JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2014
I N T E R N AT I O N A L M A G A Z I N E
Falling in Love with Rhode Island
Adventurous Romance in Costa Rica The Enchanting Big Island of Hawaiâ€˜i Romance at Rosemary Beach & Eagle Island Elegant Birthday at the Charleston Place Hotel
The Magazine Written by North American Travel Journalists Association Members
travel world JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2014
F E A T U R E S
I N T E R N AT I O N A L M AG A Z I N E
IN LOVE WITH RHODE ISLAND 6 FALLING BY MYRNA GEORGE
ROMANCE IN COSTA RICA 14 ADVENTUROUS BY KRISTIN MOCK
DECEMBER 2013 TravelWorld International Magazine is the only magazine that showcases the member talents of the North American Travel Journalists Association
I N T E R N AT I O N A L M AG A Z I N E
’I, THE ENCHANTING ISLAND 24 HAWAI BY CHRISTINE GERMYN Group Publisher: NATJA Publications Publisher: Helen Hernandez Editor: Joy Bushmeyer Art Direction: Artistic Design Services Web Manager: Yanira Leon CVB Liaison: Dawn Vivenzio Staff Writer/ Photographer: Bennett W. Root, Jr. Contributing Writers : Christine Germyn Dale Sanders Rebecca Rhoades Kevin Weirzbicki
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AT ROSEMARY BEACH Florida 36 ROMANCE & EAGLE ISLAND Georgia BY CHRISTINE TIBBETTS
BIRTHDAY AT THE 46 ELEGANT CHARLESTON PLACE HOTEL BY SHARON SPENCE LIEB
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Falling in Love with South County
Rhode Island By Myrna George
Photo by William Ouimette
Photo by Jim Garlick
Wintertime brings about magical sights, sounds and smells throughout South County, Rhode Island. You can unplug from the everyday with the beauty and serenity that only South County can provide. While the weather brings a tranquil setting to the woods, nature’s wonders easily can lead you through the trails of South County. The crunch of frozen leaves underfoot is a welcome reminder of the adventure which still stirs deep in our souls. A trek at Ell Pond and Long Pond Preserve in Hopkinton, Rhode Island is the perfect setting to take in the rolling landscape and view spectacular vistas; all while nestled between picturesque Ell and Long Pond. The crisp air and peaceful water views easily can be sealed with a kiss on a cold day. The thrills are limitless when tackling the rising landscape of Yawgoo Valley Ski Area and Sports Park, Rhode Island’s only ski resort. While preparing for this adventure, I was that shy ski bunny afraid to take on the challenge of an overwhelming mountain, but Yawgoo Valley’s gentle slopes became the perfect setting to discover how to embrace the winter sport of choice – snowboarding! It became clear to me why Yawgoo Valley has been the destination to learn to ski and snowboard for generations; the easy riding coupled with available lessons or snow tubing brings excitement to any crisp, winter day. If the snowy hills aren’t the inspiration needed, the Washington Trust Community Skating Center will remind you of days which have come before. While I teetered out like a young chick walking for the first time, I secretly wished I was gliding around like Michelle Kwan. I tucked my mittened hand in my lover’s while steadying my stride as I cruised around on the icy plane of wonder. The region also offers miles of untapped snowy quarters for snowshoeing; the William C. O’Neill South County Bike Path extends 7.8 miles and winds through a range of scenery and towns. The solitude was perfect to reconnect and rekindle while viewing the birds and animals doing their own winter dance.
While daylight held its fairshare of adventure, it really is Friday night at Frosty Drew where all the action happens. The Frosty Drew Observatory in Charlestown, RI holds the key to visual exploration of the skies above. With my long johns on, I clasped hands and cuddled up to enjoy the night sky as Ninigret Park provides some of the darkest, clearest skies on the eastern coastline of the US. I have found in South County that you can never quite get your fill of the great outdoors! The Naturalist and Director of Recreation Mark Bullinger, on staff at the Weekapaug Inn, leads an array of organized activities or helps you personalize your own seaside excursion. His extensive knowledge of the region and its coastline provided a fulfilling experience in the southern half of Rhode Island as we sauntered along, picking up forget-me-nots along the way to memorialize our trip forever. The shells and sea glass of trip’s past sit as silent teasers on my nightstand as welcomed mementos of our adventure with Mark.
South County’s beaches are a stone’s throw away, great to wander and gaze at the rushing winter water hues sparkling graphite and blue. Have you ever smelled the ocean in the winter? South Kingstown Town Beach offers a small pavilion which beckoned us to stop and enjoy an embrace and slow dance while the salty air nipped at our noses. The long stretch of beach offers not only solitude, but panoramic views of the ocean and the warmth of the winter’s unfiltered sunshine.
As I gently sipped the fragrant foam topping of my coffee, it reminded me I could simply fill any afternoon with a visit to Dave’s Coffee Shop in Charlestown, RI. While enjoying a cup of Blind Pig Espresso, we unwound from the bustling outside world at Dave’s, a true aficionado of coffee. We sampled the talents of this petite coffee shop with an array of oversized homemade cookies, muffins and scones. After a burst of local flavor, we ambled through Galapagos Boutique, a menagerie of color and fabrics of recent trends and designers.
Pearls of the sea become conversation pieces at the tables of the Matunuck Oyster Bar. The local, farm to table mentality at this waterside dining establishment has created a cult like following and we understand why! With oysters, vegetables and meat raised locally, it’s no wonder this quaint restaurant has won over the hearts of locals and visitors alike. We popped a delicious bottle of wine while noshing our way through a wide selection of oysters – some from the restaurant’s very own backyard. If raw seafood isn’t your delicacy of choice, no worries. We also warmed up with a cup of the region’s soup of choice – New England clam chowder – and it was not to be missed!
fter a day in the elements, nothing feels quite as indulgent as snuggling up near a dancing fire at one of South County’s many fine accommodations. From five stars to cozy B&Bs, the spirit of comfort can be found in South County. Wishing to polish away the effects of winter on body and spirit, we visited Rhode Island’s only five star, Oh! Spa at the Ocean House. The spa journey knew no boundaries as I was pampered and experienced what it truly means to unwind.
Photo Courtesy of Ocean House
Photo Courtesy of Ocean House
Photo Courtesy of Ocean House
Photo by Lili Feinstein
Photo by Lea Ann Johnstone
ith full bellies and happy hearts, we opted to follow an intimate dinner with a romantic play at one of our local theatres. Granite Theatre in Westerly and The Contemporary Theatre Company in South Kingstown both offered the live entertainment we were looking for; we laughed, cried and everything in between.
We were looking to complete our quintessential New England ex-
perience by dining next to a roaring fireplace. My lover’s cheeks were aglow at the Wilcox Tavern in Charlestown, RI. With four unique dining areas and a welcoming lounge, we settled in and dined in the radiant comfort of this historic farmhouse built in 1730. With a happy twist on New England classics, the fare ranges from corn chowders, grass-fed burgers to pork tenderloin.
Wishing to round out our trip with local wine, we followed the unbeaten path to Langworthy Farm Winery in Westerly. Tucked After a great night’s sleep, we visited the Ocean about one half mile from the ocean, this cozy winery is open House in Watch Hill for their Jazz Brunch which year round and boasts eleven classic offerings. We stepped back is each Sunday from 8-2:30pm. This dazzling and all-encompassing brunch includes flavor profiles from in time and sipped wine on the historical home site of former Governor Samuel Ward of Rhode Island. We could not resist sweet to savory, as well as a specialized Bloody Mary bar which will have you revealing in all its glory with purchasing a few bottles to bring home to savor the memories. your friends for years to come. If brunch isn’t your No matter what your activity of choice is, South County has preferred fare of choice, the Ocean House also offers several ‘Cooking Through the Seasons’ dinners which something for everyone. From the roaring fireplaces to the winter shores of the sea, remember the love that brought you utilize recipes from in-house cookbooks while chefs together this Valentine’s Day. Let your love glow as this is a demonstrate how to prepare their exquisite dishes. wonderful time of year to visit, hibernate and renew. Come fall The prepared tutorials are then served as part of the in love all over again in South County and you will fall forever! 3-course menu, expertly paired with wines.
Photo by Suzy Hoffman
Photo by Mike Ippolito
in Costa Rica By Kristin Mock
We travel, initially, to lose ourselves, and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools againâ€” to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more. Pico Iyer, Travel Writer
THE ROAD TO ARENAL WASNâ€™T EXACTLY EASY.
Four hours of riding through pitch-black dirt roads, monsoon rains and mud puddles, maneuvering a small car around narrow switchbacks, dodging langostas (the local name for those mammoth beige-colored locusts), and finally, careening along the road that snakes around Lake Arenal. At 2 a.m., with that familiar feeling of exhaustion and adrenaline (that feeling every traveler simultaneously knows, loves, and dreads), we arrived at the base of the volcano. We fell into the king-sized beds in our suite at Arenal Kioro Resort, slept a blissful four hours, woke up again at 6 a.m., dressed in our cargo pants and hiking boots, scarfed down our gallo pinto and fresh papaya for breakfast, and hit the ziplining trails.
This was the start to our romantic honeymoon in Costa Rica.
According to Carmen Sálazar, Marketing Director for TAM Travels Corporation, we are not the only adrenaline-hungry newlyweds seeking the thrill-ride of ziplining and river rafting over mojitos and beach towels. Recent tourism research suggests that honeymooners with adventurous spirits are increasingly choosing Costa Rica—and especially the northwest, like we did—for its infectious emphasis on natural beauty, animal conservation, and mutual respect for the natural world and its inhabitants. As she says,
“Costa Rica has become quite a trend for those seeking an unprecedented wedding or honeymoon, where adventure, nature, and leisure combine in a magnificent experience….[It’s] the ideal tropical paradise, a haven for getting married, the newlyweds, and the romantic at heart.” She is definitely right—the Costa Rican’s smart emphasis on adventure tourism, passionate commitment to nature and eco-tourism, and perfect location for leisure have made this tiny Central American country the absolutely perfect trifecta for romance. BUT WHAT MAKES ADVENTURE—SPECIFICALLY TRAVEL ADVENTURE—SO ROMANTIC?
Why would we choose to spend our honeymoon careening around pitch-black switchbacks in the middle of the night to get to one of the most active volcanos in the world, jump on the backs of horses, zoom through the jungle, hike in a cloud forest, and raft down rapids? Why not just spend the entire week dozing in the sun on the gorgeous white sand beaches along the Pacific Coast? BECAUSE ROMANCE IS AN ADVENTURE.
Real adventure is unexpected; it’s joyful, uncertain, messy, exhilarating, annihilating. In fact, it’s a lot like the best kind of travel. And for two curious, creative people like my husband and me, there’s no better place to be than at the whim of the world, where anything at all can happen. Here, then, is the way we kicked off the first two days of our newlywed status in the tropical wonderland of Costa Rica. Like us, you might be surprised at what an aphrodisiac these heart-pumping, soul-touching, spirit-renewing activities can be if you allow yourself to fall in love with the land, the people, and the infectious Tico spirit. Any of these experiences can be blissful, physical, bountiful, visceral, peaceful—everything the perfect romantic getaway should be, whether it’s a destination wedding, a honeymoon, an anniversary, or just a trip for two away from the familiar.
Z iplining: Blissful
Our first morning had us donning zip-away cargo pants, hiking boots, sun hats, and bug repellant. Leaving Arenal Kioro at sunrise, we arrived at the Sky Trek Park by 8 a.m., met our 20-something guides (who were, to no oneâ€™s surprise, both elegant and fearless in the way they zipped down the cables, unfettered), suited up in straps, belts, and hooks, and took the Sky Tram gondola up to the top of the trees. From there, we practiced ziplining on a short, low-to-the-ground line before mustering up the confidence to hit the real cables, eight lines totaling 2.5 miles. The cables, with distances up to 2,640 feet and heights up to 600 feet, zigzag through the forest in a Z pattern and sail over Arenal Lake, narrow rivers, and lush green canopies.
On the first zipline, we were novices; by the eighth, we were naturals. After every line, we talked excitedly about what we felt, saw, experienced, and learned. We shared tips on such topics as how to properly wiggle the handle to adequately slow down, how to keep our eyes open while flying, and which plants to look for in the trees.
We couldnâ€™t wait for the next line, wondering if it would be faster, steeper, slower, or gentler. At the top of the last line, we stopped at a little open-air cafĂŠ, ordered two fresh pineapple juices, talked about how this was quite possibly the most romantic thing we could have done. Then, we harnessed up, and each one of us zipped our way down to the bottom of the forest, screaming in delight all the way.
After having arroz con pollo and fresh batidos for lunch in the riverside village of La Fortuna with our driver, Yuba and our guide, Ana Yancey we continued our drive to Club Rio Outdoor Center and Wildlife Preserve. The Club is located at the shores of the Arenal River at The Springs Resort & Spa, a gorgeous five-star resort which, like our hotel, is near the base of the Arenal Volcano (although you don’t need to be staying at the resort to visit the club). Visitors can engage in any number of adventurous activities—river kayaking, tubing, rock climbing, rappelling, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and hot springs soaking. We decided to spend the afternoon in kayaks. We hopped on a bus with a group of about ten other kayakers and rode all the way up the river. We traded in our hiking boots for laceup water shoes, pulled two inflatable river kayaks from the trailer hitched to the bus, grabbed one paddle each, and joined the small group getting ready to paddle down the river. Though my husband was cautious (he’d had an unfortunate run-in with an upended kayak as a kid), no one in our group fell out, even as we battled our way through rocks, waterfalls, and deep pools. After the ride, we took a long walk down by the river and fed fresh pineapple and papaya to a group of brilliantly-colored toucans of yellow beaks and blue feet. So why kayaking? Why jump in a boat, confront a fear, bat away flies, get soaked? Because the motion of a paddle slicing through the water, the intimate moment in which your partner helps you dislodge your boat from a rock, and the cold, clean water splashing into the boat are like no other experiences in the world. And then, collapsing into our in-room hot tub that night to soothe our arms and legs couldn’t have felt any more romantic.
River Kayaking: Physical
The next morning, we took an early morning speedboat across Lake Arenal and then boarded a bus to make the four and a half hour drive to Monteverde, an intimate mountain village in the middle of Costa Rica’s famed cloud forest. (Cloud forests, also called fog forests, are tropical evergreen forests characterized by persistent cloud cover at the canopy level). Once we dropped our bags at Poco a Poco, our hotel for the next two days, we traveled to Selvatura Adventure Park to hike the hanging bridges.
The park is set on 1,200 acres of protected virgin cloudforest, and thus the unmarked trails, which are connected by a series of eight suspension bridges, are wet, lush, and sometimes slippery. Wearing our hiking boots (which had become somewhat of a staple by this point), we started the two mile trek into the interior of the cloud forest, stopping at each bridge to hold hands and silently cherish the fragile eco-system all around us. The hanging bridges, which vary from 150 feet to 500 feet, are strung up along heights from 36 feet to 180 feet and rest over rushing streams, lush canopies, and thousands of species of colibrís (hummingbirds), butterflies, cats, monkeys, sloths, and insects. By the time we made it across all eight bridges, we knew more about the cloud forest from just listening closely to it than from what any guidebook could tell us. We’d also done it together. Hiking with the person you love most in the world isn’t just romantic—up on those precarious hanging bridges swaying lightly, it’s probably one of the most peaceful things two people can do together. It’s also fun—especially when a pair of capuchin monkeys start throwing fruit down at you when you walk underneath their trees ... you’ll have a story to tell for ages.
More About TAM Travel Corporation TAM Travel, established in 1964 and based in San Jose, is one of the preeminent tour operators in Costa Rica, specializing in customized travel planning for large and small groups, couples, and individuals. For us, TAM provided airport pickup and all ground transport, arranged all of our hotels and activities, and worked with us to create a totally unique itineraryâ€”one that was the perfect recipe for two very adventurous honeymooners.
For more information, visit their website at
or call them toll-free at (800)-826-8785.
HAWAI’ I: The MANY ENCHANTING Faces Of THE BIG Island OF HAWAI ’I By Christine Germyn 24
Photo by Eric Hiss
As I look out from my near 14,000 ft. perch high above the white-foam lined beaches I can hear my heart beat with a cadence not always apparent. The thin air may have something to do with it but perhaps so does the breathtaking view ...
Known colloquially as the “Big Island”, Hawai`i, the largest in the Hawaiian archipelago with over 4,000 square miles, isn’t just big, “it’s still growing”. This, the youngest isle in the Hawaiian chain is a virtual canvass awaiting you to paint your visit with unforgettable experiences.
We arrived late night at Kona International Airport, picked up the rental and proceeded approximately eighteen miles north along Highway 19 to the Hilton Waikoloa Village located in the Waikoloa Beach Resort. The drive was truly unique and somewhat surreal as the black pavement seemed to blend effortlessly with the surrounding lava landscape, only to be outdone by the clear star-studded sky.
The Hilton’s 62-acre oceanfront property is the premier accommodation at Waikoloa Beach Resort. The inviting large open-aired lobby and reception area was most welcoming. If you so choose, you could take the resort’s tram to your room or, depending on your room’s location, saunter along the one-mile Museum Walkway which showcases 1,800 pieces of art from around the world. Our room had a spectacular view overlooking both the ocean and the dolphin lagoon. There is something to be said about breathing fresh ocean air while being lulled to sleep listening to the rolling surf punctuated by sounds of playful dolphins.
e had the opportunity to swim with these wonderful creatures the following day for what turned out to be an experience of a life time. Dolphin interactions with humans in the wild have been recorded for hundreds of years with people being saved at sea countless times by dolphin intervention. They are extremely social animals and hence their interaction with humans is very special. Our dolphin encounter started with being introduced to two females where the trainer got us to bond with them by stroking and petting them all the while hearing what appeared to be very content dolphins whistling and producing bursts of clicking sounds. They must have been telling us that they liked us since they seemed to want to snuggle and were very tactile. Their interactions with us were very playful and inclusive almost as if they were having more fun than we were.
he State of Hawai`i is well known for its holistic
and natural approach to wellness and heeling and it therefore should be no surprise that some of the world`s most natural and therapeutic treatments are indigenous to the Big Island.
The Hilton’s Kohala Spa is a perfect place to experience such treatments. Their Signature Naupaka White Flower Ritual was very soothing and relaxing. Pa`a Naupaka meaning “marriage of the senses” begins with an invigorating Awa Root and Hawaiian Ginger foot ritual. My senses were then invigorated with a warmed body compression consisting of soothing lavender and camomile herbs. The calming low light candle-lit treatment room combined with this potpourri compression provided a deep sensation of relaxation. This healing compression, applied over the body, is followed by an application of a warm sweet aromatic essential oil blend of white flower lotus and Ylang Ylang for a full body massage. The tranquil 80 minute ritual allowed for my body to receive a grounding energy. Situated on the sunny Kohala Coast, the Hilton Waikoloa Village provides plenty for all. Whether its paddle boarding, swimming or snorkeling and witnessing up close and personal the giant “honu” sea turtles or drifting amongst a myriad of colorful tropical fish in the warm four-acre ocean-fed Lagoon there is something for everyone. In the evening one of the dining highlights certainly is to partake in a traditional Hawaiian lū’au. Legends of Hawai`i Lū’au features a traditional feast of kalua pork and other Island-inspired treats. While dining we enjoyed the Island’s best Polynesian entertainment which consisted of authentic music, songs, hula dancing troops and fire dancing displays. Hawai`i is truly a place as rich in culture and customs as it is unique in diversity and activities for the visitor and this is no better evident than at Kilauea Volcano. Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of volcanoes has been furnishing her wrath continuously since 1983 at Kilauea providing for some absolutely awe inspiring sites. She is a popular figure in many stories in Hawaiian mythology and is known as Ka Wahine ai Honua “the earth-eating woman”.
ilauea, located approximately 30 miles southwest of Hilo on the central southeast coast along Highway 11 in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park is a must see. Entering the Park off of Highway 11 along Crater Rim Drive one sees the normal outlay of local vegetation consisting of forest and bushes until you come upon a clearing of fields. It is then that you immediately realize the vast energy of a volcano. At first it seems as though there are pockets of grassfires producing clumps of smoke columns about 20 to 30 feet in the air until it dawns on you that this isnâ€™t smoke. It is steam and these are the Parkâ€™s famous steam vents. Rain which has filtered its way into the ground has returned to the surface as steam heated by rocks from the lava below. About a 5 minute drive further on from the vents is the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory which houses an observation area and the Thomas A. Jaggar Museum. From here the vastness of Kilauea Volcano is absolutely striking. As far as the eye can see are once-active lava fields, black in color and sporting vents of steam and sulphur mixtures whose plumes dot the caldera periphery.
eople visiting the volcano seem to hold a special reverence about what they see as there is almost nothing spoken and when visiting after dark, the fiery orange, almost eerie glow from the lava easily triggers primordial thoughts. A very short drive from Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is the town of Volcano. Its close proximity to the park provides for a perfect place to lodge and spend the night after nighttime viewing. Bed & Breakfasts are very popular in the area and a good choice is the Lotus Garden Cottages. This luxurious B&B features three suites: the Hawaiian, Korean and Japanese, each adroitly furnished authentic to its theme. Our room, the Korean is known as the Lotus Room. This large suite, surrounded by a wraparound lanai and featuring a hanging Dae Ko drum showcased the verdant jungle-like vegetation of very large ferns, banana trees and trumpet flowers that seemed prevalent in the area. The interior was very natural with exposed wooden walls, floors and a large ceramic bathroom. One of the various Korean accoutrements placed around the room was a bamboo cylindrical-like basket called a “juhk booin” which means “bamboo wife”. Typically hung above the window, the juhk booin was brought to bed and placed over you and under the blankets during hot humid weather to allow for slight air flow and a comfortable cool sleep.
Though, at over 4000 feet in elevation and a cool evening - for Hawai`i standards - the cozy gas fireplace in the corner coupled with the serenity of our location made for a very sound sleep.
Our breakfast the next morning consisted of pastries, fresh fruit, orange juice and a delicious egg/sausage sandwich. Located near the B&B, I visited a unique Spa called Hale Ho’ ōla Volcano’s Spa which means “House of Faithful Healing”. This private spa, situated in a quiet rural setting amidst lush green flora is a perfect setting for a spa. Upon arrival, I was greeted by Suzanne, proprietor of Hale Ho’ ōla and shown to the spa room where I chose from a selection of locally made Ola Organic products. My treatment, the Rejuvenation package started with a traditional “Pule” (silent prayer) which centers the practitioner and prepares a vehicle for loving, selfless service; it focuses the intention and invokes intuition healing and wellness. A passion fruit citrus body scrub was applied front and back exfoliating the skin followed by a gentle papaya enzyme facial. During the facial a portable steam canopy therapy system is placed near the body to allow for detoxification. After the facial, I took an invigorating shower which preceded a Hawaiian lomilomi massage. Lomilomi is the Hawaiian system of traditional massage which employs the forearms to create a rhythmic therapeutic motion coupled with the hands to help realign, the body, mind and spirit. Empowered by the breath of life and the healing power of plants and nature, the lomilomi technique relieves sore muscles and increases blood circulation by transferring the mana that restores health and beauty and relieves pain. At the completion of this very soothing and uplifting massage a second pule is given to complete the circle of healing and rejuvenation.
Hawai`i boasts many unique features seldom
found anywhere else on Earth so when given the opportunity to visit the revered mountain of Mauna Kea, I strongly suggest doing so. Mauna Kea in Hawaiian means “white mountain”, a reference to its summit, which is usually snow-capped in winter. The summit at 13,796 feet is the highest in Hawai`i, one of the most sacred and for this reason, a “kapu” (ancient Hawaiian law) restricted visitor rights to high-ranking tribal chiefs.
Although the summit is accessible to anyone by vehicle it is strongly recommended that you take part in an organized tour for various reasons most notably the safety issues concerning decent and the thinness of the atmosphere. We chose to commence our journey up Mauna Kea by being picked up by our guide at the junction of the Mauna Kea Access Road and Saddle Road. The 45 minute accent up from our pickup point was very scenic and comfortable with the exception of a portion of the road where the paved surface became graveled and bumpy. The vegetation was grassy with shrubs up until around the 8,000 foot level beyond which only a select few plants can survive; namely, the beautiful Mauna Kea Silversword for one which blossoms once in its life for reproduction and then dies. The scenery was most spectacular and truly unique
with combinations of vast arid rolling terrain punctuated with reddish colored cinder cones some of which reached hundreds of feet high. As we ascended, all on board our 4-wheel drive bus were entertained by our interpretive guide Makalani who was very informative regarding the significance about what we were viewing both with its importance geologically and culturally. Ancient Hawiians were known to have made the trek by foot to the summit to mine volcanic hardened materials used in production of tools and weapons – these were hardy individuals indeed. Arriving at the summit the view afforded a panorama of the whole island including the faraway peak of Haleakala 75 miles to the north on the island Maui. The peak of Mauna Kea consists of a series of roads linking international observatories which operate on a year round basis. As our vehicle pulled to a stop and we disembarked the crisp cool air was refreshing but noticeably thin. With approximately 60 % of the atmosphere that would be realized at sea level, physical movement at 13,796 feet is noticeably muted. As the sun set and the night time neighborhood of stars and constellations became evident our location high up on Mauna Kea’s peak made me feel privileged to now be where only the ancient selected few were once permitted.
Hilton Waikoloa Village www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com Dolphin Quest www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/resort-experiences/dolphin-quest Hawaii Volcanoes National Park www.hawaiivolcanonationalpark.com Lotus Garden Cottages www.lotusgardencottages.com Hale Ho’ ōla Volcano’s Spa www.halehoola.net Hawaii Forest and Trail
Mauna Kea Summit Hawaii Observatory Tour www.hawaii-forestandtrial.com
Romance at Rosemary Beach Florida
& Eagle Island Georgia
By Christine Tibbetts
Luscious figs wrapped in Serrano ham. Molasses draping bites of eggplant. Lamb chop so gentle it seems a lollipop. When courting calls for cuisine, Rosemary Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast provides all the culinary nuances.
So do the rooms. Here’s what I found remarkable about this romantic place: my secluded space was unlike any other. Rosemary Beach is all about personal taste, individual style, unique celebratory surroundings.
Big beach house to invite others you love too, with a master suite for separate moments. Taking a tour, I found the furnishings as spectacular as the ocean view. Elevator-access town house in the heart of downtown possible too. Rosemary Beach touts 13 architectural styles with options within designs so romantic lodging need not conform to someone else’s notion of special moments.
Tucked-away loft, one flight up and no neighbors facilitate your idea of romance? Rosemary has it and I chose it.
A love affair with cars does not work so well here, because visitors tuck them in not-so-visible spots, walking or bicycling preferred.
Garden apartment, overlooking a butterfly garden or perhaps the delicate lavender flowers of blooming rosemary? Ask for the key.
Chances are good on a romantic holiday that meeting the neighbors is not a prime concern, but fine dining is likely to be.
E Eleven restaurants, chef-directed, regional ingredients abundant, fill the little downtown. Wining and dining pied-a-terre suited me so well, seeing starry skies walking home rather than getting behind the wheel.
My hand-holding walks around Rosemary – sunny daytime or starry nights – offered lingering green spaces with lawns and benches. Hurrying is not romantic; lingering is. Better go somewhere else if strenuous hiking is your notion of romance; follow my path if sauntering suits you. Splinter-free boardwalks arch over the sea oats and curving dunes, as welcoming to my not-a-beach bum husband as the time in the sand and surf suited me.
Some paths and alleyways are paved, some soft, almost spongy gravel and others are boardwalks. Either way, meandering aimlessly worked fine for us. Wrapped up only in each other quite likely on a Rosemary Beach stroll, and so is garden gazing. That’s because native plants are the only invited guests, nothing invasive grows in this community of diverse architecture. I asked for the gardener’s list in the cottage rental office, impressed they actually have one! For me, that added authenticity to the claim of caring for this environment. Shopping is so not romantic for me, unless in a bookstore, but I know that’s quite otherwise for many travelers. Rosemary Beach boutiques nestle among the restaurants, never far from al fresco coffee spots or cool libation options.
Like the eateries, each one seemed individually-owned and unique with offerings reflecting sophisticated, and Iâ€™ll admit, enticing designs. Shoes and fancy sweaters, stand up paddleboards and bathing suits, hand-crafted fragrances and bath and table linens. Thatâ€™s barely the list. Perhaps because the lodging is charming and diverse, this community even has a little flower shop, and I was tempted to choose a bouquet for my romantic digs. Eating out rather than in, the flowers I selected seemed more for post-massage than dining table. Walking or biking to the tennis court and fitness center felt so right, as opposed to cranking the car to do that at home. If you notice red arrows on green posts as you stroll, that means you landed on the fitness trail---equally calm. Romance would fill my soul in a simple spot right on a beach, but in Rosemary I recognized the easy access to layer upon layer of pleasures likely to say romance to people of every personality.
Reserve a private island for coastal romance. Take a dozen friends if you like, or claim Georgia’s Eagle Island for romance. The notion of an island to myself, a traveler of modest means, seemed beyond belief. Isn’t such a luxury for only the very wealthy? Not so, now that Capt. Andy Hill decided Georgia’s fabled barrier islands needed intimate, accessible space too. One lodge quite enough for the 10-acre island he named Eagle. Two bedrooms on the main floor and a sleeping loft above should you want to share. Separate building with a dormitory-style collection of beds, ping pong table, kitchen and baths. Great for families, or friends whose sleeping patterns don’t interest you. This certified sea captain will boat you over to the island from Darien, a small yet interesting community with a shrimping history. That’s a good thing for me because I have no boat. Boat owners can expect personal guidance from the island owner captain who loves to shares these waters. Call him to make your arrangements. Sure Eagle Island has a web page but Hill is more host than cut-and-dried corporate. Gracious charm sets the stage for romance, seemed to me. “I’d rather talk to people, learn what they really like and make that happen for them,” Capt. Hill says. He’s cleared the maritime forest paths around the 10-year-old Lodge, hung the art and the hammocks, and arranged for kayaks. He’ll stock the ‘frig to your specifications if you ask, and fill the hot tub. Not sure how to prepare the iconic Low Country Boil favored in this region? This captain will either prepare it for you in the spacious outdoor kitchen, or gather all the ingredients and teach you how.
I fix that at home---but found the Eagle evening ever so much more special seeking help from an expert. Facing the marsh, my romantic traveling partner and I claimed reading time, and gazing, on wrap-around porches with fireplace and hot tub, eight-foot swinging bench, hammocks and rocking chairs. (Full disclosure: sharing private island with husband of three plus decades.) Looking up seemed a persistent Eagle Island activity for me because the skies are starry. Certainly no city lights here dim their glow. “Actually, it seems there is nothing in the world between the moon and you when you’re on Eagle Island,” Capt. Hill says. Perhaps I’m a bit sappy, but seeing bald eagles while on Eagle Island created a tingle. This is a grand ecosystem with the marshes and wildlife so my gazing time and strolling in the gentle maritime forest included osprey and egret sightings too. Here’s how I determined my groceries: the Private Islands web page gives a link to the mainland Harris Teeter grocery store. Everything I checked, he delivered to Eagle Lodge. Hill is quick to point out no percentage add-on for that service—pay just the grocery store prices. There’s a cage on the end of the dock for pulling up blue crabs, another Georgia coastal dinner. My advice is also to request a wild Georgia shrimp delivery when you talk to Capt. Hill. Fly to Savannah, maybe connect through Atlanta, or fly to Jacksonville and rent a car. No worries, no chores from Darien on.
H a p p y B i r t h d a y a t 46
C h a r l e s t o n
P l a c e
H o t e l
by Sharon Spence Lieb
y fifties have overflowed with Blessings. Beloved friends. Professional achievements. Global adventures. Who ever thought this scaredy-cat from Arlington, Virginia would swim with whale sharks off Cancun? Or photograph wild polar bears in Churchill Canada? Or chase penguins up glacier trails in Antarctica? My favorite travel experience of this decade: receiving a sacred blessing from a wise Mayan Shaman in a Mexican village, then meeting him again the next year on the same street in the same village, and receiving a second blessing. Is that Luck or Divine Intervention? Anyway, time hurtles forward. I sadly waved goodbye to my fifties and hello to sixty. What I wanted for my birthday was a romantic evening at Charleston Place in Charleston, South Carolina and dinner out with my fiancée Kenny Baker and close friends.
Kenny and I waltzed into the elegant lobby. “Welcome and Happy Birthday,” smiled a beautiful receptionist named Colleen. “You two are in 4G, a beautiful suite near our Spa and indoor pool. We invite you to enjoy cocktails, appetizers, and breakfast tomorrow morning at our Club Lounge.” Is that Luck or Divine Intervention? Suite 4G was awash in soothing buttercream yellow, with a comfy couch, dining room table, antique writing desk, and an inviting king bed. Classic southern elegance, with framed botanical prints, sunflower festooned drapes, and a marble bath with shower and soaking tub, plus fragrant lotions and soaps from Gilchrist & Soames in London. Out our window was Charleston’s elegant skyline and hundreds of clothing boutiques, plus gift and home décor shops.
he elevator whisked us to the 8th floor, where guests were enjoying Happy Hour cocktails, sushi, asparagus, spanakopita, and she crab gumbo. After sipping and grazing away our exhaustion, Ken suggested a pool dip before dinner.
Serious mistake. After splashing and laughing in the saltwater pool for an hour, gazing at Charleston’s rosy skyline from the outdoor terrace, then soaking in the hot tub, we padded back to our room in thick terry robes, so relaxed we could barely open the door. The thoughtful hotel staff had delivered a bottle of Segura Viudas Sparkling wine and a decadent chocolate cake emblazoned with “Happy Birthday Sharon.” Charleston’s evening air wafted in, perfuming our heavenly room. Our friends called to cancel dinner out, promising to meet us the next day at the hotel for lunch. We kept on drinking, talking, and laughing. Never went to dinner. Never left our room. Perfect evening.
TOURING CHARLESTON Thereâ€™s so much to see in historic Charleston, you need at least a week. Settled in 1680 by English colonists on land granted by King Charles II, Charles Towne became a flourishing seaport. By the early 1800â€™s, it was one of the most fashionable cities in the new world, second in importance only to New York. Giant clipper ships laden with exotic cargo from China, Europe, the West Indies and Barbados regularly visited Charleston, exchanging foreign wares for indigo, prized Carolina rice and cotton. Today, visitors wander through neighborhoods of antebellum homes, or listen to history from guides in horse drawn carriages clip clopping on cobblestoned streets. The Battery is a fine place to photograph harbor views and ancient live oak trees framing stately homes. Many of the homes are open for tours, like Calhoun Mansion, a 24,000 square foot beauty built by George Walton Williams in 1876, resplendent with a 75-foot ceiling, and a ballroom where the glass skylight is 45- feet high. Other homes with stunning architecture are the Edmonston-Alston House, and the Nathaniel Russell House. Take a boat out to Fort Sumter, which was occupied by Union troops when South Carolina seceded from the Union, and learn how Charleston witnessed the first shots of the Civil War in 1861.
CHARLESTON PAMPERING After a day of touring this charming beautiful city, recharge like we did in Charleston Place’s pool and hot tub, or nap on the outdoor garden terrace. Or reward yourself with a Spa treatment like Luxe 24 Karat Gold Facial or Champagne of the Sea Pedicure. Ken and I decided on culinary pampering, so we made reservations for lunch at the chic airy Palmetto Café. The menu looked so tempting, with dishes like Seafood Tacos, Crab/Avocado salad, and Strawberry Sangria…. We arrived at 12:30 for our romantic lunch. Two dozen of my favorite Charleston friends and family were there to say “Surprise” and Sing Happy Birthday. My darling Ken had organized a wonderful party and what better place than Charleston Place Hotel, where the staff makes a huge effort to insure your happiness.
You just never know if all the wonderful Serendipity in your life is because of Luck or Divine Intervention. I THINK IT’S BOTH.
DESTINATION INFORMATION UNITED STATES ALABAMA Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau (205) 458-8000 www.birminghamal.org Hunstville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau (256) 551-2235 www.huntsville.org ALASKA Alyeska Resort (907) 754-2592 www.alyeskaresort.com ARIZONA Visit Phoenix (602) 452-6250 www.visitphoenix.com
DELAWARE Kensington Tours 647-880-1581 www.kensingtontours.com FLORIDA Franklin County Tourist Development Council (850) 653-8678 http://www.saltyflorida.com/ Leigh Cort Publicity (904) 806-3613 http://www.leighcortpublicity.com/ IDAHO Visit Idaho (208) 334-2470 http://www.visitidaho.org/
ARKANSAS Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau (479) 783-8888 www.fortsmith.org/
LOUISIANA Visit Baton Rouge (225) 382-3578 http://www.visitbatonrouge.com/
CALIFORNIA Visit Oxnard (805) 385-7545 www.visitoxnard.com
Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau (318) 429-0658 http://www.shreveport-bossier.org/
Visit Palm Springs (760) 778-8415 www.visitpalmsprings.com
Alexandria/Pineville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (318) 442-9546 http://www.theheartoflouisiana.com/index. cfm
Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (562) 495-8345 http://www.visitlongbeach.com/ San Diego Zoo Global (619) 685-3291 http://sandiegozoo.org/
The Ehrhardt Group (504) 558-1795 http://www.theehrhardtgroup.com/
Visit Pasadena (626) 395-0211 http://www.visitpasadena.com/
MASSACHUSETTS Open the Door, Inc. 617-536-0590 http://www.openthedoor.biz/
COLORADO Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association (970) 945-5002 http://www.glenwoodchamber.com/
MICHIGAN Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau (517) 377-1423 http://www.lansing.org/
MISSOURI Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce & CVB (417) 243-2137 http://bransoncvb.com/
RHODE ISLAND Discover Newport (401) 845-9117 www.gonewport.com
The Beenders Walker Group (573) 636-8282 http://www.tbwgroup.net/
TENNESSEE Cherohala Skyway National Scenic Byway (423) 442-9147 http://monroecounty.com/
Maryland Heights Convention & Visitors Bureau (314) 548-6051 http://www.more2do.org/
NEW YORK Dutchess County Tourism (845) 463-5446 http://dutchesstourism.com/
Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation (716) 282-8992 x 309 http://www.niagara-usa.com/ NEVADA City of Henderson Department of Cultural Arts and Tourism (702) 267-2171 www.cityofhenderson.com
OHIO Tuscarawas County Convention & Visitors Bureau (330) 602-2420 http://www.experiencecolumbus.com/columbus-ohio.cfm?id=7778 OREGON City Pass (503) 292-4418 www.citypass.com/ Lincoln City Visitor & Convention Bureau (541) 996-1271 www.lincolncity.org/
KERALA The Travel Planners (905) 230-2701 Www.ttpkerala.com
South County Tourism Council (401) 489-4422 www.southcountyri.com
TEXAS New Braunfels Convention & Visitors Bureau (830) 608-2803 http://innewbraunfels.com/ Nacogdoches Convention & Visitors Bureau (888) 653-3788 http://visitnacogdoches.org/ VIRGINIA Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau (VA) (757) 728-5316 http://visithampton.com/ Virginia Beach CVB (757) 385-6645 http://www.vbgov.com/Pages/home.aspx WASHINGTON San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau (360) 378-6822 http://visitsanjuans.com/ WEST VIRGINIA Pocahontas County CVB (304) 799-4636 http://www.pocahontascountywv.com/
PUERTO VALLARTA Visit Puerto Vallarta (212) 633-2047 Www.visitpuertovallarta.com