Sipping cocktails al fresco never looked so good
The days of spring and summer travel breaks are here and it’s time to sit back and relax. Here’s a roundup of hotels across the U.S. with Insta-worthy porches and picture-perfect verandas. From people-watching to star-gazing to enjoying salty harbor air, here’s where you can pull up a chair in style and share your #currentview with friends and followers this summer
Baron’s Cove, Sag Harbor, NY
Best porch for: Harbor views
Situated directly in front of the harbor, this water-side Hamptons retreat offers several outdoor seating options including an outdoor veranda with its own wood-burning fireplace and a restaurant terrace overlooking the harbor, but the hottest (or coolest) seat in town is on a rocker on the hotel’s charming front porch, located directly in front of the water capturing those perfect harbor breezes. Baron’s Cove’s front porch greets guests upon arrival and is a popular seat for both locals and guests to enjoy a morning coffee or pre-dinner cocktail and catch up on summer reading. It’s also one of the hotel’s most popular photos on the ‘gram. baronscove.com
Virginia Hotel, Cape May, NJ
Best porch for: People watching
An impeccably restored 1879 landmark building, The Virginia Hotel and its darling front porch set the standard for luxury hotels in Cape May, NJ. Nestled on a tree-lined street in the heart of historic Cape May and just a half a block from the beach, The Virginia Hotel’s front porch is one of the most popular seats in Cape May. A prime location for people watching after a long day at the beach, guests can have a seat on the porch and enjoy artisanal cocktails and exquisite small plates from the hotel’s popular restaurant, The Ebbitt Room. virginiahotel.com
The Broadmoor’s Cloud Camp, Colorado Springs, CO
Best porch for: Rocky Mountain sunsets
Guests at The Broadmoor’s Cloud Camp may enjoy Insta-worthy Rocky Mountain views from the porch at this all-inclusive hideaway atop Cheyenne Mountain. Situated at a breathtaking 9,200 feet above sea level, Cloud Camp’s 360-degree views provide a picture-perfect backdrop for guided nature walks and luxurious lodge living. At 3,000 feet above The Broadmoor, this unique resort site is perfect for watching the sunset on the Rocky Mountains and plains below. Bonus: It’s all-inclusive, including cocktails. Rocky Mountain morning mimosas, anyone? broadmoor.com
Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg, VA
Best veranda for: History buffs and foodies
Kingsmill Resort’s James Landing Grille is a scenic spot is where family and friends gather to enjoy fresh, locally-sourced cuisine, while enjoying the beautiful sunsets over the historic James River. Open seasonally, the James Landing Grille is the only riverfront dining experience in Williamsburg, making photos and memories extra special. kingsmill.com
The Inn at Death Valley, Death Valley, CA
Best porch for: Panoramic desert views and stargazing
A natural oasis located in the middle of Death Valley National Park, one of only eight designated "gold tier" International Dark Sky Parks in the United States, The Inn at Death Valley’s porches provide the perfect spot for sipping on cool desert cocktails while watching the vast desert sky turn dark for optimal stargazing. The sky is so clear that star-gazers can actually see the Milky Way with the naked eye. oasisatdeathvalley.com
Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Geneva, WI
Best veranda for: Beautiful country landscapes and greenery
No filter needed at Embers Terrace at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in lush Lake Geneva. This Midwest hotspot offers guests the perfect gathering spot for after-dinner desserts, drinks, roaring fire pits, and grammable views of the beautiful Wisconsin countryside. A picturesque setting to unwind after a day of golf at the resort’s award-winning courses. grandgeneva.com
El Tovar at Grand Canyon, South Rim, AZ
Best porch for: Taking in a world wonder
What better way to celebrate crossing off the Grand Canyon from your bucket list than a festive toast overlooking a world wonder? Located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, a small veranda at El Tovar directly outside the lounge has spectacular views, famous for enjoying the Arizona sunsets. Guests can enjoy a light meal and cool beverage while planning what’s next on their itinerary. Take in the view knowing that guests such as Teddy Roosevelt, President Bill Clinton, and Sir Paul McCartney have dined and shared stories within these walls. grandcanyonlodges.com/lodging/el-tovar-hotel
The Woods at The Source Hotel, Denver, CO
Best porch for: Craft brews and views
In Colorado the sun regularly paints the sky with vibrant oranges, pinks and purples as it falls behind the mountains. To catch the phenomenon, head to the trendy Source Hotel + Market Hall’s eighth-floor rooftop bar, The Woods. Here you can take in the best of what Colorado has to offer. Look east and you’re staring at the unparalleled views of Downtown Denver, look west and you’ll take in the sunset and mountain views stretching from 14,000-foot Pikes Peak to the south of Long’s Peak in the north. While enjoying this urban patio, you can sip on creative craft beers brewed exclusively for the restaurant by the small-batch New Belgium brewery on the hotel’s ground floor. thesourcehotel.com/the-woods
With 17 miles of white sand and beautiful blue waters, New Smyrna Beach, located on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, is a prime spot for families wanting to plan a getaway this spring. And with so many kid-friendly attractions, camps, and free activities, they’ll want to do more than just build sandcastles and splash in the surf (although we love that too!). Take a peek at some of the fun:
Marine Discovery Center: 5-Day Spring Adventure Camp (March 18-22) With pontoon rides, fishing, and arts and crafts, the kids will be too busy having fun to notice they’re learning about New Smyrna Beach’s wildlife and environment.
The Hub on Canal: Art Fun 4 Kids with Heather Pastor (March 13, April 10) Kiddos can channel their inner Van Gogh with an art class at The Hub on Canal. Instructor Heather Pastor teaches about famous artists, then children create their own masterpieces with a variety of mediums.
Surfin’ NSB: Ride the Waves: Little thrill-seekers will love a private family surf lesson from the pros at Surfin’ NSB. An instructor will bring boards right to your hotel or condo, so all you need to do is walk out onto the sand.
Turtle Mound River Tours: Set sail on a two-hour narrated tour of the Indian River Lagoon for a chance to see dolphins, manatees, and incredible views of Canaveral National Seashore.
New Smyrna Museum of History: Encourage a love for learning by exploring NSB’s interesting past through cool artifacts, models, and photographs. Kids will love the vintage boards and other local memorabilia in the surfing exhibit. Parents will love that it’s free admission.
Fishing Charters: Reel in the fun on the Indian River Lagoon with a local guide, like Captain Drew Cavanaugh of Florida Inshore Fishing Charters. From hauling in a prize catch to close-up views of local wildlife, a charter is a perfect way to spend a day on the water.
New Smyrna Speedway: Zoom zoom! Watch as stockcars and trucks vie for a spot at the finish line. Races are held weekly and children 11 and under are free.
New Smyrna Beach Escape Room: Older kids and teens will love this combo scavenger hunt and puzzle-solving activity. Participants attempt to escape from a locked room by deciphering riddles and puzzles. Choose from themes like “Alien Autopsy” and “Houdini’s Secrets.”
About the New Smyrna Beach Area
The New Smyrna Beach area includes the communities of New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater, Oak Hill, Osteen and Port Orange in east Central Florida. New Smyrna Beach is an eclectic mix of old and new; of subtle sophistication and bohemian soul that is as “real” as Florida gets. It occupies a notable place in history as the second oldest city in Florida, site of the largest single attempt at British colonization in the new world. In 2018, New Smyrna Beach celebrated its 250th birthday. The city’s barrier island is recognized worldwide for its incredible surf with Surfer magazine recently touting it one of the “Best Surf Towns in America” and National Geographic magazine including it in its “World’s Top 20 Surf Towns”. Accommodations range from charming bed and breakfast inns to family-size condominium units and oceanfront hotels. Natural attractions include 17 miles of sandy beaches from Ponce de Leon Inlet to Canaveral National Seashore and North America’s most diverse estuary – the Indian River Lagoon. Two distinct downtowns along Flagler Avenue and Canal Street and connected via the Waterfront Loop welcome visitors with independent restaurants, unique shops, artisanal coffee shops and art galleries.
For more information, please visit www.VisitNSBfl.com or call 386-428-1600. Follow @NewSmyrnaBeach1 on Twitter, Facebook.com/VisitNewSmyrnaBeach or @visitnewsmyrnabeach on Instagram for the latest news. Download the free New Smyrna Beach Mobile App for iPhone and Android to receive this information on-the-go.
We’ve all heard the saying, “The world is your oyster.” But honestly, that doesn’t even begin to crack the shell of our planet’s infinite wonders, natural phenomenon and cultural intricacies that are waiting to be discovered by even the most casual travelers. So ditch the armchair, put electronic devices in hibernation, and drop foot in these top 10 travel destinations for 2018.
Triphop is an online hotel booking platform that rewards travelers with unrestricted cashback via their UNLoyalty Travel Rewards program. As a points-free hotel booking site, Triphop makes freedom of choice their number one priority.
Here are Triphop’s pick for Top 10 Travel Destinations of 2018:
Bring Back the Caribbean in St Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
This is the year when luxury travel and “cultural awareness” happen to collide in a big way. St Croix, slowly emerging from the devastating hurricanes of 2017, is still the same island the world loves to love – and for good reason. Descriptive adjectives abound in better times, but let’s just say: playful Caribbean breezes, lush tropical rainforests, cubbyhole snorkeling coves, ancient forts, shipwreck diving and even a flashy modern casino. The Buccaneer, an iconic pink colonial plantation inn, is welcoming the world to stay-and-play as they’ve done for generations. This is how mindful travelers can pitch in, just by spending 2018 vacation dollars where they really count.
Encounter Wild Horses, Gullah Culture and Financial Ghosts in America’s Eastern Sea Islands
The Sea Islands of America’s Eastern seaboard harbor tales of pirates, shipwrecks, Civil War battles, and financial titans charting the course of history in lavish summer cottages. It’s also the heart of Gullah and Geechee culture, dating back to antebellum sugarcane and cotton plantations on the islands. Visit the genteel Jekyll Island Club for a romp through the former summer homes of America’s elite families bearing names like Pulitzer, Rockefeller and Vanderbilt. Within a couple of hundred miles of coastline, you can discover Gullah folk art and devour a Low Country seafood boil on St Helena Island; Stay at the Holiday Inn Resort in Jekyll Island and take in the view of tabby-shell architecture in the tiny Sapello Island community of Hog Hammock and see feral horses running wild with the wind on Cumberland Island National Seashore.
Harvest Olives, Saffron and Truffles in Umbria, Italy
Just a one-hour train ride from Rome drops you into the heart of Umbria, a land of endless olive groves stretching lazily in the shadow of the Mount Petrarvella, along with golden fields of delicate saffron and deep damp forests harboring elite black truffles. Help bring in the harvest and delve into the Italian “slow food” movement at places like Il Fontanaro, a family-owned organic olive farm with centuries-old villas and a slow-food culinary school. You’ll roll out thin ribbons of handmade pasta, and then pat rising mounds of dough into flatbread foundations cradling freshly-picked tomatoes, basil, local sausages, fresh mozzarella and the Pinelli family’s own olive oils – all under starry Umbrian skies. The medieval gated village of Paciano is only a short stroll away, where old men really do sit on benches amidst cobblestone streets and tiny ancient cottages. BONUS TIP: Make the most of your visit by staying at Residenza Paolo VI in Rome for 6 nights and get $53 cash back to spend any way you like.
Go Forest Bathing in Japan
Shake off the idea that “forest bathing” has anything to do with nudie soaks in the Japanese evergreen forests. Known as Shinrin-Yoku and sanctioned by the Japanese government with 200 dedicated trails, the practice is really all about breathing in the natural essential oils, known as phytoncides, that exist naturally in many trees and plants. This triggers a plethora of health benefits such as reducing the production of stress hormones, lowering blood pressure and boosting the immune system. In keeping with Japan’s devotion to the environment, and a deeply held belief based on politeness and respect, forest bathing is an eco-travel trend that lines up with Henry David Thoreau’s admonition in “Walden” to “smell the whispering sedge” and embrace the “tonic of wildness.”
Breathe the Heady Aromas of Zanzibar’s Spice Plantations
Blanketing this East African island with ancient intoxicating aromas, the spice plantations of Zanzibar are like something out of colonial-era movies. Wafting through the humid evening air, the distinct presence of nutmeg, ginger, pepper, cloves, coriander, tamarind, vanilla and ylang ylang is overpowering. Unpack your bags at African House Hotel in Stone Town amidst the well-known red-tiled rooftops and you’ll find local guides who are more than willing to transport you into the world of exotic spices and fruits growing unfettered on fertile plantations and small farms in Kizimbani and Kindichi. They’ll arrange for traditional Swahili meals and baskets brimming with custard fruits, papayas, mangos and jackfruit. Back in Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, you can roam through “duka squares” and colorful small markets offering Zanzibar handicrafts, textiles, ukili palm-woven jewelry and – of course – spices. If you’re lucky, you’ll wrangle an invitation to a Dada cooking class in Matemwe Village.
Glide With Sea Creatures in Galapagos Islands
Ever since Charles Darwin accidentally landed in the Galapagos Islands aboard the H.M.S. Beagle in 1835, this aquatic archipelago off the shores of Ecuador has held a mystique that even today’s intrepid voyagers have yet to quell. As the ship’s resident naturalist, enthralled with raw undisturbed nature, Darwin based his now-famous “Origin of Species” on his return explorations of the San Cristobal, Floreana, Isabela and Santiago Islands. Little has changed in the Galapagos of today, where you can swim freely with Galapagos Sea Lions in their unfettered, natural habitats. Due to a lack of natural predators and minimal tourism, these playful sea creatures bobble on beaches like floppy cartoon characters and nurture their young by the thousands in La Loberia Nature Reserve on San Cristobal Island.
Find Castles and Yeats in County Clare, Ireland
Spoken by W.B. Yeats, one of Ireland’s favorite pen-pushers, “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” You can count on that happening almost instantly when you set foot in the County Clare, about a 130-mile train ride from Dublin. It’s like suddenly being plunged into the past with ancient castles and rolling emerald-green meadows that are seemingly untouched by modern civilization. Make your way to Bun Ráite castle, commonly known by its English adaptation of “Bunratty,” and tromp through medieval bed chambers, ballrooms, chapels and banquet rooms towering over the Raite River. Continue your travel through time by laying your head at Temple Gate Hotel which sits at what used to be a convent in the 19th century. Then make your way through the surrounding folk park, a living-history village dating back to the 1800s, and then stay into the evening for a rowdy, decadent medieval banquet with dancing and live music.
Plunge Into Mimosa Heaven in Herceg Novi, Montenegro
Having nothing to do with champagne and citrus, and everything to do with the flagrant beauty of native mimosa flowers, Herceg Novi flaunts its floral pedigree with festivals, foodie events, carnivals and entire weeks centered on these colorful blossoms. Get decked out in February and March for a Mardi-Gras style mimosa carnival with street dances and masquerade balls, culminating in the crowning of a mimosa king and queen. While in town, visit the wild and wonderful Luštica Peninsula, and explore the Bay of Kotor. Rent a kayak and paddle over the quaint fishing village of Rose with its white-stone cottages, magenta bougainvillea and trailing grape vines.
Celebrate 300 Years of New Orleans Culture
When the words “celebrate” and “New Orleans” appear in the same phrase, it’s a good bet that visions of raucous-Bacchus Mardi Gras carnivals pop into your brain. But resist the urge to pigeonhole NOLA, especially when it comes to their 300-year birthday celebrations in 2018. As one of the world’s most diverse communities, New Orleans was a city even before America was a country and you can bet there will be no stone unturned in recognizing the intricate multicultural influences. The New Orleans Tricentennial celebration continues through most of 2018 with events ranging from authentic NOLA jazz to Argentine tango, Chinese opera and a “Portraits of Influence” exhibition by José Salazar, Louisiana’s earliest known artist. Look for everything from antique “tall ships” to U.S. Navy ships, a Burlesque Opera by the makers of Tabasco, and dozens of events recognizing women’s contributions to New Orleans jazz, Cajun cuisine, the Louisiana National Guard. A high-tech Luna Fête light festival highlights New Orleans architecture and iconic landmarks. A stay in the iconic Hotel Monteleone will place you in the center of all the festivities and bring this celebration full circle.
Find Your Soul in the Matrimandir Outside Pondicherry, India
Silence is deafening inside the white-marble, gold-domed Matrimandir, sprawling across the countryside near Pondicherry, a French-colonial village on the Bay of Bengal. Although India is one of the noisiest places on earth, it harbors a pocket of absolute silence. After relinquishing your worldly goods (yes, all of them, including your cell phone, wallet and shoes), you are granted entrance to the other-worldly Matrimandir, a semi-ashram/temple that followers call a place of “individual silent concentration.” They actually mean that, as not one sound is uttered while curving quietly along solid-white marble stairs into a solid-white marble inner chamber crowned with a genuine gold-disc dome. An optically perfect glass globe allows a single shaft of sunlight through a heliostat mounted on the roof. This focal point aids concentration as you sit cross-legged in a circle inside the dome, experiencing the eerie “sound of silence,” perhaps for the first time in your life.
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