buildings and additional outdoor treatment areas. “Under the Oaks” is a secluded outdoor area where you can take pleasure in just about any treatment. On our visit, we chose to experience the stress-relieving massage and anti-aging treatment. The stress-relieving massage uses a combination of techniques to meet your specific needs or problem areas, and includes lovely scented massage oil and a cooling stone face massage. The anti-aging massage and body treatment was beyond refreshing and used a honeycomb spa mitt followed by an application of body oils in a light feathering massage motion. The oils are combined with high-quality extracts of paracress, cranberry and cocoa to soothe the skin and protect it from damage. Glen Ivy Hot Springs is an ideal outing for couples, mother-daughter bonding, a bridal shower, or even a bachelor party, (yes, men are allowed too!) If you’re planning on turning a day into a weekend, several local hotels offer spa packages for guests. Regardless of how long you plan to stay, you’ll absolutely fall in love with Glen Ivy and will already be planning your next visit before you’ve even left the parking lot.

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Brunch in Los Angeles is a four season event. Los Angeles’ very own brunch gurus, Leah Smith & Kate Roland, have narrowed down the Top Five Brunch Spots in Los Angeles to hit this Spring.

DOWNTOWN

Perch

SOUTHBAY

M.B. Post

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We may not have the Space Needle, but we do know of a place that not only serves up a great view, but delicious brunch as well. Perch offers a stunning rooftop restaurant with live music (think upbeat jazz quartet), amazing views, great people watching and fantastic fare. Type: City Gem Eat & Drink: Croissant French Toast & Mon Petit Cheri. Ambiance: Hipster Chic with a Splash of Upper East Side. Tip: Make a reservation for the patio. Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Location: 448 South Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (213-802-1770)

You can keep your flip flops on at this brunch hot spot just a few steps from the beach. You’ll find this farm to table/industrial gastro pub bustling with locals and tourists alike. Fresh piping hot food comes in sturdy skillets. The long shared tables create a warm community feel. Type: Local Staple/Up & Coming Institution Eat & Drink: Bacon Cheddar Biscuits with Whipped Maple Butter & Last Rites. Ambiance: Rustic Trendy with Laid-Back Patrons. Tip: You’ll have to sit indoors as there is no patio (but head to the beach afterwards) Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Location: 1142 Manhattan Ave. Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 (310) 545-5405


WEST 3rd STREET

A.O.C.

BEVERLY HILLS

Culina at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills

WESTSIDE

GJELINA

Warm and rustic, A.O.C.’s French-inspired courtyard patio creates an idyllic setting for brunch. A.O.C.’s celebrity chef Suzanne Goin’s cuisine uses fresh ingredients harvested from the local farmer’s market and cooked to perfection. After finishing your Bellini, skip down road to Robertson for shopping and a cocktail at the famous Ivy. Type: Critic-Favorite Eat & Drink: A.O.C’s Fresh Brioche with Melted Gruyère, Frisée, Prosciutto & Sunny Side Up Egg Ambiance: Rustic and Trendy Tip: Try and find the elusive street parking before opting for the valet Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Location: 8700 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles CA 90048 (310) 859-9859

Decadent and sophisticated, Culina is all that you would expect of a Beverly Hills brunch. From made-to-order Belgian waffles, housemade quesadillas, and hand-rolled sushi, to doughnuts freshly made in an old-fashioned machine, Culina’s brunch is a feast for your eyes (and your appetite). Outdoor seating is a must and the Four Seasons does not disappoint. Culina’s patio is bright, airy, and surrounded by greenery. After a mimosa, or two, it will be clear why everyone wants to live—and brunch—in Beverly Hills. Type: Resort Buffet Eat & Drink: It’s a buffet, so try a bite of everything! Ambiance: Fancy Tip: With validation, valet is $8 Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Location: 300 S. Doheny Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90048 (310) 860-4000

This delicious and highly adored restaurant is located - perfectly - in the middle of Venice’s famous Abbot Kinney. Foodies flock to this establishment disguised in over-sized hats, scruff and nonchalance. The communal tables beckon conversation, tempting you to linger a little while longer while savoring each mouth-watering dish. Popular and in demand, you’ll need to make reservations or get here early. Save us a seat! Type: Critic Favorite/Local Institution Eat & Drink: Duck Confit Potato Hash & Bill’s Bellini Ambiance: Trendy/Cool/Casual Mixed with a Tinge of Local Pretense Tip: Share your dishes so you can try a bit of everything Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Location: 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice, CA 90291 (310) 450-1429

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LA Travel tech How often have you went on a vacation and either lost or had something stolen that was valuable to you? Most of us have whether it’s a laptop, Smartphone, jewelry or an entire suitcase we have all lost something that has put a damper on our vacation. Whether it turns out to be a small inconvenience or a huge disaster wouldn’t it be nice if these situations were preventable?

THE NIO-NEVER LOSE YOUR VALUABLES ON VACATION AGAIN! In an effort to help people protect their valuables GCL Solutions Group has launched the nio which is an innovative wireless accessory system that virtually chains your mobile device to a nio tag to prevent it and other valuable possessions from going missing. The lightweight nio which connects wirelessly via a free nio app can be attached to any item you are worried about losing. Simply use the clip or lanyard included to attach the nio tag to your keys, camera, laptop, purse, briefcase or luggage. If you become separated from your device both the nio and your device will alarm or vibrate to alert you. Nio works with Bluetooth 4.0 technology and is compatible with iOS6, iOS7, Iphone 4S, 5, 5S, 5C, Ipad, Ipad mini, Android OSv4.3 and Samsung Galaxy S4. Users can download the nio Premium App to protect up to three valuables using three nios with just one device. According to a recent report 100 Smartphones are lost or stolen every 60 seconds in the U.S alone. If your Smartphone or laptop falls into the wrong hands losing a few hundred dollars could be the least of your problems. Personal data is extremely valuable and should always be protected. The user friendly nio can help everyone from professionals and travelers to families and students to protect their valuables. Now you can travel stress free without the fear of losing something. What we want to know is why anyone hasn’t thought of this sooner! To purchase your own nio visit http:/bluenio.com/store. Price: $69.95 118

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A First-Timers I’m a beach girl at heart View of

Lake Tahoe

but I also love the mountains. I love the fresh air, quiet remoteness, beauty of the larger than life trees and solitude of nature. I’ve traveled from Big Bear to Bariloche whether it’s snowy or sunny, but after nearly forty years living in California I had never been to the worldclass mountain resort, Lake Tahoe. Year after year I made resolutions to take a few extra days after my Bay area getaways to visit Tahoe. Year after year this never happened. But finally this year it did happen. Here is a look from a first-timers view.

The approach to Lake Tahoe is a big tease building up anticipation through miles of stunning mountain terrain. We expressed “Ooohh”s and “Aahhh”s around every turn. We passed Olympic host village, Squaw Valley, and smaller resorts Boreal and Sugar Bowl until we arrived at the stunning west By Nicole Prentice Williams shore of Lake Tahoe. This side of the lake is also called “The Gold Coast”, known for being protected from development to keep its natural resources pristine. We definitely felt far away from an overplanned resort as we cruised on the small state road lined with snow-capped peaks on one side and the vast lake on the other. The west shore is home to Tahoe’s poster child Emerald Bay, D.L. Bliss State Park where much of Tahoe’s wildlife lives and Homewood Mountain where you can ski peak to shore with the ultimate view of the water all the way down. There is even a spot for natural ice skating at Eagle Lake if you dare. For warm weather visitors, Homewood resort offers hiking and biking trail maps with multiple trails leading to breathtaking panoramic views. California’s early rich and famous would come here to summer in the 1800s. You can catch a glimpse of their opulent lifestyles when their restored mansions are open for touring at Tallac Historic Site during the summer. We made a left off the state road and landed directly in the parking lot of our destination – no theme park style parking garages to deal with. As soon as we opened the doors of the West Shore Café and Inn, we were presented with an awe-inspiring view of the massive lake through their undisrupted floor to ceiling windows. I knew Lake Tahoe was large, but when I finally laid eyes on its enormity, I was amazed. I couldn’t take my eyes off this jaw-dropping vision of Mother Nature, so we grabbed a seat in the café for an afternoon toast. There’s a serenity here surrounded by the water and distant mountains. The view is so gorgeous it’s surreal, more like a perfect painted picture. I was ready to settle in which was easily made possible since the West Shore Café and Inn are the same building. It’s a boutique lodge-style luxury hotel that has the best piece of lakefront property of any lake destination hotel, if you ask me. After a welcome cocktail, we headed out to the shore for fresh air and got comfortable again on the deck around the open fire pit. Although, there was a fresh snowfall, they keep this area open year round whether you’re sipping on summer cocktails or making après ski s’mores. This intimate hotel already rates five stars from us for location and view. The West Shore has six suites and rooms with gorgeous views with options facing the lake or the slopes. We stayed in the luxe Mount Watson suite and felt as if we had been removed from the world. We couldn’t see anything but Mother Nature outside our windows and private decks. We lounged next to the fireplaces and forgot everything while the stress of the world drifted away. It was authentic bliss.


Even with the Homewood Mountain Resort just steps away across the street, it was tough to tear us from our Zen retreat. Eventually we did take advantage of Homewood’s slopes and the beginner-friendly ski school. You could practically end your run right at the shore; the resort is that close to the lake. Homewood has 64 runs spread over 1300-acres. They are rated 35% advanced, 50% intermediate and 15% beginner. Homewood hasn’t changed drastically since it opened in 1961, but renovations are coming in the next few years with expanded luxury accommodations. On our last night on the west shore, we bid farewell with a lakeside dinner at the hotel’s Café. The white linen dining room is also welcoming to children. After a restful stay on the west shore, we headed to a busier Tahoe resort with equal appeal. A 20-minute drive north put us at the sprawling ski village Northstar where we could park the car underground for a few days and walk everywhere we needed to go. Northstar was transformed from a timber farm into a ski resort in the early 70s. The resort began to make an international name for itself when it opened its first phase of the Village at Northstar in 2005. And since then, a billion dollars has been invested in the village and world leader in luxury destinations, Vail Resorts, has acquired it as part of its collection of exclusive international ski resorts. Like Homewood Mountain, Northstar is also a year round resort with summer bringing all levels of mountain biking, hiking, geocaching, outdoor concert series, a Bungee Trampoline and a Ropes Challenge to the village. Upon arrival we were greeted by a valet team armed with complimentary wagons. We piled on our belongings and pulled the wagons across the village to our condo conveniently located directly under the gondola at One Village Place. Tahoe Mountain Resorts has a slew of luxury condos, homes and cabins. The “secret” passage from our lobby directly to a no-waiting gondola walkway reserved exclusively for residents made One Village ideal for us. Our friendly bellhop swiped his access only card through several entries of the building before opening the door and unveiling our posh mountain condo with all the modern style and amenities we could want. From the three bedrooms, living room and our private balcony we had a panoramic view of Village Run that appropriately ends right at the fire pits and après ski menus of the Chocolate Bar and Tavern 6330. We couldn’t wait to join in the fun so we geared up at the Adventure and Learning Center right next to the ice rink (and roller rink for summer) outlined with cabana and fire pits. Northstar has 93 runs spread over 3,000-acres. They’re rated 27% advanced, 60% intermediate, and 13% beginner. We had a good storm set in right before our stay, which made for a fun time on the slopes. There’s an energy here you won’t feel on the west shore. It’s that surge of excitement from the bustling village complete with a celebratory vibe instead of the relaxed, laidback mood we had settled into on the west shore. At Northstar, we felt like we didn’t want to miss out, so we were on the move riding the runs, shopping the boutiques, catching a movie in stadium seating at the on-site theater, candle-making, pottery painting and catching an amazing exhibition of international snow sculptors who just happened to be in town for the annual Carve Tahoe. For down time, we took the gondola to the Ritz Carlton further up the mountain. The seclusion of this property up and away from the village makes it a great place to relax whether you sit by the fires in the lobby or indulge in a treatment at the sprawling spa. A cocktail at the Ritz’s Highlands Bar is a must if you do nothing else for the panoramic views of the Sierra summit. Their signature California cuisine restaurant, Manzanita, is an earthy dining room with elements of wood, slate and fire. Here you can watch the chefs inside the open kitchen or take in more beautiful views of the mountain range. Our last night was an idyllic ending to our Tahoe getaway. A snowfall began right when the slopes were closing for the day. We hunkered down at our One Village condo, indulged in a homemade family meal and watched the village below transform into an imaginary portrait of a white winter. I thought to myself this first Tahoe getaway was worth the very long wait. And I was thankful to experience two of the many different worlds of these truly majestic mountains.


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San

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an Antonio is a place that seamlessly blends the past with the future. Never losing sight of its heritage, the city continues to expand and innovate, with new attractions, rides and events always popping up. This means that when you visit San Antonio, you’ll find something for everyone, whether it’s theme parks, golfing, caving, or just relaxing with a riverside margarita. And with summer rapidly approaching, San Antonio is preparing for some of its greatest events and attractions yet.

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o place is more representative of San Antonio than the River Walk, an urban oasis that transforms the downtown area into a lush series of walkways, winding with the river past numerous landmarks and activities. The River Walk was also the site of one of the most dramatic expansions in the city, turning a beautiful three-mile stretch into an astonishing 15-mile cultural touchstone. A peaceful stroll along the River Walk will take you just about anywhere you need to go, including the convention center, hotels, restaurants and other attractions. Perhaps that’s why it’s known as “the world’s largest hotel lobby.” So if you’re looking for relaxation, try some riverside dining with a delicious prickly pear margarita. Of course, not all San Antonio adventures are quite so calming, as evidenced by our five theme parks, including SeaWorld San Antonio and Six Flags Fiesta Texas, both of which have expanded for the summer. Aquatica, SeaWorld San Antonio’s waterpark, recently introduced Roa’s Aviary, a 13,500 square foot sanctuary with more than 50 species of birds. Guests can float, wade or walk among hundreds of tropical birds and even have the opportunity to feed the birds by hand. At Six Flags Fiesta Texas, summer brings the opening of the Bahama Blaster waterslide, which includes a steep drop from six stories up and exciting twists and turns throughout.

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here’s no limit to the heart-racing thrills you’ll experience with the world-class rides and entertainment found in San Antonio. And with the variety of theme parks available, there’s a place for everyone to find their adventure, from Schlitterbahn, voted the World’s Best Waterpark for 16 consecutive years, to Morgan’s Wonderland, specifically designed to be completely accessible for people of all abilities. Of course, for some people, the real adventure is in the art of finding a good deal, and with the variety of shopping available in San Antonio, you’ll be hard-pressed to go home empty handed. In fact, we’ve been named one of the country’s top 10 shopping destinations based on “options, ease, and affordability” by Forbes.com.

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iverse shopping opportunities are located throughout the city, including upscale malls and designer boutiques. And if you’re looking for great bargains on name-brand and designer items, take a short trip to the San Marcos Premium Outlets, one of the largest outlet malls in the country. If your shopping needs lean more toward the arts, La Villita Historic Arts Village features unique paintings, sculptures, jewelry and more. And if imported décor, blankets and jewelry are what you desire, visit El Mercado, the largest traditional Mexican market in the United States. Perhaps the best representation of San Antonio culture can be found on the plate though. Tex-Mex and Southern fare are both traditional favorites, but to truly experience the cultures that made San Antonio the city it is, you’ll need to take a taste of delicious German, English and Italian cuisine too. Of course, the continued expansion of the city and the opening of the Culinary Institute of America campus at the Pearl Brewery mean that our cultural influences continue to grow, interact and change. All of this means more exciting food options and a chance to see the continual evolution of San Antonio culture, plate by plate. And from August 16-23, foodies can enjoy a week devoted to the best of San Antonio restaurants and food trucks for Culinaria – Restaurant Week. Guests will be able to take advantage of prix fixe menus at participating restaurants. It’s the perfect way to try out a new eatery or revisit old favorites.

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f you decide you want to hit the links, you’re in luck there too. San Antonio has long been a city known for golf and has been a PGA TOUR host since 1922. Today, the city boasts more than 50 golf courses and a climate that allows for year-round play. So whether you tee off at the bottom of a quarry or on an official PGA TOUR course, you’re sure to have an unforgettable time.

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an Antonio is also a city that knows how to let loose. From our 18-day Fiesta, one of the 10 largest parties in the world, to the Ford Holiday River Parade, there’s usually something to celebrate. With summer about to begin, we’re getting ready for some of our best events yet, including the America’s Armed Forces River Parade on May 17. This parade, featuring themed floats representing branches of service, is a celebration of all those who have served and continue to serve. It’s a fitting tribute for San Antonio, also known as Military City, USA. And to end the summer with a bang, our second annual Kidcation Week turns beautiful San Antonio into a kids’ paradise that features great deals on family-friendly hotels and attractions.

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Outdoors enthusiasts will be hard-pressed to find a city as accommodating to walkers, runners, hikers, and cyclists as San Antonio. Beautiful riverside walk and bike paths provide a serene environment for any journey, and immaculate parks dot the city. Tons of paths are available for biking or walking, including the beautiful and historic 15-mile River Walk, especially the Mission Reach. Or if you’re really feeling adventurous, try caving at Natural Bridge Caverns or one of our other incredible nearby caves. San Antonio’s rich history is as exciting as its theme parks, and there are numerous opportunities to learn more about the city’s origins. The most obvious place to start is the Alamo, famous for the sacrifice of its defenders during the Texas Revolution. On the Mission Reach section of the River Walk, the Alamo’s four sister Spanish colonial missions stand, including Mission Concepción, the oldest unrestored stone church in the country. As a whole, the San Antonio Missions are currently nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status, marking the first nomination for this prestigious honor in Texas.

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eyond the historic missions, learning is the agenda at many of our museums. If you’re looking for deep insight into the past of the city and the region, there’s plenty to be had. The Institute of Texan Cultures, in association with the Smithsonian Institution, contains numerous exhibits that shed light on the cultures and people who settled in Texas and made the state what it is today. The South Texas Heritage Center at the Witte Museum brings history to life using interactive exhibits, artifacts, and live performances. And the new Briscoe Western Art Museum exhibits art and cultural artifacts that illuminate the region’s past.

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Starting May 24, the Witte Museum opens the H-E-B Body Adventure, a state-of-the-art interactive adventure focused on getting the body up and moving and inspiring a balanced life with four floors of fun activities featuring themes relating to health IQ, empowerment and wellness. Also this summer, from June 7-8, The Texas Folklife Festival brings 40 different cultures together on 22 acres in a celebration with live music, ethnic food, crafts, activities, demonstrations, carnival rides and family fun. San Antonio is also home to other world-class museums, featuring classic paintings, sculptures and important contemporary works. This summer for example, from June 14 to September 7, the San Antonio Museum of Art features “Matisse: Life in Color,” a six-decade retrospective of the influential artist’s paintings, sculptures and drawings sure to satisfy every art lovers’ craving for beauty, color and depth. And from June 18 to August 10, the McNay Art Museum exhibits Matisse and Picasso: A Friendly Rivalry. And finding a place to stay is never a problem. With more than 13,700 rooms downtown and more than 43,000 rooms citywide, San Antonio’s accommodation choices feature prices and amenities that fit any budget or special need. Select from boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, luxurious resorts and every major hotel brand to find the one that’s just right for you.

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an Antonio is a city full of wonders waiting to be discovered. It’s a place so full of attractions that you’ll never lack something to do. When you’ve finished shopping, eating, or just taking it all in, you’ll still be able to take your pick of our five amusement parks, visit one of the nation’s largest zoos or explore the largest known cavern in Texas. And this summer marks the start of a Summer Sweepstakes, offering you the chance to win a trip to San Antonio. With so much to do and see, San Antonio is the perfect destination for anyone looking to make unforgettable memories. Check out VisitSanAntonio.com to learn more and find great deals.

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Travel the World From India to Monte Carlo, discover your inner explorer with these travel spots we suggest you add to your bucket list asap.

Taj Mahal, Agra, India


Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming


Monaco, Monte Carlo


Hard Rock Hotel, Bali


Get Inspired

“One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.” -Henry Miller


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Los Angeles Travel Magazine Spring 2014