Twist Travel Magazine Issue #11

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editor's note It's been an interesting year so far. Trips cancelled, kids not going to camps and missed date nights and outings with friends. So, how are you doing? As we pulled this issue together in the midst of a global pandemic, we asked ourselves this question a lot. Sometimes we were doing fine, soaring on a creative high, while other times we just wanted to crawl into bed with a good book and escape from the world. Even without travel as a part of our daily lives right now, we can still travel through food, books, fashion, home design, cocktails and more. After all, if you are like me, you have been purging everything in your basement and getting rid of the things that don't bring you joy, sometimes on a weekly basis. It's time to bring the joy of travel back into your life and we know just how to do it. Live vicariously through our section on Mexico, and mark your calendars for our retreat to Merida next year. Create a luscious outdoor escape inspired by Provence, France. Or simply mix up a batch of our rum cocktails and impress the neighbours at your street's next happy hour. You deserve it! Oh, and start planning out your next road trip. We have a ton of ideas, especially after our recent trek out to North Dakota to escape the crowds and see a (new to us) National Park. The roller coaster continues as we head through summer, finding new ways to experience the world and travel. This issue is dedicated to all of YOU who are fueling your wanderlust in new and unexpected ways. We are thrilled to be on that journey with you.



Angie Orth

Brianna Simmons

Caroline Makepeace

Claudia Laroye IG @angieaway IG @casualfoodist IG @ytravelblog. IG @thetravellingmom

Jordana Gagnon

Katja Gaskell

Karilyn Owens

Lesli Peterson IG @jordanagagnon IG @globetotting IG @nobackhome IG @365AtlantaTraveler

Lindsay Garbacik

Tai Kojro-Badziak

Tammilee Tillison

Tara Cannon IG @tammileetips IG @pintsizepilot

IG @ lindsaygarbacik

Tawny Clark IG @captainandclark IG @taifire

Tyler Mallory IG @tylermalloryphotos

Zoey Goto

Storm the office pup IG @zoeygotowriter IG @walkingontravels

Success is not final, Failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts • Winston Churchill

Issue No. 11 Publisher: Walking On Media LLC Editor-in-Chief: Keryn Means Contributing Editors: Claudia Laroye and Tawny Clark European Editor: Katja Gaskell Food Editor: Tammilee Tillison Designers: Keryn Means and Baylee Bouveng Cover Photo: For editorial inquiries, please contact: Sales Offices: Washington, D.C. London, UK Vancouver, Canada For advertising inquiries, please contact: Please send all general questions and inquiries to: COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Twist Travel Magazine is published by ©2020 Walking On Media LLC No part of this magazine may be reproduced without permission of the publisher. Digital issue may contain affiliate links. WWW.WALKINGONTRAVELS.COM


Table of Contents 5 | THE TWIST


Eco-friendly products, luxe-hotel escapes at home and the best summer vegetable recipes to tackle.

Two families, two very different trips, one incredible destination. Get your bags packed and let's go!



Essential reads before you head south of the border, even if you can't travel right now.

South of France style made easy with our pick of the best products to transform your outdoor space.



Stylish, colorful cocktails for warm summer nights with friends.

Mountains, beaches, cities and more in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and North and South Carolina.



How to create the ultimate luxury staycation without ever leaving home.

Two families take a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, navigating the ins and outs of travel with friends.



These 10 fun games will make long journeys fly by we promise!

Wake up to the sound of the sea at these cool beach hotels perfect for everyone in the family.



Founder of the fair trade and sustainable fashion brand Rafi Nova shares her travels and inspiration.

A weekend in the capital and our favorite beach towns plus Day of the Dead festivities, recipes and more. Vamos!



Summer is here and that means new adventures, road trips and day trips albeit all close to home this year. Come along as we discover new books to read, rum cocktails to make and eco-friendly products that can turn your home into a luxury hotel escape this season. Plus fresh fruits and veggies to indulge our senses.




Hello warm summer weather! Whether you have your vacations planned already or plan to stay safe at home, there’s always time for a few last minute products to get you through the long days of the summer. From cooling sheets to a backpack lined with fabric made from water bottles to SPF you’ll actually want to wear, we have you covered. Check out our seasonal favorites for some of the best products to keep your life stylish, healthy and fresh.

FASHION Mini Backpack • $295 Made from the vegan Technik-Leather and lined with microfiber made from 100% recycled plastic water bottles, this backpack can hold it all without harming the environment. The brand’s vegan leather weighs about half as much as leather does, is guaranteed to have no imperfections and is biodegradable. It's the perfect stylish yet functional summer accessory to spice up any outfit. Tortoise Shell Cateyes • $35 These vintage-looking tortoise shell sunglasses are the perfect way to add an Audrey Hepburn-esque flair to any outfit. The brand, storebyindy, is a small business led by a Brooklyn-based woman, whose aim is to create stylish eyewear inspired by New York City. Throw on these sunglasses with that high waisted swimsuit and go!


Abundance Towel • $68 This towel was created in collaboration with Filipino artist Chi Gibbs, and was inspired by the architecture and color of Palm Springs. It is made from 85% recycled materials and contains about 8 recycled plastic water bottles. It is sand repellent and highly absorbent. Kodak Luma 75 Pocket Projector • $169.95 Bring the movie theater to your backyard this summer with this pocket-sized projector. It connects to most devices and offers a 40”-80” display. Your house is sure to be the neighborhood hotspot every weekend, so be sure to get the popcorn and blankets ready. Eucalyptus Sheets • $169 Cool to the touch, hypoallergenic and naturally dyed, these sheets are made entirely sustainably from eucalyptus. This is a more environmentally friendly alternative to cotton sheets, as eucalyptus plants take ten times less water to grow than cotton. These sheets are guaranteed to get softer with each wash and to feel cool, perfect for those hot summer nights!

BEAUTY Cloud Paint • $18 This lightweight, gelcream blush blends easily into skin, leaving a rosy glow, perfect for getting that sun-kissed look without the pain of a sunburn. This can be easily dabbed onto the cheeks or wherever else needs a hint of color. It comes in six shades and is made cruelty free and with a hypoallergenic formula. Supergoop! Glowscreen • $36 This lightweight SPF 40 sunscreen not only goes on sheer, but leaves the skin with a lasting pearlescent glow, so it is perfect for everyday wear. It hydrates the skin while also acting as a primer to keep make-up looking fresh and in place. The sunscreen also contains cocoa peptides which work to shield your skin from blue light damage. Awaken Exfoliating Body Scrub • $14.99 With summer comes *gasp* bare legs! Try this Allure Best of Beauty winner the next time you go to shave your legs. Using a gentle body exfoliator before shaving can leave the skin feeling soft, smooth and ready for shorts. This scrub is made from seaweed, and is vegan and cruelty free.

! o c i x e M a v i V



By Catriona Rainsford • When Englishwoman Catriona Rainsford happens upon a group of itinerant Mexican street performers, she decides to join them as they journey across Mexico. The book is packed full of colourful characters and is a fascinating insight into the country, Mexico’s urban poor, corruption, violence and the kindness of strangers. UNDER THE VOLCANO

By Malcolm Lowry • First published in 1947, this novel is widely hailed as one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. Set in Mexico in the late 1930s, the story takes place during the Day of the Dead festival and tells the last day in the life of the alcoholic exconsul Geoffrey Firmin. It’s a simple tale told in an elaborate manner; a text filled with symbolism, flashbacks and allusions. DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

By Juan Pablo Villalobos • This was the debut novel of Mexican author Juan Pablo Villalobos, published in 2011 to rave reviews. Tochtil (or ‘rabbit’ in Nahautl, Mexico’s indigenous language) is the son of a drug baron and lives in a palace that is visited by hit men, corrupt politicians, dealers, prostitutes and other unsavoury characters. A darkly comic novel that explores the underbelly of life in Mexico.


By Reyna Grande • The bestselling – and troubling – memoir by Mexican author Reyna Grande offers an incredible insight into what it’s like to be an undocumented child immigrant in the United States. The story starts in Mexico, where she lived in poverty and follows her journey crossing the border illegally and trying to establish a life with her family in the US. LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE

By Laura Esquivel • Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel tells the tale of the all-female De La Garza family. The youngest daughter, Tita, has been forbidden to marry and instead is bound by tradition that says she must look after her mother until she dies. There follows a complicated confluence of events bound together by cooking - the only time Tita can truly express herself. BORN TO RUN: THE HIDDEN TRIBE, THE ULTRARUNNERS, AND THE GREATEST RACE THE WORLD HAS NEVER SEEN

By Christopher McDougall • The reclusive Tarahumara Indian’s of Mexico’s Copper Canyon are the world’s greatest distance runners. For centuries they have practiced techniques that have allowed them to run hundreds of miles without rest. In 1993, one of them, aged 57, came first in a prestigious 100-mile race wearing sandals. In this book, the author travels into the canyons to try and learn their secrets.






Serves 4 INGREDIENTS POLENTA 1 1/2 cup milk 1 1/2 cup water 1 cup polenta 1/2 tsp salt 2 tbsp cream cheese SHRIMP 1 tbsp olive oil 2-3 cloves garlic 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined 12 oz marinated artichokes drained and chopped 1/4 cup lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS TO MAKE THE POLETA In a medium saucepan bring water and milk to a boil. Add the polenta and stir until it reaches a thick, creamy texture. Stir in the the salt and cream cheese. TO MAKE THE SHRIMP 1. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant and golden, about 1 minute. 2. Add shrimp, lemon juice and artichokes to pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until shrimp are pink and cooked through. TO SERVE Divide polenta among 4 plates and top with shrimp and artichoke mixture.



FRESH, LIGHT, SMOKEY AND SWEET; THIS CARROT MINT SALAD WITH HONEY LIME DRESSING IS AN EASY FAMILY-FRIENDLY SIDE DISH. THIS SALAD IS VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE AND COMES TOGETHER IN JUST MINUTES. Makes 4 servings INGREDIENTS 1 pound carrots 1/4 cup fresh mint sliced HONEY LIME DRESSING 1 tbsp honey 1 tsp lime zest 1 tbsp lime juice 1/2 tsp cumin 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper 1 tbsp olive oil INSTRUCTIONS 1. Whisk together the honey, zest, lime juice, cumin, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Slowly add in olive oil while continuing to whisk until the dressing is combined. 2. Grate the carrots using a box grater or shredding blade of a food processor. Add the carrots and mint to the dressing and toss to combine.



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Rum Cocktails


Rum is synonymous with summertime cocktails, and for good reason: rum is made from a fermentation of sugar byproducts pressed from sugarcane, which in turn is produced in warmer regions including the Caribbean and the Philippines. In fact, Rum originated in the West Indies in the 1650s. Much like the terroir driven varietals of wine, rum can take you on a cross-global journey, weaving together place and history while serving up a multitude of refreshing beverages. Rum has a personal expression wherever it’s made - from the wide range of varieties of Cuban rum and rich dark Jamaican rum redolent of molasses to the new clean rums of New Orleans distilleries. Distillation, barreling, ageing and preference create an array of possibilities. Add in the historical ties to sailors, explorers, pirates and buccaneers, and the rum almost tells its own tales! The rums in these recipes were all sourced directly from distilleries and producers and may not be available in your local shops. Talk to your liquor vendor for alternatives to these specific varieties and next time you’re in rum country, bring something unique home! Each recipe is for 1 cocktail; double etc as necessary

Hibiscus Daiquiri The daiquiri is a classic New Orleans cocktail. But this is a true daiquiri, far removed from the saccharine, electro-colored smoothie variety. This one combines the basics: white rum, fresh lime juice, and a simple syrup. Hibiscus syrup provides a wonderful floral yet tart undertone and gorgeous coloring. Let the syrup mellow a day or two for a boozy Hawaiian Punch like flavor! 2 oz white rum - I used Calio Rum from New Orleans 2oz hibiscus syrup Juice of 1 lime Fill a shaker with ice. Add the rum, hibiscus syrup and lime juice; shake until frothy. Pour it all into a glass and enjoy with the sun on your face!

HIBISCUS SYRUP Hibiscus Flower - or Flor de Jamaica in Spanish - is a dried edible flower that is often used for juice and tea. I love the color, and the floral yet tangy flavor. You can buy hibiscus quite affordably in many ethnic groceries, as it is used throughout hispanic, mediterranean and middle eastern foods. ½ cup hibiscus petals 1 cup water ½ cup sugar In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. When sugar is dissolved, add hibiscus flowers. Stir, remove from heat, let steep anywhere from 1 hour to overnight. Strain out the petals (you can use them elsewhere or eat them directly). Syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 month



Walking through a north American spring forest, the ground carpeted with violets, it occurred to me that violets are edible - and thus the foundation of this gorgeous beverage featuring foraged wildflower syrup and a heady Cuban rum. The floral freshness of the violets marries the molasses tones of the rum and becomes a delicious, elegant cocktail. 1oz violet syrup ½oz lemon juice 1oz Havana Anejo Especial Violet garnish

Fill a flute or other tall glass with ice. Pour in the violet syrup, then the lemon juice. The acid of the lemon juice will change the violet syrup into a lovely lavender color, so you’ll want to stir it well. Carefully layer the rum on top, and float a violet blossom as a garnish.

The Jay Walker This is a front porch slammer for hot summer days and a few too many might have you running in the streets! The peppery kick of fresh ginger, the acidity of lime, and the richness of the rum create a fantastic refreshing drink. I used Manikou Rum, from Marseille, France. This is the rum that started my obsession with regional rums, as I had never made the connection to French rums before. The Manikou family has been producing rum for generations, and their rum cellar has varieties dating back to the early 1800s. If you can’t access Manikou, try any medium weight golden rum. I served this in a small jelly jar - you may want to double the recipe if you’re using a Ball jar - which would be perfectly appropriate! 2oz rum ½ fresh lime Fresh ginger Soda water Lime for garnish In a cocktail shaker, mix ice, 2 oz rum, lime juice from fresh lime, 2 or 3 grates of fresh ginger. Shake vigorously. Pour into a jam jar, top with soda water and a lime garnish. Cheers!

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Create your own

Luxe Hotel Experience at home BY ZOEY GOTO • ZOEYGOTO.COM



Bedroom Cocoon

Hotel spaces generally have the advantage of being created in one fell swoop, by a designer with an overarching vision. In contrast, our homes tend to be an a culmination of furniture collected over the years, trinkets from travels and sentimental items. It’s time to take a fresh look at each room in terms of its overall theme. Take out items that don’t fit in with a room's specific vibe. This will help to create tidy surfaces with just a few coordinating key-items on show, providing a more harmonious feel.

The best hotels know that guests sleep better when insulated from light and noise. If you don’t already have them installed, invest in some blackout blinds or curtains to block out the light. As an added bonus you may even get some extra shut-eye, if your kids tend to be early risers. Grab a white noise machine for soothing ocean, rain or fan sounds that will lull you to sleep.

Reinvent your bed

You can dot a few vases of freshly cut flowers around the house to brighten rooms and lift the mood. Pop down to your local farmer’s market or flower shop to find what is in bloom, just like the pro-florists do at hotels.

One of the best parts of staying in a lavish hotel is sinking into a spacious, pristine bed at the end of the day. If your mattress is showing its age, consider buying a new mattress topper, which can add comfort without the expense of a new mattress. Also, pick up a set of new sheets from The White Company or splash the cash on an opulent bedding set from The Ritz-Carlton.

Add a new scent

Room Service

You know you’ve arrived somewhere special as soon as you walk into an upscale hotel lobby and inhale. Hoteliers tend to be expert at using scent to create ambience. If they really know their stuff on the aromatherapy front, you’ll leave with a fragrance memory that will forever remind you of the time you escaped to that secluded spot with nothing but rolling waves and blue skies as distraction. Create some escapism in your own home with essential oils in a diffuser or candles.

One of the delights of a hotel visit is indulging in some next-level cuisine. If you’re looking to recreate this joy during your home hotel staycation, a good place to start is by introducing breakfast-in-bed on the weekend. Pancakes, a fruit plate, freshly ground coffee, orange juice and some warm-out-the-oven croissants will all be victorious hotel breakfast copycats. Don't want to deal with dinner? Order food from your favorite restaurant and have it delivered!

Add a few Fresh Flowers


Luxe products we can't live without

1. Molton Brown Orange & Bergamot Aroma Reeds; 2. Tiffy & Tallulah: Mummy & Mini Cooling Gel Eye Pads; 3. NEST Moroccan Amber Luxury Reed Diffuser; 4. The Ritz London Book of Afternoon Tea; 5. ishga Spa at Home; 6. Molton Brown Orange Bergamot Hand Cream; 7. L'OCCITANE Uplifting Room Spray; 8. SNOOZ white noise machine; 9. BEURER Aroma Diffuser; 10. SKANDINAVISK











At Home Spa

Afternoon Tea

Carve out a few hours for some self-care, indulging in a micro spa break in your own bathroom that takes you to the wilds of Scotland. Bring the Scottish Hebridean Islands inside with the Ishga spa at home collection. Harnessing the natural therapeutic properties of seaweed for maintaining healthy and youthful skin, Ishga products can be found in plush hotel spas worldwide, including The Balmoral in Edinburgh and The Kimpton. Their spa collection box has everything you need for a relaxing evening in, including soothing bath salts, Hebridean sea salt scrub, a luxurious organic body oil and candle, all of which smell divine.

Replicate a quintessentially English high tea in your own living room, with the help of The Ritz London Book of Afternoon Tea: The Art and Pleasures of Taking Tea. This high tea bible will soon have you rustling up finger sandwiches minus the crusts and brushing up on your loose-leaf tea knowledge. Some tinkling piano music in the background should add a touch of decadent Ritz ambiance. Just don't forget the scones, jam and tiny desserts. Whip up a few for yourself, or better yet, call your local bakery and place an order for tiny treats you can pick up and serve at home.

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Eco List

Eco Products Guide

As we’re all spending the bulk of our time at home, now is the perfect opportunity to ensure it’s as sustainable and toxinBY ZOEY GOTO • ZOEYGOTO.COM free as possible. Zoey Goto rounds up the best eco switches for the home. 6




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1 GUPPYFRIEND WASHING BAG Reduce plastic pollution with this smart wash bag solution. Simply pop your synthetic textiles in the Guppyfriend, wash as usual and the bag will collect even the tiniest of microfibers, preventing them from contaminating our waterways: 2 VIDA NATURAL, PLASTIC-FREE KITCHEN SET Green-up your kitchen in one easy swoop, with this essential kitchen set from Vida Natural. The vegan dish washing block will eliminate the need for plastic-clad liquids, whilst the wooden soap rack and brush help to keep things low-waste and look pleasing on the counter: 3 TABITHA EVE’S NONE SPONGES Possibly the prettiest dish sponge in all of the land! The Tabitha Eve None Sponge is made from bamboo, cotton and linen, making it the perfect alternative to throwaway sponges. Best of all, they come in a range of gorgeous designs. 4 WHO GIVES A CRAP Aiming to help the 40% of the global population who don’t have access to a toilet, Who Gives A Crap donate half of all profits to improving sanitation in the developing world. It’s a lovely example of how a mundane everyday purchase can really impact those in need, plus the hip packaging is bathroom-shelf ready: 5 NEAL’S YARD BEE LOVELY HAND WASH This organic hand wash smells as sweet as honey whilst also creating a positive impact. A percentage of sales are donated to charities helping our little bee friends, with the aim to protect 50 million of the vital insects by the end of the year:

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6 NEOM ORGANICS LONDON REED DIFFUSER Ah, and breathe! This 100% natural diffuser uses lavender, Brazilian rosewood and jasmine to bring a sense of calm and relaxation into the home. NEOM are known for their organic ingredients and ethical practices, working to reduce the chemicals in our environment, whilst creating beautiful scents with aromatherapeutic qualities. 7 ECOEGG LAUNDRY EGG This nifty little egg completely replaces the need for both laundry detergent and fabric conditioner bottles. Simply pop it in the drum and the natural mineral pellets inside the egg work their magic on lifting dirt. Lasting for an impressive 70 washes before the pellets need replacing, the Ecoegg also makes a handy travel companion, being ideal for hotel room hand washing: 8 TODDS COIR SCOURERS A great alternative to synthetic scourers, TODDS are made from entirely biodegradable natural coconut fibre. The organic scourers are hand crafted in Sri Lanka with a percentage of each sale donated to the SOS Children's Villages charity, supporting the local communities: 9 OCEAN SAVER CLEANING PRODUCTS Single-use plastic cleaning bottles could be a thing of the past, thanks to Ocean Saver’s genius range of cleaning products. Simply pop one of the little concentrated pouches into an existing bottle, add water, and voilà – you have a toxin-free, plant based cleaner that’s ready to go:

Travel Planning 101

Road Trip Games to Make the Time Fly BY LESLI PETERSON • 365ATLANTATRAVELER.COM

Road trip games can be the secret to maintaining family sanity when the end of that long and winding road isn’t yet in sight. As a family of five, we often travel by car and find that playing travel games creates long lasting travel memories. Bonus, these ten road trip games are great for adults too!

20 Questions

You have 20 questions to figure out what the person is thinking. Start broad and get more specific as you go – Is it an animal, vegetable or mineral? This game is also available in an electronic version.

License Plate Game

You can play this a number of ways. Go through the alphabet A-Z or Z-A using the letters on the license plates you pass on the road. For more advanced players, try to spell words. You can also keep track of states to see if you can find all 50 on your trip.

How Long is the Tunnel

Sharpen kids’ power of perception with this game. Find something and have them guess what it is you found. Give the kids clues until they figure it out. I spy with my little eye…. something that is blue. Round. Smooth. You can also get I-Spy books.

When I was a kid, we visited my grandparents in NYC and always had to go through the Holland Tunnel. Right before we entered the tunnel, we’d all pick a number, then start to count. Whoever got closest without going over won. Of course, my brother the cheater would always slow down or speed up so he’d be the winner. This is one of my favorite games to play with my kids.

Word Association

Mad Libs


What do you think of when I say Spiderman? That’s how you start word association. The first person says something and the next person has three seconds to associate the word with something else. So, Spiderman, Batman, Robin, Bird, parakeet, pet. See? If someone takes longer than three seconds, or the word they say doesn’t make sense, they are out.


Making travel a part of your annual financial planning helps determine how much you can afford to travel, where you can go, and most important, how you can save for those bucket-list trips. Once you’ve sketched out your travel plan, ensure your budget matches those dreams, or find the ways to make that happen.

Rock, paper, scissors

It’s an oldie but a goodie, and my kids can play forever. Pound your fist three times than come up with a fist for rock, index and middle finger for scissors and a flat hand for paper. Rock crushes scissors. Scissors cut paper. Paper covers rock.

A perennial favorite road trip game. Not only is it hysterical to read the stories, but kids learn the parts of speech. You can find a Mad Libs for any interest. My boys love the Star Wars themed ones.

Sticker Books

Kids love stickers. You can get books that will tell a story, or just books with their favorite characters. Hours of fun.

Travel Chess

Although this game has a lot of pieces, they are magnetized, so they stay on the game board. You can also get Travel Checkers and Travel Backgammon too.

Spot It! On the road

Spot It! is one of our favorite games and we play it with just adults too. This simple card game uses just symbols, so even small children can play. There are five games you can play with one set of cards, but our favorite is just spotting the symbol that matches. Sounds easy, but not so much.

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She Gets Around

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Anyone who loves to travel knowns how transformative a trip can be. But not all of us translate that passion for seeing new places with starting a new business. Rafi Nova is a fair trade and sustainable fashion brand – and the fifth child – of husband and wife team Marissa and Adam Goldstein. The company was conceived in May 2019 and is named after their four children: Raya, Efi, Noa and Eyva. Marissa and Adam had experience working and manufacturing in Vietnam for other brands but wanted to create products that met the ever-changing needs of families while serving and connecting communities. They launched Rafi Nova in mid-February 2020 to bring their own sustainable, fair-trade family-focused vision to life. The company’s initial focus was to create products including backpacks, pouches and diaper mats. However, owing to the global pandemic, they pivoted quickly to producing masks as well. At Twist, we love the story behind Rafi Nova and so we asked Marissa to answer some questions about the company, her family, living and working overseas and the inspiration behind Rafi Nova.

CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT RAFI NOVA? Rafi Nova is a social enterprise on a mission to create products that meet the ever-changing needs of families while serving and connecting communities. We founded it as a fair-trade fashion brand to equip adventurous families with sustainably made travel bags. We shifted our focus to face masks in February to solve the urgent needs of families and communities. Our brand was founded to connect families to artisans around the world. Rafi Nova's masks are made in New York and Vietnam. Our travel bags are made from vegan leather, 100% recycled fiber lining, and upcycled and fair-trade vintage textiles from ethnic women artisans in Southeast Asia. WHEN DID YOU START THE COMPANY AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO DO SO? My husband, Adam, and I came up with the idea for Rafi Nova in May of 2019. We spent about 9 months developing the product and brand and relocated to Vietnam in order to oversee our production and manufacturing. We officially launched Rafi Nova in midFebruary of 2020, only to find out a few weeks later, that we would be pivoting production to masks. Our inspiration for Rafi Nova comes from a combination of our expertise in manufacturing, our love of traveling, and from being parents to four young children. We wanted to create a brand with a mission that people could resonate with and products that would inspire people to get out and go on adventures. YOU CURRENTLY WORK WITH WOMEN OF THE FLOWER HMONG ETHNIC COMMUNITY OF SAPA TO CREATE YOUR PRODUCTS, DO YOU PLAN TO WORK WITH OTHER COMMUNITIES IN OTHER COUNTRIES? Our goal is to work with ethnic women artisans around the world. However, we feel strongly that in order to work with these women, we need to develop a relationship and spend time with their community. We started with the Flower Hmong because we spent time with this community in Northern Vietnam when we lived there. CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE PRODUCTS THAT YOU CURRENTLY PRODUCE? We conceptualize our products in house. As a mom of four kids under the age of four, I come up with concepts with parents in mind. We have designers both in the United States and in Vietnam. We have very close ties with the factories in Vietnam, which allows us to rapidly produce prototypes.

DO YOU HAVE PLANS FOR OTHER PRODUCTS IN THE FUTURE? We are coming up with new products every day. We have the ability to rapidly produce prototypes and market test them. We are very mindful of creating products that are ethically manufactured and sustainably produced, so we are very hands-on in the production process. We began with backpacks and pouches, and now we are making masks. We are planning on creating complementary products, as well as new summer products, such as apparel and accessories. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? I love coming to work every day because of the amazing people that we work with. I also love talking to customers who love our brand and really get our mission. Now that we are producing masks, I love that we are able to provide a product that people need as well as help others. By donating a mask for every mask purchased, we are able to give back to others in the community.


SOME PARENTS FIND THE IDEA OF TRAVELING WITH ONE CHILD OVERWHELMING, BUT YOU TRAVEL WITH TWO SETS OF TWINS! WHEN DID YOUR CHILDREN FIRST START TRAVELING AND WHERE DID YOU GO TO? Traveling was ingrained in our children in utero. When I was twelve weeks pregnant with Raya and Efi, Adam and I took a two-month cross-country trip in our two-door red Fiat. They were born at thirty-six weeks, and ten days later, I applied for their passports. When they were five and a half weeks old, Adam and I took them to Aruba, which was their first time out of the country. When they were four months old, we left for a twomonth trip to Israel. The day after their first birthday, we relocated to Vietnam, where we then lived for eighteen months. In Vietnam, we traveled every weekend. They had been to twenty countries before they were potty trained. WHEN DID YOU START TRAVELING? My parents always encouraged me to get out and see the world. In middle school and high school, I took advantage of every chance I could to travel. I was constantly signing up for service opportunities and school trips. After I graduated high school, I decided to take a gap year in Israel. The day after I applied for the program, I met my Adam, who would become my husband, who was also planning on going on that same program.

WHERE IS ON YOUR WISHLIST TO VISIT FOR WHEN WE CAN TRAVEL AGAIN? We will definitely go back to Vietnam. We also have not spent any time as a family in South America, which is something that we want to do. WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH KIDS? Have low expectations. Be flexible. Don’t overpack HAVE YOU HAD ANY FAMILY TRAVEL DISASTERS?


When we lived in Vietnam, we did a lot of last-minute weekend trips. Last November, we decided to go to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand with the four kids. When we got to the airport in Thailand to head back to Vietnam, we were stopped. We realized that I had accidentally messed up one of the twins’ birthday on their visa, and we were told that they could not board and that the next flight would be in four days. So, I had to fly with three kids back to Vietnam, and Adam stayed behind. They flew through three different airports in Thailand in order to get back to Vietnam.

Before we had kids, Adam and I booked a trip around the world. We made twelve stops in six months.


WHERE HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO TRAVEL WITH THE KIDS AND WHY? Southeast Asia has been my favorite place to travel. It’s relatively easy to travel within, inexpensive, the people are kind, and it’s very kid-friendly. My favorite trip, in particular, was our trip with the kids to Laos.

Traveling, especially as a child, opens up your eyes to different aspects of the world. It’s important for kids to know what really goes on outside of their immediate community. I also think it’s very important for parents to travel with their kids; as a parent, going on an adventure with your kids changes how you parent. You have to learn to be flexible and to allow things to just happen.



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As our plane approached the scattered islands in the middle of the vast ocean, we wondered if the Galapagos was all it was cracked up to be. Small jagged parcels of volcanic land jutting out of the sea with only a few sandy beaches to be seen. From above, the islands looked empty, devoid of buildings or people. The Galapagos Islands, located approximately 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, are often considered a dream destination for photographers and nature lovers. I have long fantasized about visiting the Galapagos, getting up close to animals found nowhere else in the world mysterious birds, spitting lizards and giant tortoises roaming the land. However, as a solo parent, my budget could never stretch to the many thousands I felt were needed to visit. Upon researching for my annual birthday trip, however, I discovered that in recent years it has become increasingly popular to visit the islands by land and that it could be done quite economically. While not considered a budget destination, my 9-yearold and I recently found that it can be, not only affordable, but also extremely family friendly.




A visit to the Galapagos Islands is as amazing as you think it will be. This is a place where lizards swim, birds have blue feet and sea lions have priority for beach-side benches.

Most of the islands in the Galapagos are uninhabited, but there are three main islands that visitors can stay on Santa Cruz Island, San Cristobal Island and Isabela Island. The first two islands have airports connecting to the mainland allowing guests easy access. Our suggestion is to fly into one island and out of the other to maximize your time and see the most of these fascinating islands. Once on the islands, you can easily transfer between the three islands by local ferry boats (speed boats). No one trip will allow you to see all of the islands stretched out over hundreds of miles. However, by visiting even a few of the islands, you will see a ton of wildlife, hike volcanos and lava tunnels, snorkel with giant sea turtles, visit land tortoise reserves and more. For families who love adventure, nature and wildlife, this is a dream come true. The islands also proved to be much more family friendly that we had anticipated. From the availability of soft adventure activities like snorkeling off the sandy beaches, to the small walkable towns and availability of kid-friendly food, we found the Galapagos to be ideal for families.

All three islands offer different opportunities to explore. Santa Cruz and San Cristobal are the most town-like with paved streets, markets and all the amenities tourists require. On both islands there are options to hike in the highlands with Galapagos tortoises, swim at pristine beaches filled with sea lions and marine iguanas as well as take day trips to see an array of underwater life like giant sea turtles and blue-footed boobies. Santa Cruz is more populated and popular due to the cruise ships that make stops at the island. It is here that you can also visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn more about the islands, tortoises and how you can help protect them. While San Cristobal Island offers a similar feel to Santa Cruz, it's more spread out and filled with even more wildlife. Walking around, you'll run into sea lions, bluefooted boobies, frigate birds, marine iguanas and more.

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Isabela Island on the other hand, is by far one of the most magical. Looming volcanos, streets made out of soft sand and wildlife around every corner, Isabela Island provides a peek into how life might be without human intervention. Here, visitors can bike out to a pond to spot wild flamingos, hike a volcano and snorkel with penguins and sharks right off the beach. Watch out for the penguins, they nip if you get too close! This slow-paced island is also where visitors can book one of the best day trips in the Galapagos - to Los Tuneles. Dr. Seuss-like landscapes await you with blue footed boobies dancing on the craggy volcanic land with giant sea turtles swimming below. Don’t forget to hop in the waters in search of sleeping sharks and tiny seahorses for one of the most spectacular and unforgettable adventures of your life. The beauty of the Galapagos Islands is that every island offers its own unique landscapes, flora and fauna. As it turns out, a visit to the Galapagos Islands is as amazing as you think it will be. This is a place where lizards swim, birds have blue feet and sea lions have priority for beach-side benches. Here, humans are merely onlookers into the wondrous workings of the natural world.

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO Getting Around: Flying to the islands is available with only 3 local airlines. Book your flights directly with the airlines to avoid mistakes with “locals only” fares. Once on the islands you can walk or take a taxi almost everywhere. Transportation between the islands is typically on speed boats taking 2 hours each way. There are internal flights on small airplanes for those who experience sea sickness but they are more expensive. How Much Time Do We Need? As with every destination, the longer you have, the more you can experience. For families, we recommend a minimum of 10 days to visit the 3 inhabited islands. You can spend 3 days on each island, with plenty of time to transit between the islands and the mainland. When to go: There is no bad time to visit the Galapagos Islands. The high season is often cited as January through May when the water is warmest. March and April tend to be the hottest and wettest months and August is the coolest. For families with small kids, visit when the water is at its warmest in March. What’s Your Budget? Opting for a land based trip means that you have more flexibility in your budget. You can book cheaper accommodation when needed, take fewer tours and eat at local establishments. Flights to the Galapagos from the mainland will cost around $300-$500 per person return. Accommodation can be found for as cheap as $50 a night for basic family run hotels and much higher for all-inclusive resorts. Eating out in the Galapagos is much like in the west with meals from $5 a person up to $30. Land tours to see the tortoise reserves are approximately $40 per car. Tours of the islands will be your biggest expense. These run from $90 to $250 per person per tour. One nonnegotiable cost is the $100 national park fee for all who enter the islands either by boat or plane. A 10 days trip for two will cost approximately $2000. What's the best age for kids? It is said that 70% of the sightseeing in the Galapagos Islands is actually under water. So rather than a specific age, I recommend that your children be able and willing to snorkel. Kids 8 years and up will typically be able to experience most everything on offer in the Galapagos. Money: The currency used in the Galapagos (and Ecuador) is the US Dollar. ATMs are limited on the islands, so bring enough cash for your visit. Many larger hotels accept credit cards, however cash is still king for meals and tours.


A trip to the Galapagos Islands had been on our bucket list for as long as I can remember. Other than the obvious giant financial obstacle, once we had kids, my husband and I decided that we should wait until they were at least old enough to fully appreciate such an amazing adventure. At 9 and 12 years old respectively, we finally managed to make it happen. WHY CHOOSE A GALAPAGOS CRUISE?


Although we had never considered ourselves to be cruisers (and still don’t), after much research, we decided to see the Galapagos by boat. We wanted to get to some of the more remote islands – the ones that could not be reached on a day trip from the main island of Santa Cruz.

There are a few things to consider when choosing the right boat for your Galapagos cruise.

This was a decision that we would not regret, but for a different reason than we originally thought. Some of our best memories of the trip, outside of the spectacular flora and fauna, were the evenings spent totally unplugged – playing board games, watching sunsets and stargazing under a cloudless sky. Making the choice to cruise the Galapagos rather than do a land-based adventure definitely added to the cost of our trip. The bonus, however, was spending less waking hours getting places as the ships tend to do most of their sailing/motoring at night.


1. Size of Boat: Ships can take anywhere from 8 -100 passengers. Typically, the bigger the boat, the more extra amenities it can offer. The larger ships also have more naturalist guides on board so guests can be divided into tour groups by ability or interest. 2. Price: There are 4 classes of boats in the Galapagos (from least to most expensive): Tourist Class, Tourist Superior Class, First Class and Luxury Class. When choosing a boat, I suggest not getting too hung up on the little extras such as a gym or a hot tub. Quite frankly, the days are so busy, that you probably won’t have a chance to use them. 3. Suitability: Not all boats are suitable for families. While our boat welcomed children 7 and up, some have a minimum age of 12 years. Others offer special family trips during key school breaks.

I researched the boats and companies myself, and once we decided on our preferred boat (Haugen Cruises 16passenger Petrel), we booked directly with them. The boats are also often listed on third party agency sites which can be helpful when comparing the different offerings. Still, I felt more comfortable booking directly with Haugen Cruises. While I like to do all the trip planning legwork myself, a trip to the Galapagos isn’t the easiest thing to plan. With such an involved (and expensive) itinerary, I would recommend a travel specialist who can be called upon to work on rescheduling or refunds if needed. Cancellation insurance is also advisable.

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GALAPAGOS CRUISE TIPS Book Ahead: Key breaks like summer, Spring Break, Easter and Christmas can book out a year in advance. To get the best boat for your perfect Galapagos vacation, book early. Negotiate: Don’t be shy about asking for a deal. Narrow your search down to a couple of boats and then see which company can offer you the most attractive deal. In our case, we ended up getting our domestic flights and a one-night hotel stay in Quito included in our package at no additional cost. Pack Right: The geography of the Galapagos is quite unique. The islands are volcanic, offering little shade, with some rather rough and uneven terrain for walking. All the boats have a recommended packing list. For the best trip, people should follow that list to the letter.

HOW LONG SHOULD YOU GO? Galapagos cruises usually run on 4, 5, 6 or 8 day itineraries. The longer the itinerary, the more remote islands you can visit. Something important to keep in mind is that the itineraries are very tightly packed. This is not a relaxing vacation. A typical day can start with a 6am wake up call, include 2-3 excursions, and finish with an after dinner briefing of the next day’s activities. You tend to fall into bed at night. Note: We actually allowed our kids to skip two excursions during our 8-day trip. They stayed behind on the boat to play cards with a lovely retired lady who also found the itinerary to be a bit intense. If I were to do this trip over again, I would probably choose a 6-day itinerary.

COST Depending on the type of ship you choose, a Galapagos cruise will cost from $300 to more than $700 USD per person, per day. Some ships offer a 25-50% discount for children. Other costs to be aware of are domestic flights to/from the Galapagos from mainland Ecuador (roughly $500 USD adults / $300 kids), the national park fee ($100 adults / $50 kids), and the tourist transit card ($20 pp). Tipping on the boats is customary and can add up to an additional $15-$30 pp, per day, depending on the level of service.

GETTING THERE The Galapagos Islands are 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. Most visitors arrive by international flight to either Quito or Guayaquil and then take the short flight to the islands. Quito is the nicer city, but most flights from Quito stop to pick up more passengers in Guayaquil making for a longer day in transit. Once landing in the Galapagos, guests are picked up by bus transfer, taken to a dock and then shuttled by dinghy to the larger ship.

THE THING THAT MATTERED LEAST I spent a lot of time agonizing over which itinerary to pick and which islands to visit in the Galapagos. Honestly, unless you are a biologist that needs to see certain species, I think almost any itinerary would be impressive to most people.

THE BIGGEST SURPRISE As amazing as a cruise in the Galapagos is, it is quite exhausting. Many people book a Galapagos cruise as part of a larger South America trip. If this is your plan, I would highly recommend building in some rest days.

TRAVEL INSURANCE When booking any trip, you should get travel insurance that will cover the entire expense of your trip, as well as trip cancellation. This is particularly important when the unexpected (like a global pandemic) can happen without notice after you book.


e c n e v o r P


By Jordana Gagnon •

Tai Kojro-Badziak •

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or o d t u al O ç n e v o Pr tion a r i p s In g n i v i L

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Dappled sunlight warms your skin as chirping cicadas do their best to lull you to sleep. On the table, bright dishes complement the pin-striped fabric, joined by charcuterie and cheese on olivewood and marble paddles. A bottle of white chills in an ice bucket, leaking beads of perspiration. Time seems to stop and, for a brief moment, you catch yourself thinking that you’ll be just fine if your guests decide not to show, leaving you to drink in this dreamy vision all by yourself. Whether you’re celebrating sunny days with friends or on your own, summer is meant to be spent outside. With these French-inspired designs, you can capture the essence of the season; the light, the color, the laissez-faire attitude of Southern France. So, breathe in that imaginary Mediterranean breeze of sweet, sun-drenched lavender fields, let your thoughts drift to a sunlit sea glittering in the distance, and be inspired by all Provence has to offer, al fresco.

Fringed Macramé Hammock All-Weather Wicker Woven Amelie Outdoor Dining Chair With just a kiss of Parisian cafe street style, the aqua, navy blue, and antique white weave pulls in those mellow, Mediterranean sea feels. It’s the chair you’ll sit on as you pull apart freshly baked bread smothered with olive oil and juicy tomatoes, while toasting summer with a glass of bubbly again and again.

Liven up the yard – but not too much, since we’re embodying that laissez faire French style. This vibrant hammock will make every mid-day siesta a fiesta. It’s handcrafted from softspun acrylic yarn, which makes it weather resistant – so you can keep swinging, despite the fickleness of the weather.

Martine Ceramic Stool

All-Weather Wicker Lenco Outdoor Occasional Chair Morocco Dining Chair Stylish, comfortable and with an irresistible pop of color, these outdoor dining chairs will make you and your guests feel nearly regal with their fauxwicker high back design. Choose from a deep, gorgeous green, or sunflower yellow, depending on the color-palate of your outdoor space.

This chair’s beautiful open-wicker-weave adds a relaxed elegance to any outdoor space, and that’s just the start. Comfort is also at the forefront, as the 100% spun polyester plush cushion will have you feeling snug as a cicada in its comforting embrace.

Lattice Outdoor Lounge Chair

Round Peacoat Blue Cadiz Outdoor Bistro Table

Perfect for gathering around a fire table, this style of chair is both beautiful enough to bring a sense of sophistication to your outdoor lounging, yet comfy enough to settle in for a few hours throughout the evening. Pair this chair with the Lattice Ottoman to complete the experience!

Accent your backyard with the classic vibrant blue hues of the sea with this beautiful mosaic table’s hand-placed glass tiles. It makes the perfect side table for any sized outdoor space, adding both charm and character, as well as a spot to put that glass of champagne.

If color is what you’re thirsting for then you’ll be drawn to these vibrant ceramic stools. Choose from sea blue, sunshine yellow, or rich black. Patterned in an abstract speckled design, you’re sure to find delight in these simple, yet elegant stools. They can be used for a variety of purposes, from sitting, and placing drinks and food, to a spot for your favorite succulent to sit.

White Cement Mariela Outdoor Accent Stool The perfect perch for guests, drinks, or even planters, this clean, whitewashed cement stool is both subtle and striking, adding a gorgeous white accent to your patio space. Its abstract flower-petal design creates eye-pleasing contrast, and its solid cement construction makes cleaning a cinch, as you just need a damp cloth to wipe it down.

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Matte Latte Bowls, Set of 6 Another prep-meets-presentation bowl set, these matte bowls are not only super utilitarian but also gorgeous in their muted-matte coloring. Slice up some fresh fruit into one bowl; toss some creamy olives into another. Crush up some tomatoes, shallots, and garlic in the remaining bowls for a French-style bruschetta, and enjoy your feast of snacks.

Marble Salt & Pepper Cellars Salt and pepper never looked better. These beautiful marble cellars allow guests to pinch the precise amount they want – to taste! These cellars are handcrafted from pure white and black marble, and can be used as serving dishes too – especially for creamy-green, and salty-black olives.

Waiter’s Corkscrew Every good host has a readilyavailable corkscrew, and with this elegant stainless steel design, you’ll always be at the ready for any bottle that needs opening! This corkscrew is solid, it comes with a non-stick screw and is extremely affordable, so you can save those dollars for the very best bottles of wine.

Royal Limoges White Star Tea Cup Drink your after-dinner espresso in style with these star-etched cups. The subtle pattern, combined with the clean and simple shade of white, offers a perfect natural contrast to whatever you’ve decided to drink, from the blackest café Americain, to the richest, frothiest, Noisette.

Garden Tile Mug Beauty meets charm in these handpainted stoneware collectables, pulling you into your very own French romance. Perhaps you’re admiring tilework through sunlit cobbled streets, or maybe you’re inside a silent French cathedral, amazed by the vibrant floor tile mosaic below. Whatever the dream, this dishware will help you get there.

La Rochère French Bee Water Glasses Embossed with the symbol of Provence (some say it’s cicada, some say it’s the bee), these insect-stamped glasses add simple elegance to every glassful – be it sparkling water or a bright and blushing rosè.

Marble Hexagon Coasters These brilliant white marble coasters sit like pendants on your outdoor table setting, drawing the eye with their striking hexagonal design. They’re made from 100% white marble with subtle swirls of natural purple and gray hues, and we think they pair perfectly with Camella Juice Glasses!

Block Print Bamboo Melamine Pitcher Another piece where France and Spain dance, this tall, elegant pitcher acts as a centerpiece for your perfectly set, outdoor table, inviting conversation, glee, and perhaps even a version of the French Tango. Filled with white, rosé, or let’s be honest, your favorite sangria recipe, everyone who enters your backyard oasis will love this pitcher!

Block Print Bamboo Melamine Tumbler The bold, expressive patterns of Northern Spain and Southern France collide in these woodblock print tumblers to bring a fiesta-like vibe to your dinner party. Made from bamboo fiber melamine resin, they come in a variety of colors to boldly (mis)match every decor.

23.7 oz. Ornate Recycled Glass Bottle

Izzie Bamboo Melamine Dinner Plates, Set of 4 Bright as the sun and as playful as a sweet summer breeze, these marigold plates are a must when setting your personal Provençal scene. The easy-toclean bamboo-fiber melamine is kissed with a speckled finish to add just a touch more visual appeal.

Store fresh olive oil inside this beautiful recycled glass bottle for a striking look to your outdoor setting. Made from 100% recycled glass, you can feel good about your sustainable choice, as well as the easy-pour spout. Choose between a classic clear color, or our favorite, striking cobalt blue, that brings to mind the treasures of the Mediterranean Sea.

Olivewood Serving Bowl Marble Rectangle Tray Clean and classic, this marble rectangle serving tray is a beautiful backdrop for bright and fresh, colorful ingredients. It can be used for French-themed cuisine, certainly, but it can also double as a holder for colorful Mediterranean-style planters, where their vibrancy will contrast beautifully against the clean, white marble stone.

7 oz. Menage Bulb Vinegar Bottle Charming, simple yet sophisticated, this little vinegar bottle should be a staple at every table. Store your balsamic, your red wine vinaigrette, even your apple cider vinegar for fresh and ready usage. Guaranteed to brighten up any table.

Marbled Acacia Cheese Board Chocolate marble marries acacia wood in glorious ceremony in this immaculate cheese board design. Choose from a single or double handle board (or both) to spoil your guests with the very best presentation of French cheeses.

Mason Cash Mixing Bowl

Perfect for tasty amuse-bouches like mini souffles and other pastries, this olivewood serving bowl will fit everything you fancy. The natural grain of the olivewood will age as gracefully as the cheeses you serve inside it.

Use these calming, sky-blue porcelain mixing bowls for kitchen prep, and especially for kneading your signature French-inspired breads. These bowls can also double as serving dishes for fresh and zesty salads on a hot summer afternoon or soul-warming French onion soups during those cool summer storms.

Olivewood Rustic Cutting Board

Marble Cheese Knives

For a true statement-piece of a cutting board, try this glossy olivewood rendition that will not only patina beautifully, but fit the variety of meats and cheeses you’re thinking of serving. With every cut you make, this board will honor and remember it, and become all the more beautiful for it.

Dive deep into perfectly aged blue cheese, rich camembert, sharp old cheddar and of course, that glorious wheel of brie! These clean, simple, and dare we say, cute, marble cheese knives will go with every outdoor dining decor, and of course, with every kind of cheese.

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Acorns & Foliage Mustard Tea Towels, Set of 3 Solar Lantern Light String With durable tyvek shades that mimic that classic French linen, these twinkling lights will allow you to keep the conversation going well into those warm summer nights.

Get a pair of these rich and tasteful tea towels for a vibrant, charmed, and unforgettable evening. Designed by Parisian artist, Bruno Lamy, these tea towels are sure to brighten up the table, your outdoor kitchen, or even a backyard picnic – where the ants can’t find you.

Rebecca Atwood Blossom Table Throw This calming blue floral tablecloth makes an alluring setting with a few well-placed lavender candles, and a glass of dark red Boujolais. Made from a light cotton/linen blend, it’s machine-washable, making it easy to care for. It's the perfect pairing for a relaxed evening of sweet Mediterranean breezes.

Aqua Hand Painted Cement Ana Outdoor Planter Mining the Mediterranean for inspiration, this aquamarine planter pulls the gentle colors of the sea into your outdoor setting, even if you’re in that desert-like Arizona climate.

Soleil Beach Umbrella Feel like a garden goddess beneath this golden canopy on hot summer afternoons by the pool. A medley of teak wood and canvas, this umbrella is a charming addition to your backyard, made especially for lounging under on hazy, lazy days.

Olivewood Napkin Ring Tuck those napkins neatly inside earthy olivewood napkin rings to really pull your outdoor table setting together. The natural olivewood will go with any color of napkin you choose, from bright and vibrant patterns for a more playful evening, to staid yet sophisticated palettes for romantic or more formal gathering.

French Oatmeal Linen Classic & Stripe Tea Towels (Set of 2) If you’re more into neutral tones in the kitchen, try these striking oatmeal tea towels. They’re made in Roubaix, France and crafted from 100% linen, meaning they’re durable as well as stylish. The perfect accessory for any kitchen.

Jolene Napkins, Set of 4 No outdoor table setting is complete without a set of fine linen serviettes. These earth-toned napkins will make your guests feel like they’re dining at an artsy, free-spirited, ‘boho’ French banquet.

Gray and Blue Rustic Woven Stripe Linen Throw Pillow Exuding the rustic charm of a French farmhouse, these linen throw pillows keep things continental, laid-back and casual.

ROAD TRIP Family Weekend Getaway Ideas In The Southeast


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the Beaches of Onslow County

Onslow County, North Carolina is a hidden gem only 1.5hour flight from Atlanta (or about a 7-hour drive). If you’re looking for a beach getaway without the crowds, this is the place for you. With beautiful surf at beaches like North Topsail Beach, few people, and great vacation rental options, Onslow County is a fantastic place for your family getaway. Head out to the spectacular wide beach that is great for lounging, playing frisbee with kids, building sandcastles, and playing in the water. There’s fantastic fishing here too, plus plenty to keep the whole family entertained. Pack your gear – let’s go!


Did you know that North Carolina has a ski resort? Cataloochee Ski is perfect for winter weekend getaways on the slopes. The rest of the year is equally fun; hike Socco Falls or Waterrock Knob, visit the Transportation Museum, or take the kids gem mining in any season.


Charlotte Motor Speedway, historic homes, a gold mine, boutique shops carrying local artists works and familyfriendly vineyard make Concord and the area around it worth a weekend trip - or longer!




Visit the South Carolina Aquarium, take the Charleston Water Taxi to see the city and the dolphins, or tour the USS Yorktown at Patriot’s Point on the Charleston Harbor. Catch views from the Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge, or visit the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. There are plantations galore, and great beaches at Sullivan’s Island, Folly Beach and Edisto Beach.


Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden is rated number one in Columbia, SC, but there is plenty more to do on your visit. Stroll the historical walking path at Riverfront Park, or get out into nature at Harbison State Forest where there are hiking and biking trails aplenty.


If you love Charleston, you will be just as smitten with Beaufort, NC, part of South Carolina's coastal Sea Islands. Explore the downtown historic district by bike, visit Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park or check out the John Mark Verdier House Museum, an early-1800s Federal-style mansion. Need to get on the water? Check out the local paddle boarding scene, lighthouses and river tours.

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Historic fountains, lighthouses, driftwood and big city living make Georgia one of our favorite states to road trip around when we need a new adventure.


Jekyll Island


St. Simons Island

Old Southern architecture meets modern art in this college town steeped in history. As the home of SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) you will always have a gallery opening to attend or new museum exhibitions to check out. The youthful vibe downtown has brought in an influx of local shops and restaurants, but it's the parks in the middle of the squares and old cemeteries filled with Spanish moss that keep bringing people back.

If museums and attractions are your idea of a great weekend, then you'll want to stay in Downtown Atlanta. The Omni CNN Center is the perfect location for a weekend of fun visiting the Georgia Aquarium, The World of Coca-Cola, CNN Center, The Children's Museum of Atlanta, Center for Civil and Human Right and Centennial Olympic Park. For the truly adventurous, book a swim with the whale sharks package at the Aquarium.

Once the playground of America's wealthiest robber barons, Jekyll Island is now a favorite family friendly beach destination. My niece loves to visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, but I'm a bit partial to the less flashy Tidelands Nature Center. Jekyll Island also has some of the best bike paths in the state. And like many other beach towns, there is mini-golf, so your kids can get their first hole-in-one on their next vacation too.

My favorite Georgia vacations are usually at St. Simons Island. I’ve spent the most time there whenever we need a quick getaway from Atlanta. The King and Prince is where you want to stay to be on the beach. The main pool looks over the ocean, which my son prefers. Me? I want the ocean. Wander through the town, grab some fresh seafood for dinner and watch the sunset over one of the most beautiful parts of the state.


It’s no secret that Tennessee is one of the most beautiful states in the South. It continually leaves residents and tourists in awe over its vast and unpredictable landscapes and dynamic cities.


Visit the Chattanooga Aquarium, the Children’s Discovery Museum, or the Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center when you are visiting with kids. We love to step back in time at the Chattanooga Tennessee Choo Choo with our kids, as well as the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. If you are starting to sweat, cool off at Coolridge Park.

NASHVILLE Walking tours, Segway tours, bus tours…there are plenty of ways to see Music City. Visit the Parthenon, Adventure Science Center, Radnor Lake or the Nashville Zoo. Just don't forget to grab your tickets to the Grand Ole Opry to see some of country music's up and coming - and top-selling - stars in a legendary historic venue .

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It's always awesome in Alabama. from beautiful beaches and art-filled huntsville to family-friendly mobile, there are plenty of places for a weekend getaway.

alabama beaches

The Alabama Beaches are among the most beautiful in the world. It took all my power to pull the kids from the white sand, but you have to explore Try a dolphin cruise or a visit to the Orange Beach Pirate Ship. Still need more? Head down to the Wharf, and don't skip out on the best food on the coast either.


When you head to Rocket City, you will want to wander through the Huntsville Botanical Garden, where there are plenty of things for kids. Monte Sano Nature Preserve and Hays Nature Preserve are among our favorites when we need to get outside. If you are looking for learning opportunities, Sci-Quest and Early Works are great stops. Don’t forget the US Space and Rocket Center, where you and your kids can go to Space Camp, climb into rockets and learn about the past, present and future of space travel.


Start at the Gulf Coast Exploreum Museum, then check out Fort Conde’s cannons when you get into town. If you need more, check out the USS Alabama, splash in the fountains of the Eastern Shore Center, visit the koi at Bellingrath Gardens and Home, or hang with the locals at Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Estuarium. No matter what you tackle first, you won't be bored in Mobile.



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It was almost midnight on Halloween; sleepless, I was scrolling airfares, thinking about Spring Break trips. I punched in a combination of dates, blinked, double checked, confirmed - I had hit the magic bullseye of wanderlust and opportunity and was staring at a great deal for a trip of a lifetime. I woke my husband with a whisper: “Spring Break. Chicago to Tokyo, direct. Super affordable for all three of us.” Then I texted the details to my best friend - we’ve both been talking about a Japan trip for years, and his son is in the same school district, so I knew our schedules were in sync.

AND THAT’S HOW TWO FAMILIES OF 3 FOUND THEMSELVES ON A NONSTOP FROM O’HARE TO NARITA IN APRIL. It wasn’t that simple of course - planning and managing a trip with two families, including a teenager and a kindergartener, a costume designer, two architects and a photographer means that there were 8 opinions for every one decision. None of us had ever visited Japan before, though we were all seasoned travelers. How did we plan it? What did we do? And how did the friendship survive?

P L A N N I N G As soon as we booked the tickets, I started vacuuming up information about Japan. I dove into blogs and books - not just travel guides, but also memoirs and etiquette guides. The cultural differences between American standards and Japanese norms are almost mythical have you ever wondered what to do with your shoes when you enter a restaurant? I wanted to make sure we’d have a grasp of expectations and good behavior. As we spent evenings pouring over information, our list of “must dos” and “can’t miss” grew ever longer. Fashion! Architecture! Temples! AND THE FOOD! But our trip was only 8 days. There was no way to see even a shred of everything, so we focused on two highlights: kinetic high tech Tokyo, and Kyoto, which offered a slower pace, and a gentler look at an older time. We had considered Airbnb and apartment choices, but ultimately decided to stay in more traditional hotels on this trip. Western ideas of personal space are very different than those in Japan, and that shows up in shared accommodations quite quickly. We found a number of Airbnb options that could house six or more but there would be cramped living rooms and often only one shared bathroom. Furthermore, there were no cost savings for a shared apartment. With almost no knowledge of Japanese cooking and our intent on a delightful exploration of the cuisine oft he country, we weren’t likely to take advantage of a home kitchen. After all, who wouldn’t want to try at least one coffee from the heated vending machine?


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In Tokyo, we stayed at the Centurion Grand Hotel Akasaka Mitsuke, which was well located in a classic bustling neighborhood. Our room was compact but comfortable with Western-style mattress beds and a wonderful breakfast banquet. In Kyoto, we selected the Hatoya Zuihokaku hotel, conveniently located adjacent to the main train station. This modern onsen (spa) hotel features a rooftop indoor/ outdoor spa space, and a range of room options, including tatami style or Western style beds.




shinkansen trains for 7, 14 or 30 days depending on purchase. The cost of the adult pass is equivalent to a round trip ticket to Kyoto, so if you plan on traveling outside of Tokyo, it’s a great purchase. Japanese trains are notoriously punctual. Make sure you check your timetables and travel times.


Most US-based flights to Japan land at Narita International Airport, about 45 miles from the heart of Tokyo. Car service into the city is available, but the JR Narita Express train is much easier and faster - trains depart regularly throughout the day, leaving every 30 to 60 minutes, direct to Tokyo Station. There are a number of other train services as well. The JR Pass is valid on the JR Narita Express. In Tokyo, the best way to get around is on the efficient subway system, which has signs in both English and Japanese. Purchase the reloadable Pasmo or Suica cards at kiosks, abundant at every station; some take cash only but most accept credit card. You use the pass to swipe in and out of the stations. Fares vary based on distance traveled; adult fare is for anyone 12 or older, child fare is age 6 -11, and those under 6 are free (no more than 2 free kids per paid adult fare.) Other cities also have excellent tram, bus and metro systems. These are always clean, efficient and safe (but rarely 24 hour service!)

In Tokyo, we balanced the electric buzz of Shibuya with temple visits and a quiet day in the park. A well-heeled walk through high fashion contemporary architecture in Aoyama and Omotesando balanced with Harajuku’s street fashion boutiques and tasty hole in the wall ramen shops.

Japan is famous for its shinkansen (bullet trains), and it’s the best way to travel between large cities. The JR Pass is a rail pass valid for foreigners only, which offers unlimited access to certain levels of JR local and


Japan has an incredible wealth of discoveries. Sensory overload high-tech robot cafes sit next to monastically silent sushi omakase restaurants; world renown fashion houses are adjacent to the centuries old indigo dye manufacturers. History and the future meld at every step, with a connecting link of quality and curiosity. There is something for anyone who appreciates any kind of fine craftsmanship - the challenge is narrowing down what to visit.



We had to forgo any formal dining experiences particularly the magically intimate omakase dinner we had hoped for. Eight-seat restaurants have a hard time accommodating a party of 6, especially when one of them is in a stroller. Instead, we discovered that the department store basement food courts offered truly astonishing grab-and-go options to be enjoyed in the nearby parks. This, and oddly enough, the 7-11s, are the secret weapon to anyone trying to feed kids at any hour. The teenager in our group brought his skateboard along, which turned out to be a super ice breaker and helped him connect with local kids his age.

In Kyoto, we visited warrens of vendors in the commercial market, sought out a shoebox-sized knife shop on a quiet side street, prowled jade green bamboo forests in the breaking morning light, and climbed through an endless path of of vermilion Torii gates at Fushimi Inari, passing temple upon temple. On the way back down the mountain, a small cafe drew our interest, and we paused at Amazeya Suemitei, a tiny cedar-lined shop offering homemade amazake, a cloudy sweet fermented drink that warmed us in the chill spring air. Later, we walked down the impossibly atmospheric Pontocho Alley, a narrow cobbled street lined with restaurants and tiny shops. Nothing could beat Pontocho Park for our 5-year-old: the slides, built into a hill, and cherry blossom trees exploding in blooms offered hours of delight. The families split up for the last day, pledging to connect back at the airport. While our friends went to visit the Suntory distillery in Osaka and enjoy a different city, my family went back to Tokyo for the last night, for a visit

to the incredible Mori Building Digital Museum, an immersive, digital mapping experience from The tram ride across the Rainbow Bridge to this entertainment island was worth the adventure itself, showing an all new perspective of the city. As we headed back to the airport, we had miscalculated our arrival at Tokyo Station and had the one crisis of the trip. Laden with suitcases, we had exited the subway at the wrong stop, and could not figure out how to get to Tokyo Station to catch the train to the Airport. We hopped in a cab, only to be caught in gridlock traffic, a block from the very furthest remote entrance to the train station. Our white-gloved driver hid his horror as we broke all the rules of etiquette: thrusting the cab fare in his hand without using both hands or the tray, we threw our luggage over the traffic barrier before unceremoniously hopping over ourselves. I flipped open the stroller, commanded my daughter to hop in, and then RAN for the station. Hearts pounding, desperately aware that the trains are NEVER late, we frantically searched for the Narita Express signs. Caught in the crush of rush hour, we felt like we were Mario and Luigi, bombarded by people, flashing lights and obstacles all along the path. We missed the first train, but still had time to spare so long as the next train was on schedule. Biting our nails with worry, we laughed when we found our friends on the same platform - they too had missed their initial departure train from Kyoto. As the Narita Express arrived in the station, we hopped on board, sighing with relief as it departed the platform, right on schedule.


Multi-generational group travel can be very challenging, but with some thoughtful planning, realistic expectations, and good communication, it can be very rewarding. We were all part of the trip planning process, including the kids, and we worked out itineraries that would acknowledge all of our interests, while creating space for discovery and adjustments. Being clear on hotel expectations, how to split costs, and overall budgets are very important at the very outset. Having multiple adults certainly helps with kid attention too and the kids could play together as well, relieving parents for a time. We were all careful to provide personal time and space when needed, and welcome togetherness when available. I am happy to declare that yes - we are still friends - and planning more multifamily adventures!

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The Ultimate Glamping Guide

WITH OVER 70 OUTDOOR GETAWAYS ACROSS 9 COUNTRIES, THIS HANDY COFFEE-TABLE BOOK FEATURES: ✦ Roundups of unique outdoor accommodations at vineyards, wildlife sanctuaries, hot springs, state parks, and more ✦ HoneyTrek Tips offering the best deals, local secrets, and testedand-approved travel advice ✦ Vacation Matchmaker pinpointing the best destinations for your trip style ✦ Packing lists, cooking ideas, handy apps, and booking sites to get you glamping



UNWIND AT THESE FAB BEACH RESORTS There's nothing quite like staying near the ocean. Drifting off to sleep with a sea breeze and waking up to the sound of the waves gently hugging the shoreline surely has to be one of the best feelings in the world. Summer holidays might look a little different this year but we still wanted to share some of our favourite beach properties with you - bookmark them for future travels! From stunning sunrises in North Carolina to a colourful hotel at the heart of the local Jamaican community, here are our top picks for beachside living.

INN BY THE SEA By Keryn Means •

THE BLOCKADE RUNNER By Caroline Makepeace •

ROOST, OCEAN SPRINGS By Claudia Laroye •



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Just twenty minutes outside of downtown Portland, Maine, you will find the Inn by the Sea, a luxury resort on a hill right above one of the most gorgeous beaches in the state. This Silver LEED certified ocean resort is comprised of mostly condo-style units, with a handful of standard hotel rooms. Best of all, thirty percent of the property is pet-friendly, so you don’t have to leave your fur babies at home. We stayed in a spacious second floor two-bedroom, onebath unit with a living room/kitchen/dining room combo that lead out to a balcony overlooking the sprawling grass lawn of the inn. If I looked left I could see the ocean. If I looked straight ahead, I could see the pool my kids were dying to go for a dip in, or play lawn games with other young guests. Navigating the Inn by the Sea’s main facilities were pretty easy. Everything is central to the main building and fans out on either side. If you happen to like animals, don’t miss the foster dog in the reception area who is ready and waiting to meet you. We were lucky enough to see the latest foster pup get adopted while checking in, which is not a rare occurrence at all for the Inn by the Sea. The bar is located on one side and the restaurant on the other just past reception. Walk past the restaurant, through the double doors and view the outside seating

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area or head to the lawn for a game of corn hole, or to simply relax in an Adirondack chair. Just don't skip dinner at the Seaglass Restaurant on site. The Seaglass restaurant at Inn By The Sea serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their kids' menu is pretty standard, which was just fine for my boys after a long day of travel and playing around Portland. Loads of fresh fish and vegetables are on the menu for parents looking to indulge their tastebuds and they do take food allergies seriously. Plus many of the waitstaff also babysit on the side if you need a sitter one day or for a date night out. Our favorite part of this coastal inn? Access to the beach of course! Little did I know that Maine had more than rocky cliffs and rough waters. The Inn by the Sea has a boardwalk that takes you right down to a large sandy beach perfect for swimming, making sand castles or simply taking an evening stroll to watch the sun set.


40 Bowery Beach Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107 WEB SITE STARTING PRICE



The Blockade Runner ADDRESS


Time is life’s greatest luxury. When you can dedicate an hour to watch the morning sky gently rise from deep orange to rose pink over the ocean (from under the covers of your bed), you know you are wealthy and in the right place. This is your vacation stay at the oceanfront Blockade Runner Beach Resort on Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. It’s an unhurried, gentle calling to reconnect with simplicity. This 50-year old boutique hotel, owned by a North Carolinian family, offers Southern grace and warm hospitality. The resort is located on the narrowest part of the barrier island, which means you are a few steps to the ocean and a few steps to the sound. Another of life’s luxuries: access to both glorious sunrise and sunset moments. Upon check-in you enter a dreamlike watery world. A giant colorful sculpture resembling a sea anomie greets you, fish swimming above the bar on a blue tiled background beckon you to play, and aqua color waves spanning the ceiling invite you to slip into Island time and life. This fun, light tropical décor continues throughout each of the seven floors, with unique styles like nautical and bohemian, creating a retro-hip look that merges with family-friendly, coastal heritage. Bright and elegantly decorated rooms are designed to steer you towards the view, either over the hypnotic waters of the ocean, or the bustling Intracoastal Waterway. Large glass sliding

275 Waynick Blvd, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480 WEB SITE STARTING PRICE $250/night

doors open your false balconies to let in some cool, water fed breezes. If you want to go lux, the large premiere oceanfront rooms offer a wide private balcony with an outdoor fireplace, and large bathrooms with soaking tubs and rain showers. You are spoiled for choice of water activities: kayaking, supping, surfing, sailing, diving and fishing. Many of which are available, with certified instructors, on the property, including morning yoga programs. Families also will enjoy the vast offerings of the kid programs. If you do get tired of the rolling surf and miles of pristine beachfront, you can move to the large expansive lawn area and tropical gardens of the resort, all managing to maintain your views of the beach. Take as swim in the pool, order a drink from the bar, or grab prime position on one of the giant swinging hammocks. Fire pits lay waiting for you in the evening hours. And if you do want to leave this escape haven; we recommend you exchange your car for a bike and get around Wrightsville style. Within a few pedals you’ll find yourself at many local farm-to-table establishments, craft breweries, and beach bars. Now that is simple luxury at its essence. Time just slowed down for you.

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As far as luxe boutique hotels in the American South go, The Roost in Ocean Springs on Mississippi’s Secret Coast is a fabulous find. Located in a restored historic building, The Roost Boutique Hotel is steps from the vibrant and eclectic main street of this southern town, and a leisurely walk to the white sandy beach along Mississippi’s Gulf Shore. Each room at The Roost is tastefully decorated and one of a kind, reflecting the elements of the original Porter House building. From large suites with seating areas and woodblock artwork by local artist Walter Anderson, to rooms with distressed wood walls and fitted with an antique pirogue (pee-row) on the ceiling as an ode to the area’s coastal culture, this property is welcoming in down home, chicly southern style. ADDRESS

604 Porter Ave, Ocean Springs, MS 39564 WEB SITE STARTING PRICE $175/per night

Amenities include what must be one of the most beautiful outdoor porches in the South, perfect for rocking the evening away. The upstairs gallery is a bright space fitted with comfortable reading loungers. The Hotel features a few drink and food options, including an on-site speakeasy style bar called The Wilbur. A gentle push on the faux bookcase reveals a small seating area serving up delicious craft cocktails and small sharing bites. The bar also has an outdoor patio to enjoy a relaxing evening with friends. Eat Drink Love offers a casual grab-and-go market and catering for lunch or dinnertime picnic baskets to carry to the beach or enjoy on the porch. Other excellent dining options in Ocean Springs include the charmingly quirky Greenhouse on Porter, which specializes in sweet and savory freshly-bake biscuits covered in your choice of house made jam or ‘fluff’ (provenance unknown but delicious). For dinner, book a table at James Beard-nominated Vestige for unforgettable farm-to-table dinner. Chef Alex Perry and his wife Kumi Perry create culinary magic with fresh Gulf seafood, locally grown fruit and vegetables and grass-fed beef and pork from nearby farms. The menu changes with the seasons but the food is transcendent



One of the newest luxury resorts in the Bahamas, the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar embraces the spirit and warmth of this popular Caribbean island paradise. Located on the north shore of the friendly island of New Providence, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is part of a larger resort complex that includes two other hotel properties, SLS and Rosewood. Each offers its own individual style, though Grand Hyatt features the most family-friendly amenities among the shared spaces. The spacious suites (230 out of 1,800 guestrooms) at the Grand Hyatt are an appropriate nautical blue and white with gorgeous views of the inviting turquoise Caribbean Sea below. The entire property stretches along the soft white sand of Cable Beach, and features six spectacular pools, including family-friendly Dean’s Blue Hole, Drift and the Lagoon. A new waterpark area near the Beach Club is under construction and should be open in the coming years.

ADDRESS ADDRESS 1 Baha Mar Blvd, Nassau, Bahamas 16205 SE Kreder RoadDayton, OR 97114 WEB SITE WEB SITE STARTING PRICE STARTING PRICE $95/night $275/night

Additional activity areas include an Aviary, Flamingo Cay, The Sanctuary animal conservation area and Kids’ Explorers Club. Among the colorful walls of the shipstyle Explorers Club, kids aged 3-12 are kept busy with arts and crafts activities, beach visits, talent shows and even Tiny Chef cooking classes. Food options on-resort are as varied as spicy tacos and poke bowls available at beach-front food trucks, to Paris-inspired croque madame breakfasts with café au lait at Café Madeleine, sushi at Katsuya (in a beautiful room designed by Philippe Starck) and fine Chinese cuisine at Shuang Ba. Everyone will love the Bahamian Popsicle Bar, while littles may enjoy ‘after school’ noodles at Stix, or a Breakfast Dog at Sandy Dog. Between the variety of dining and activity options, colorful cabanas, and excellent service, families and couples will relax and reconnect among the palms and pools at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar.

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Located on Treasure Beach on Jamaica’s south coast is Jakes Hotel. Far away from the big resorts that clutter other corners of the island, this laid-back family-run hotel is the perfect place to soak up the best of Jamaica. Unlike the rest of the island, however, this nook gets little rainfall. What this means is that Treasure Beach looks very different from the green and lush Jamaica of postcards. Instead of palm trees you’ll see cacti and acai; and instead of white sand beaches you’ll find black sand bays. The geography is not the only thing that’s unique about Jakes. The hotel is wonderfully unique with Technicolor buildings in splashes of blues, pinks and acid yellow; paintings and mosaics throughout the property; outdoor bathrooms and a vintage car at reception. Jakes began life as a restaurant run by local Sally Henzel. It was so successful that guests began asking her to build somewhere where they could spend the night. And so Sally built the first property and then another and another until Jakes was born. Today, the hotel has a handful of different accommodation options all with whimsical seaside names such as Mussels, Cockles and Sea Dragon. The main hotel houses various rooms, some with views of the garden and others overlooking the ocean. There are beachfront bungalows that sit within touching distance of the sea and a handful of two- and three-

ADDRESS Calabash Bay Treasure beach, Treasure Beach, Jamaica WEB SITE STARTING PRICE $115/night

bedroom cottages. These come with a full kitchen and an outdoor shower - ideal for families. And then there are the villas, that come with a private pool and staff. This is no chi-chi hotel, however, Jakes is very much at the heart of the Treasure Beach community. They work with local fishermen and farmers to cultivate sustainable practices and they are involved with a local foundation that funds community projects. Plus, their ecocredentials are top notch with a solar-heated water system and their own waste treatment system. The other reason to come to Jakes is the food. Restaurant options include the Country Kitchen Restaurant, where you’ll discover the joys of papaya pancakes. The other dining option is Jack Sprat, on the edge of Jack Sprat beach. Come here for their authentic Jamaican dishes such as jerk chicken, fish and conch. In 2018 Jakes was named by Conde Nast Traveller as one of the 14 best family hotels and in the world and it’s easy to see why. Low-key and easygoing, it’s managed to find that perfect hotel magic that keeps guests coming back.

Spotlight ON MEXICO BEST BEACHES Viva la playa! Mexico's best beaches for families seeking sunshine.




How to navigate one of the world's biggest - and best cities in three days.

Soak up color, culture and history in some of Mexico's most magical towns.

Discover the traditions behind Mexico's most vibrant festival.

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Salsa Verde

INGREDIENTS 1-3 Cloves roasted garlic 1/4 White onion roasted chopped 1/2 Serrano chili, remove the seeds for a milder salsa 4 Roasted tomatillos Pinch of cilantro Lime juice and salt to taste

Carne Asada

INGREDIENTS 3 Lemons juiced 3 Garlic cloves minced 1/2 cup Sliced pickled Jalapeno peppers drained 1/2 cup Teriyaki sauce 1 tbsp Red bell pepper minced 1 tbsp Granulated sugar 2 tsp Kosher salt 1.5 pounds Beef skirt steak 12 Corn or flour tortillas Pico De Gallo 2 limes DIRECTIONS 1. Combine lemon juice, garlic, jalapeños, teriyaki sauce, bell peppers, sugar and salt in a bowl. 2. Place skirt steak and marinade in a gallon size zipsealed bag, working the marinade around the steak to make sure it is completely coated. 3. Place bag in a large bowl to make sure it does not leak in your refrigerator. 4. Refrigerate for 2 to 6 hours. 5. After the steak has marinated, remove the steak from the bag and discard the marinade. 6. Preheat your greased barbecue to medium heat. 7. Grill the steak for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. 8. Remove the steak from the grill and allow it to sit for 8 to 10 minutes to make sure it is really juicy. 9. Carve the steak across the grain into thin slices 10. Warm your tortillas in a skillet. 11. Top with steak and pico de gallo and serve with sliced lime.

DIRECTIONS 1. Grind the garlic in a molcajete 2. Add chili, onion and tomatoes, pinch of cilantro, salt and a few drops of lime juice 3. Mash until mix is well blended 4. Enjoy!

Mango Margarita

2 oz Tequila 1/2 tsp Triple Sec 1/2 cup Frozen mango chunks 1 cup of ice

Add all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Rim a margarita glass with lime juice and add salt to the rim. Garnish with a lime wedge.



Traditionally, visitors to Mexico bypassed the capital, avoiding the megacity and heading straight for the beaches instead. In recent years, however, Mexico City has had something of a makeover. These days, CDMX – as it’s been rebranded by millennials – is a cool place to visit, taking the number one spot in National Geographic’s annual list of top travel destinations last year. Ciudad de Mexico is a big city with an even bigger personality. Filled with a rich and colourful history there are plenty of historic sights and museums to visit. The food scene is excellent, from street stalls to restaurants that consistently rank among the 50 best in the world. Watch lucha libre displays and sail down the ancient canals of Xochimilco; shop at craft markets or in upscale boutiques; explore the hip Art Deco neighborhoods of Condesa and Roma, and the Centro Histórico, the beating heart of the city since Aztec times.

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DAY ONE – THE HISTORIC CENTRE 10am The best way to get a feel for the city is to jump on the Turibus and take a ride around the Circuito Centro, which takes in some of the capital’s best neighborhoods including the historic center. Hop-onhop-off buses might not be the coolest way to travel but when you’re in one of the world’s largest cities, they make a lot of sense. Get off at El Zócalo for a lesson in Mexican history. This enormous plaza is one of the largest city squares in the world. During Aztec times it was the main ceremonial centre of the capital Tenochtitlan. Since then it has witnessed royal proclamations, military parades, independence ceremonies and was the setting for the opening scene in the James Bond movie Spectre. 11.30am Visit El Templo Mayor, the Great Temple. The stepped pyramid’s staircase is where the bodies of those sacrificed were thrown once they’d had their hearts ripped out. Some kids find the blood and gore fascinating, others might prefer a more PG version. The accompanying museum is excellent and showcases all the objects discovered in the ruins – amazingly, excavation on the site only started in 1978.

1pm Head to Downtown Hotel. Housed within a beautiful 17thcentury palace, this hotel is also home to a handful of restaurants and shops selling Mexican design and fashion. Enjoy traditional Mexican dishes at Azul on the ground floor or grab a sandwich at the deli on the second floor. 2.30pm Wander along to Palacio de Bellas Artes (Bellas Artes Palace), one of Mexico City’s most prominent arts venues. It’s where the twiceweekly performance by the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico is held. It’s worth going inside even if you’re not seeing a show, however. The Art Deco architecture is impressive (look out for the stylised masks of the rain god, Tlaloc) and there are murals by some of Mexico’s most famous artists. These include El Hombre en Control del Universo (Man in Charge of the Universe) by Diego Rivera. If you really want to get a feel for how big Mexico City is, take the elevator up to the 44th floor of the nearby Torre LatinoAmericana. For the longest time this building was the tallest tower in Mexico City. Despite losing its title, the viewing platform still affords spectacular views over this megacity.

Treat the kids afterwards with a trip to Dulcería de Celaya, a candy store that was established in 1874. Little has changed since it first opened and the store continues to sell over 150 different types of homemade sweets and desserts. Alternatively, head to El Morro, a churreria open 24-hours a day selling little more than hot chocolate and piping hot churros – Mexico’s answer to the humble doughnut, but better! 6pm Climb back on the Turibus and head towards Condesa. This leafy neighborhood has a distinct village vibe with two parks, streets lined with Art Deco buildings the colour of fondant fancies and myriad cafes and restaurants. Take a stroll along Avenida Amsterdam (Amsterdam Avenue) to really get a feel for the colonia. The circular road was once the city’s horse racing track. Today, it’s a pedestrianised tree-lined path that runs through the heart of the neighborhood. Time your visit right and enjoy dinner in Condesa, this neighbourhood is jam-packed with great places to eat. Some favorites to try include Lardo, Cantina La Capital and Merotoro. Remember, Mexicans like to eat late!

DAY TWO – CHAPULTEPEC PARK 10am After breakfast, take a taxi to Chapultepec Park. This enormous green space is one of the oldest urban parks in the world. It once sat on the outskirts of the city but is today surrounded by the urban centre and is often referred to as Mexico City’s “lungs”. It’s also home to some of the city’s best sights.

2pm Stop by the Audiorama de Chapultepec, hidden beneath the castle. It’s a sheltered open space where visitors can sit on colourful wooden benches and listen to music. The entrance is in Section 1, near the oldest tree in the park and the outdoor chess game. Bring a picnic and enjoy lunch here.

Start at the Museo Nacional de Antropología, the National Anthropology Museum, home to the world’s largest collections of archaeological and anthropological artefacts from pre-Hispanic Mayan civilizations. Highlights include the enormous carved Sun Stone, or Aztec Calendar, and the Jade mask of the Zapotec Bat God.

3pm You’ve got various options now. You can either head to El Papalote, Museo del Niño or to Los Pinos. If you’ve got young children with you then don't miss El Papalote. This is Mexico City’s children museum and is brilliant. Filled with innovative, hands-on activities, you can easily spend the rest of the day making giant bubbles or creating animations.

Don’t miss seeing Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers). This ancient Mesoamerican ceremony is performed daily by indigenous Totonac people in a clearing near the entrance to the museum. Legend has it that the ‘dance’ was created to ask the gods to end a severe drought.

If you want to leave Papalote for another time then visit Los Pinos instead. Los Pinos, or The Pines, has been home to Mexico’s presidents since Lazaro Cardenas moved here in 1934 and is 14 times larger than the White House in the US. When the current president, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, took office on December 1, 2018, however, he chose to open the doors of the residence to the public instead. Vowing to lead by example, he has eschewed presidential perks including the residence, jet and security, and has taken a cut in salary.

12pm Nearby is the Zoológico de Chapultepec, the city zoo that first opened its doors in 1924. Amazingly, it is free to visit, which means that it gets busy at weekends but also that it is accessible to all. Alternatively head to El Castillo de Chapultepec, Chapultepec Castle. The castle sits at the top of el Cerro de Chapulin (Hill of the Grasshoppers) and has played various roles over the years; royal residence, military academy, presidential home and its current incarnation as Mexico’s National History Museum. Rooms are dedicated to different periods in Mexican history as well as the history of the castle.

7pm Leave the park behind and head to neighboring Polanco. This is Mexico City’s answer to the Upper East Side, filled with hotels, offices, high-end boutiques and restaurants. For fine dining, choose either Pujol or Quintonil. For something a little more low-key then the area known as Polanquito, ‘little Polanco’ has lots of options including Anatol, the restaurant in Las Alcobas hotel.

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DAY 3 – HEAD SOUTH 10am Jump in a taxi out to Coyoacán a small neighbourhood in the south of the city. The most famous address here is La Casa Azul, the artist Frida Kahlo’s childhood home and where she lived with her husband Diego Rivera. The house is filled with memories and personal items belonging to Frida and her husband as well as works by both artists. It gets very busy so it’s well worth buying tickets online and arriving early. 12pm Nearby is the Museo Casa de Leon Trotsky, the home where exiled revolutionary Leon Trotsky spent his final years before he was assassinated on Stalin's orders. The exhibits are a little dry when

compared to those at La Casa Azul but it’s still fascinating to see the stark rooms where he lived out the last part of his life. 1.30pm Coyoacán’s central square, and the setting for most weekend activities, are its central plazas Plaza Hidalgo and Jardín Centenario that sit opposite one another. Pick one of the cafes here for lunch. 3pm Travel by taxi for the half hour journey to Xochimilco, a network of canals and waterways that give a glimpse into pre-Aztec life. Long before Mexico City became one of the largest cities in the world, the Valley of Mexico was a vast lake with islands and floating gardens.

When the Spanish conquistadors arrived, however, they set about draining the canals, destroying the dams and building roads in their place. The only place where these canals still exist today is in Xochimilco. Floating along the green waterways on a jellybean-colored trajinera (a type of Mexican gondola) is a hugely popular weekend pastime. Families, groups of friends and couples cruise along the ancient canals with stereos blasting and the tequila flowing. Bobbing alongside are singing mariachis on barges; floating taco stands and locals selling colourful sombreros and ponchos from their wooden canoes.


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The hip and beachy town of Tulum stretches along a thin white sugarsand strip of coastline on the Riviera Maya south of Cancun. While it has a slight hipster rep, the beachside boutique hotel properties and quirky shops and fab restaurants make it an offbeat mecca for families, girls' getaways and romantic escapes. Activities range from touring ancient walled Mayan cities to swimming in clear blue cenotes and dancing to salsa beats sipping mezcal as the sun sets on the Caribbean Sea.

Baja California is blessed with an abundance of beach towns to meet every traveler's taste. The state capital of La Paz has a charming Malecon that winds along the shore past local shops and surprisingly affordable cafes and restaurants. Book passage to swim with gentle whale sharks in La Paz bay in season. Head towards secluded Balandra Beach for snorkeling, or to Isla Espiritu Santo to appreciate the scenic cliffs and catch glimpses of sea lions, and shorebirds.

The small fishing village of Loreto is situated on the east coast of the Baja California peninsula between the Sea of Cortez and the La Giganta Mountains. This laid-back 'pueblo mágico' charms visitors with its authentic food scene, a Mission heritage dating back to 1697, and its access to the UNESCO World Heritage Loreto Bay National Marine Park. Take an open-air panga boat to snorkel with tropical fish, dolphins, sea turtles and whales who spend winters calving and raising young.



The state of Oaxaca has a variety of Pacific coast beach towns who compete for 'best of' status. Puerto Escondido has some of the most popular surfing beaches, including the Mexican Pipeline at popular Zicatela Beach. Pitch a palapa and watch the action from the beach. East of town is Mazunte Beach, where the Mexican Turtle Center is dedicated to the preservation of sea turtles.

A popular destination for decades, Puerto Vallerta in Jalisco state is renowned for its beaches, water sports, cuisine and of course, tequila. The El Malecón beachside promenade is decorated with seainspired statues and is perfect for strolls and people-watching. The Old Town is home to charming markets and delicious food tours. Head south to Mismaloya Beach to enjoy the sun, sand and surf.

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There’s more to Mexico than the beach. Scattered around the country are dozens of colourful pueblos mágicos, ‘magical towns’ that showcase the rich heritage and history of Mexico. The pueblos mágicos programme was developed by the Mexican tourist board in 2001 to help promote the country’s vibrant history and culture through smaller towns that had previously been overlooked by visitors. Today there are over 100 towns that have been recognised as pueblos mágicos, each offering something a little different. Some have been chosen for their incredible food or fascinating architecture, and others picked for the amazing natural beauty or rich history. Start planning a cultural trip to Mexico with six of our favourite magical towns.

Malinalco, Estado de México The perfect pueblo mágico for an easy getaway from Mexico City is Malinalco. This small, good-looking town is filled with painted houses and steep narrow streets, and surrounded by emerald green mountains. It’s most famous for its archaeological zone, once home to the Aztec military elite, the Eagle and Jaguar warriors. You can climb to the top of the Cerro de los Idolos (Hill of the Idols) to see what’s left of the House of the Eagles.

Today there are over 100 towns across Mexico that have been recognised as pueblos mágicos.

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Back in town you must pay a visit to the Augustine monastery of the Divino Salvador. It’s home to some unique black and white murals that date back hundreds of years. For something a little more kidfriendly, visit the town’s bug museum and get your hands on all manner of creepy crawlies.

Real del Monte, Hidalgo

San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato

Unlike most colonial towns in Mexico, Real del Monte has a decidedly British feel – not least because of the weather. The town sits at 2,660m and is very often chilly and shrouded in fog. Real del Monte is an old tin-mining town and, at one point, was home to hundreds of Cornish miners who lived, worked and died here. You can even visit the British cemetery where all the miners – except for one – are buried with their feet pointing towards England.

Home to stunning baroque architecture, twisting cobbled streets and its famous pink sandstone church, San Miguel de Allende is one of Mexico’s most picturesque colonial cities. Located in the state of Guanajuato, in central Mexico, the city was originally founded in 1542 and is famous for being the first municipality to declare itself independent from Spanish rule during the Mexican War of Independence.

The first game of football in Mexico is credited with taking place in the mine yard at Mina Dolores Real del Monte and the first tennis match was apparently played here too. The other decidedly British contribution to Real del Monte are the Cornish pasty shops which are prolific and delicious!

Taxco, Guerrero Located to the southwest of Mexico’s capital, the hilly town of Taxco is famous for its silver jewellery production and colonial-era architecture. If you’re serious about jewellery buying come on a Saturday when the weekly market takes over the centre of town. Learn where the silver comes from with a visit TK caption to Mina de Taxco.

'Magical Towns’ showcase the rich heritage and history of Mexico

Tepoztlán, Morelos

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

The pueblo mágico of Tepoztlán is hugely popular with Mexico City residents looking to escape the capital. Legend has it that the area is the birthplace of Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent god, one of the major deities of ancient Mexico. Myths such as this one have seen countless spiritual pilgrims arrive in town to soak up some of the town’s perceived natural energies.

Chiapas is Mexico’s southernmost state and one of its most magical. This is where you’ll find the remains of the ancient Mayan kingdoms of Palenque and Yaxchilán. The cultural capital of the state is San Cristobal de las Casas, a beautifully-preserved colonial town.

Mysticism aside, the town is famous for its craft market and the remains of El Tepozteco temple built on the nearby Tepozteco Mountain. Climb to the top for amazing views across the valley.

Set in a pretty highland valley surrounded by pine forests, San Cristóbal is a lovely place to wander around with paved streets, houses in shades of yellow and orange and lively markets. Chiapas is home to one of the largest indigenous populations in Mexico, and life in many of the local villages has remained largely unchanged for hundreds of years.

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THE DEAD Mexico is filled with color and fiestas at the best of times but in the weeks leading up to Día de Muertos (the Day of the Dead) the country literally explodes with color. Bright orange Mexican Marigolds are everywhere along with colorful Catrinas; sugar skulls are iced in blues, pinks and yellows; and intricate papel picado (paper cutouts) hang in shop windows and homes. Mexico’s Día de Muertos is one of the country’s most popular festivals that is now celebrated around the world. You only have to look at the excellent animated movies Coco and The Book of Life to see how much a part of popular culture this festival now is. But despite its growing popularity, this is a festival with deeply rooted traditions that go back to pre-Hispanic times. During this holiday, the popular belief is that the deceased have permission to visit friends and relatives on earth and once again enjoy that which they did in life.

“The Mexican… is familiar with death, jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates it. True, there is as much fear in his attitude as in that of others, but at least death is not hidden away: he looks at it face to face, with impatience, disdain or irony.” Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz

The festival officially starts at midnight on October 31st, although families are often preparing in the weeks leading up to this, creating ofrendas (altars) in their homes. In most regions, November 1st is the day to honor children and infants and November 2nd is to remember deceased adults. Over the course of the holiday, families will visit cemeteries to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives. Today, Día de Muertos continues to be celebrated throughout Mexico. Each state has their customs – and the traditions remain particularly authentic in the small towns and villages – but the common theme is one of honor and remembrance for those who have died. It’s not without sadness, of course, but there is something very moving about the way that life is celebrated in Mexico, with families and friends gathering every year to remember those who have passed.




Known as flores de muertos or Mexican marigolds, these bright orange flowers are for sale everywhere in the run up to the festival. Their color is thought to represent the color and light of the Sun and Aztecs believed that the Sun would guide dead souls towards the right path. Traditionally, families place flower petals and candles along the path leading from the cemetery to home so that the departed souls could find their way back to Earth.

OFRENDA (ALTARS) Altars are assembled at home, in cemeteries and outside, in memory of a relative, or relatives, who have died. Traditionally these are decorated with flowers, photos of the deceased, brightly colored papel picado and food. Early Mexicans buried their dead with the deceased’s personal possessions and items that might help them in their next life. As such, miniature sculptures of favorite foods or small ceramic sculptures of hobbies that the deceased enjoyed in life might also be placed on the ofrenda.

PAN DE MUERTOS Food plays an important part in the festival and families place the ‘bread of the dead’ – a sweet, round bread decorated with bone-shaped dough and sugar with ‘bones’ – on the altar so that the spirits have something to eat after their long journey home. The bread itself is flavoured with orange and anise.



Possibly the most identifiable symbol of Día de Muertos is the elegantly attired female skeleton with her extravagantly plumed hat. She is known as La Catrina and was ‘born’ in the early 1900s as a cartoon designed to poke fun at Mexico’s wealthy classes. She was later incorporated into a mural by Diego Rivera, one of Mexico’s most famous painters, before becoming a figure of Mexican culture representing death.

In pre-Hispanic times calaveras (skulls) were often kept as trophies and displayed during rituals to symbolise death and rebirth. Traditionally, sugar skulls – made by carefully pouring sugar solution into moulds before decorating with colored icing – are also placed on ofrendas. They can sometimes be eaten but their main purpose is to adorn the altars. Today, chocolate skulls are also popular and these can definitely be eaten!

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WHERE TO EXPERIENCE DIA DE MUERTOS IN MEXICO No matter where you travel in Mexico, you will find Day of the Dead celebrations. The following are just some of the more famous Day of the Dead destinations. Some of these places get very busy and may not be suitable for younger children. MEXICO CITY Ever since James Bond witnessed hundreds of catrinas in El Zocalo in the opening scene of Spectre, the heart of Mexico City has enjoyed a cinematic parade for Día de Muertos. Hundreds of participants take part, starting at the Angel of Independence and ending in the Centro Historico. Expect enormous puppet skeletons, maskwearing dancers and elaborately decorated catrinas. PÁTZCUARO The Island of Janitzio in Lake Pátzcuaro, in the state of Michoacan, is the location of one of Mexico’s most famous Dia de los Muertos celebrations. The indigenous Purepecha people perform elaborate rituals in the local cemetery throughout the night. XICO One of Mexico’s pueblos magicos (magical towns), Xico, in the state of Veracruz, is famous for its colorful Day of the Dead celebrations, including an elaborate flower petal carpet along the road leading to the graveyard. OAXACA Dia de los Muertos is one of the biggest celebrations of the year in Oaxaca. In addition to elaborate altars, tapetes de arena (sand tapestries) are common – detailed pictures made out of sand in honor of the person who has died. Every year there is a giant tapete de arena outside the Museo del Palacio. One of the main cemeteries to visit is the Panteon General (the Oaxaca General Cemetery), also known as the Panteon San Miguel.

“Follow me, you need to see something special. All the world is made of stories and all of those stories are right here in The Book of Life. But the greatest story begins on the Day of the Dead, a day when spirits pass between worlds and anything can happen.” – Mary Beth the teacher in The Book of Life



VILLA ip to Why your next tr lude Mexico must inc

c a t e P a d n e i c Ha

Orange petals float gently through the air as we enter the gates to Hacienda Petac, a restored 17th-century estate in Mexico’s Yucatán province. Little did I know as we drove down the gravelled entrance, flanked by bright orange Flamboyán trees, that the cinematic driveaway was just the warm-up act for the main show. Hacienda Petac is one of many haciendas surrounding the city of Mérida, once one of the richest cities in the world. The source of all this wealth was ‘Green Gold’, henequen fiber from the agave plant that was harvested to make rope. Large haciendas were built on the outskirts of town to produce and manufacture henequen (also known as sisal) and many remain today, although many are in varying states of disrepair. Over the past few years, however, artists, designers and overseas buyers, have been snapping up these sprawling old haciendas and transforming them into luxury retreats. One such example is Hacienda Petac. Located roughly 45 minutes from Mérida town centre, this hacienda is one of the oldest in the area. It was bought in 2000 by American couple who spent the next three-and-a-half-years transforming it into a sophisticated home available to rent in its entirety, making it the perfect place to come for a friends’ reunion or a family gathering. Like many haciendas in the region, Hacienda Petac was built on the site of an old Mayan ruin (the Mayans always built where there was water and the conquistadores simply followed suit). It started life as a sugar factory before shifting to henequen production, which it continued until the mid 1970s.

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Today, much of the hacienda’s past remains visible; the

located in the Casa del Mayordomo, which was the

swimming pool was created from the well that once

original quarters for the henequen factory manager. Casa

irrigated the grounds, the 60-foot factory chimney is a

Ramon, is a new build with a fabulous terrace and two

water feature and the bar area was the original pay

bedrooms separated by a large living area.

station for the hacienda. Wooden hooks line the walls of the casa principal, that dates back to the 1600s and which

To say that we ate well during our three-day stay at

once served as the main building for the working

Hacienda Petac would be an enormous understatement.

hacienda. The building was constructed to be the perfect

The food here is, quite simply, divine. All meals are

width for hammocks and workers would string them up

freshly-prepared and showcase the best of Yucatecan

from these hooks after a hard day’s work.

cuisine. During our stay we feasted on delicious soups including sopa de tortilla and caldo tlalpeño, as well as

After production was stopped, the hacienda fell into ruin

traditional dishes of poc chuc (a tasty grilled pork dish)

and lay abandoned for years. Uninvited guests to the

and pollo pibil (chicken that has been cooked in the

property left drawings and scribbles on the wall of the old

ground). Breakfasts saw fresh fruit, banana bread,

factory. Rather than paint over them, the architect

generous helpings of chilaquiles and even a mint omelet.

responsible for the renovation framed them as if works of modern art. You can see the preserved graffiti in the

Every room comes with a small, cross-stitch sign saying

games room. It’s one of the most charming rooms in the

‘Café Please’, to hang on your door when you’re ready for


your morning coffee.

Today, Hacienda Petac is an award-winning estate and

What’s more, the table is decorated with flowers at every

one of the most luxurious haciendas in the area. There are

meal. Petals, leaves and flowers are positioned on napkins

seven bedrooms, divided among three buildings, that can

and along the table runner in a series of pretty designs.

sleep 14 people (15 maximum).

You’ll find similar flower art in your bedroom and bathroom when you arrive at Hacienda Petac.

At the heart of the property is the casa principal that houses the common rooms, the kitchen and bar, the

If you can tear yourself away from the dining table and the

indoor dining room, a small chapel and the outdoor patio

pool, the hacienda offers guests a number of activities,

where most meals are served. A turquoise swimming pool

including cooking lessons and a spa. Staff can also

sits nearby, bordered on one side by sun loungers and

organize tours of the Yucatán region for those interested

hammocks. The steps leading into the pool once acted as a

in discovering its history and culture.

measure of water for the hacienda. This state is jam-packed with cultural sights, beautiful Three bedrooms, including the one that I stayed in, the

beaches and wildlife encounters. If you only have a few

Chu Jun bedroom, can be found in the Casa de Maquinas,

days, however, I recommend the Mayan site of Uxmal, the

the old factory. Rooms here are huge with lofty ceilings

remains of Hacienda Yaxcopoil and X’batún Cenote. But

and generous bathrooms. A further two bedrooms are

don't stay away long, your Petac hammock siesta awaits.


MEXICO Join us for an all-inclusive long weekend in Merida, Mexico, filled with rest, relaxation, exploration, and of course, food. Learn More:

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In 2010 we were living in New Delhi, India and battling - for the second summer in a row - with the intense heat. With temperatures soaring well over 105F during the day and not dropping below 85F at night, we were desperate to escape the city and literally, run for the hills. The quickest way for us to head north to cooler climes was by train. Or so we thought. And so one night we headed to Old Delhi Railway Station to catch an overnight train. We arrived at 10.30pm, holding on tightly to the clammy hand of our two-year-old son and negotiating the crowds with our four-month-old daughter in a car seat. Train stations in India are busy at the best of times but the railway station in Old Delhi was heaving. The platform was packed with hundreds of people who only moved out of the way for wooden carts piled precariously high with enormous sacks of rice and television sets. We managed to find a small corner to wait for the train and that's when our travel nightmare really started.

We waited and we waited and the train never came. The kids became agitated and the station became even busier. Our regular pleas for train updates were met by increasingly curt responses that the train was on its way. After waiting for several hours, we called it quits and went home. We were determined, however, not to be defeated - and we were still aching to escape the heat. So, the next morning we piled into the car to drive to the hills. In hindsight, I still think this could have been a good idea. In reality, we took a wrong turn very early on in the journey and our five-hour trip turned into a 10-hour drive on potholed roads. The experience might have been worth it if we had then enjoyed a week in the hills. However, two nights later we had to turn around make the journey home again. Needless to say, this was one weekend trip we did not repeat!

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