City Escape: Torrey Pines, California
Some days I swear I was meant to be a California girl. Nothing beats surf, sand and a good dose of California sunshine. My most recent adventure took me to Southern California to the beautiful city of Torrey Pines. Torrey Pines is a gorgeous spot in the San Diego area, just north of La Jolla. While it may be most recognized by golfers as the home of Torrey Pines Golf Course (which hosted the US Open in 2008), this area is home to far more than championship golf.
Where to Stay: The Lodge At Torrey Pines is a top choice for anyone looking for first class accommodations full of charm and without pretense. This rustic yet refined hotel offers top notch amenities while still feeling completely comfortable. Splurge for a room with a view and enjoy breathtaking balcony views of lush fairways and the glistening Pacific beyond. The whole property exudes relaxation– whether walking the natural terrain, lounging in a poolside cabana, or nestling in next to the roaring fireplace in the grand lobby.
What to do: Torrey Pines is made for those who love the outdoors. The gorgeous natural surroundings are a huge draw for hikers, beach lovers, and anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of life. The Torrey Pines Nature Reserve is one of the largest stretches of wild natural terrain on the Southern California coast, and also one of the most beautiful. Over 2000 acres of unspoiled land are home to the unique Torrey Pine and plenty of other plant and animal life. The Reserve is adjacent to the Torrey Pines Golf course and within walking distance from the Lodge. Spend the day exploring miles and miles of peaceful trails, taking in natural wonders, and marveling at stunning overlooks. Wander down the cliffs and enjoy miles of unspoiled beaches and the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
Where To Eat: You don’t have to travel far to get a great meal in Torrey Pines. The Lodge’s top rated signature restaurant A.R Valentien delivers delicious, inventive cuisine and top notch service. Request a table on the veranda for an extra special experience. There also are many highly rated restaurants just minutes away in neighboring towns. Head to Cody’s in La Jolla for a great breakfast or enjoy lunch afurea (and an amazing view) at George’s at the Cove. Wander up to Del Mar to Jake’s beachside restaurant and enjoy dinner overlooking the Pacific (just make sure to request a table in the front in time for sunset)!
City Escape: Captiva Island & South Seas Resort
A true escape, Captiva Island is a secluded little gem off the west coast of Florida. I have never seen a place more pristine, with long stretches of sugar white beaches and a natural island ecosystem evident and alive around every turn.
Our Captiva adventure brought us to South Seas, a resort village and 330 acre wildlife sanctuary that takes over the north end of Captiva Island. With 2 1/2 miles of unspoiled beaches, multiple pool areas, golf, tennis, and so much more, South Seas Resort is a very special place the whole family will love.
Once on the expansive property, you can leave your car keys behind. Trolleys, bicycles, and golf carts are the vehicles of choice for resort guests. This lends to the tranquility and natural beauty found throughout the property. Share the beach with gulls, herons, and pelicans, or watch the manatee feed while enjoying breakfast on the patio at Harborside Grille. We even caught a glimpse “Chip” the resident dolphin running along the sea wall and what seemed to be lazily sunbathing in the channel.
Relaxation comes easy at South Seas. An all in one resort, you can find a quiet escape or adventure on the grounds. Cool off in one of the gorgeous pools or take a dip in the clear aqua waters of the gulf. Walk along miles of unspoiled beaches or relax under a palm tree and take in the natural beauty. If you are looking for a little extra adventure Sunny Island Watersports provides paddle boards, jet skis, kayaks, and even sea-plane adventures, and the gulf-side executive golf course is a challenging course providing plenty of scenic relief along the way. After a day of activity pamper yourself at The Kay Casperson Spa or head off on a sunset wildlife cruise with Captiva Cruises. No matter where you head, a connection to nature and laid back attitude are in store.
Your little ones will also have the adventure of a lifetime at South Seas. Kids experience a vacation like no other with opportunities to explore at every turn. The Scout About scavenger hunt is a great way for the whole family to explore the resort and discover the wildlife that exists. Sanibel Sea School offers hands-on educational experiences under the sun and in the water, and guided kayak tours can take you to places you never thought possible. For an extra dose of fun check out Skullys Family Interactive Center, H2Whoa water park, and the 50′s inspired soda shop, Scoop and Slices.
A special place in a beautiful setting…that’s what South Seas is all about. This is one city escape that is truly a refuge, and will definitely make you feel like you are a world away. For more information about South Seas Resort go to www.southseas.com
South Seas Resort : Captiva, Florida
Family. Comfort. Nature.
City Escape: Palm Coast’s Hammock Beach
If warm sunshine and sand between your toes sounds like the perfect remedy for the winter blues, then have we the place for you. Florida makes for an easy escape, and while many may be unfamiliar with Palm Coast, we found it to be a perfect destination.
Palm Coast is located on the east coast of Florida, half way between Daytona and St. Augustine. It offers a great mix of golf resorts and natural preserves, and miles of unspoiled beaches. Tucked away on the coastline is Hammock Beach, a resort that brings forth all the best the Palm Coast has to offer. It is an expansive property that offers guests an amazing array of amenities and lends to a fun filled or completely relaxing vacation.
Managed by Salamander Hotel Group, Hammock Beach Resort is one of the Grand Golf Resorts of Florida. Like it’s siblings Innisbrook Resort near Tampa and Reunion Resort in Orlando, Hammock features luxurious village accommodations and some of the state’s premier golf. Golf is what it was all about for my better half, and the two championship courses at Hammock Beach provided plenty of challenging play. The Conservatory Course offers links style play and the beautiful Ocean Course gives plenty of scenic relief.
Scenery and coastal beauty are what it was all about for me, and the beaches along the Palm Coast are beautiful and unadulterated. Miles and miles of natural coastline provide the perfect place to take a long walk (or even bike—the sand is hard enough!), bask in the sun, or just gaze out over the Atlantic all day.
If poolside is more your style, Hammock beach definitely has you covered. With what seems like endless pools, water adventures or poolside peace and quiet can easily be found. The center pool complex is a kid’s dream, complete with lazy river and twisting slide. Throw in fire pits, beach volleyball courts, and even mini golf and it’s the perfect playground for kids of all ages.
Relaxation is easy at Hammock Beach’s first class spa. Their signature massage combines hot stones, long strokes, and plenty of pampering touches. They also offer a massage especially tailored to those who spend a tough day on the course, and a variety of other spa services. Saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools and a fitness center are all available to guests.
Hammock Beach is truly an all in one resort, and guests don’t ever need to leave once they’ve arrived. A variety of dining options can be found throughout the resort. A favorite, The Atlantic Grill, sits beach side and offers indoor and outdoor seating, and outstanding views of big blue. Two other restaurants plus a sushi bar, lobby coffee café, and even a sophisticated cigar bar will have everybody’s cravings taken care of. Service is top notch no matter where you go.
The accommodations also offer plenty of variety. The main building is enormous and offers villa style rooms boasting southern style decor and views of the Atlantic. Families are easily accommodated as suites of up to 3 bedrooms with full living and kitchen spaces are available. For those seeking a bit more solitude, The Lodge, is a short walk away from the main grounds. This more secluded boutique style hotel offers open, airy, rooms that sit ocean front. Walk out on your balcony and you can practically taste the salt air and smell the freshly cut grass of the 18th hole.
So no matter what kind vacation you have in mind, Hammock Beach has you covered. A few days away from the big city always does a body good, and plenty of play and rest are waiting for you in Palm Coast. For more information on Hammock Beach head to www.hammockbeach.com.
This Weekend: Experience Fall Five Different Ways
With the first of the month making its entrance over the weekend, we found ourselves overcome with all the excitement and feelings of warmth and coziness that comes along with the fall weather and all that accompanies it these next few fetching months.
Now that October has officially arrived, you can pack up your shorts and bathing suits (and hope the weather cooperates and that pesky humidity is long gone!), grab your favorite jacket, hit the streets of NYC (and beyond!) and officially say hello to fall!
Five Fun Fall Activities This October Has In Store:
Apples & Pumpkins
What better way to spend a Saturday or Sunday with the fam, your man or even a good group of girlfriends (apple pie baking fest, anyone?) than to hop in the car and head outside the city for a few hours and stock up on all of fall’s most natural and favorite treats? For you Long Islanders, be sure to check out Fink’s Farm for a bevy of fall related activities, like going through the 7 acre maze or having a bite of some delicious roasted corn. Or there’s Wilklow Orchards in Highland NY, complete with its own little roadside stand filled with all the fresh fall baked goods your heart desires. For those headed to New Jersey, there’s also Riamede Farms which offers 34 varieties of apples from the classics to even a few specialties. All in all, New York and beyond is in no way short on delivering in the pumpkin and apple department this fall!
With the weather changing, although it’s fun to get outside for a few hours and enjoy the crisp temperatures, sometimes it’s just as fun to head inside and curl up with a good movie. The 49th New York Film Festival is the perfect excuse to get inside on one of these upcoming rainy days (they’re inevitable, let’s face it), have some popcorn and enjoy a cinematic masterpiece. With classics playing like Ben Hur to some of the most buzzed about films of the season like The Descendants (George Clooney? Sign me up!) and My Week with Marilyn, it’s sure to be every movie lovers dream come true!
One of my favorite fall activities is hitting the stores looking for the perfect sweater. Sure, summer has its perks with all the fun skirts and tank tops to choose from, but a true New Yorker should know the art of stocking your closet filled with a unique sweater for every occasion. With fashion heavy weight DVF going modern with an exaggerated (and ultra forgiving) turtleneck that’s perfect for a fun night out, to truly affordable everyday fashion with The Gap’s striped cable-knit, there is certainly a lot to look at and try on before you make up your mind on which sweater suits you best!
Scare Me Please
Come October, not only are the stores chock full of candy and treats galore, but there’s also an endless amount of Halloween related activities around the city to choose from.
Something fun for the whole family is the Halloween Pumpkin Parade and Sail in Central Park. Be sure to wear your costume and bring your most prized carved Jack O’Lantern to take part in NYC’s largest pumpkin flotilla at twilight.
New York Botanical Garden plays host to the Haunted Pumpkin Garden October 1st – 30th. Although this is another great activity to check out with the kids, it’s not lacking in the scare department. With spooky scarecrows, spiders and snakes at every turn and an after dark nighttime adventure in the garden, remember to bring your flashlight and best creepy costume to really get in the Halloween spirit!
Parade Me Around
Fall is definitely the season of parades, and quite frankly, we’ll take ‘em! With the annual Columbus Day parade on October 10th bringing 35,000 marchers, bands and floats all making their way down Fifth Avenue, this is one spectacle not to be missed!
For some parade fun you can take part in yourself, NYC’s Village Halloween Parade is definitely one to check out. All those in costume are invited to join hundreds of puppets, 53 bands, dancers and artists on the trek down Sixth Avenue on the night of the 31st.
All in all ladies, let’s make this the season of the 3 F’s: Fall Festive Fun!
City Escape: Sail Newport to Manhattan on the Grand Sail
Do you love the water and are ready for a fun and exciting trip that you will remember for a lifetime? Ready to sail on a former America’s Cup Sailboat and learn from top notch instructors? How does sailing to some of the northeast’s most desirable ports sound? Take a look at our latest find from Manhattan Sailing School and get ready for a Grand Sail!
|America’s Cup 12 Meter “America II” will depart Newport, RI on Thursday, August 11 and sail back to New York City over 4 days. This is the “Grand Sail” and you can participate.
The voyage will take you to some famous sailing destinations. Overnight stops are scheduled for Block Island, Port Jefferson and Oyster Bay. Four days are planned for you to learn, practice and gain an incredible of sailing experience.
The “Grand Sail” is an educational training cruise. Six spots are available to sailors who wish to gain more experience with big boat sailing and especially with 12 Meter sailing.
The make the Grand Sail super special, there will be two educators with a vast amount of experience.
About the sailboat: 12 Meter America II
This past spring, cracks were discovered in the mast of America II which necessitated a replacement. The Foundation conducted a fundraising drive with more than 190 people supporting the Flagship in her hour of need. The replacement mast project has been underway in Newport for 2 months under the direction of Jim. Now America II will be launched and conduct her triumphant sail back to New York Harbor.
Added bonus – Monday evening, Aug 15 – The America II Welcoming Celebration will be held on the Honorable William Wall. This event is open exclusively to all Syndicate Members and “Friends of America II” who contributed to the replacement mast. Sailors who participate in the Grand Sail will also be invited to help sail America II in her review past the floating clubhouse and then join the celebration for the unveiling of the new clubhouse centerpiece.
This trip, like all sailing, is weather dependent. The delivery will go forward as scheduled unless weather conditions require a postponement which would usually only be 1 day. It is expected that you will do lots of sailing but there is no guarantee of sailing time because it depends on weather conditions.
This trip is limited to 6 students so please sign up soon before it sells out. In addition to the 6 students and 2 educators, there will be a few experienced 12 meter crew to assist with things like hoisting the sails and running the boat (12 Meters normally race with a crew of 14 to 16 people!).
Ready to sail? Click HERE for more information!
City Escape: The Finger Lakes
Ok, so summer is in full swing and that means getting away from the steamy city any chance we can get. Since the Hamptons, Connecticut coastline, and Jersey Shore are already staples in any New Yorker’s vocabulary, we decided to explore escapes beyond our usual boundaries. This week we are proud to report back on a fabulous find— the Finger Lakes Region.
The Finger Lakes region is located upstate NY, about a 4 hour drive from the city. While it is a fairly expansive region that includes 11 lakes (stretching towards Itathca, Syracuse, and Rochester), the heart of the Finger Lakes includes two of the longest lakes — Lake Cayuga and Lake Seneca. This area is well known for stunning scenery, expansive lakes, gorges, waterfalls and scenic wine trails. Here is a brief recap of a quick escape worth making.
Where to Stay: The Finger Lakes are surrounded by sweet inns and b&bs and we ended up laying our head in the beautiful Halsey House. This luxury Inn is run by a husband and wife team who do a fabulous job keeping their guests comfortable and happy. The rooms exude a romantic elegance, each with private baths and luxury linens. They also boast modern amenities like wifi and HD-TVs. Special features of the Inn include beautiful decor and a side porch which is the perfect place to have a cool drink and take in the summer breeze. The gourmet breakfast (which is included in your stay) is also a great way to fuel up for a day of exploring.
What to do: Just down the road from Halsey House is Taughannock Falls State Park. We started our first day with a hike through the park and took in some of the spectacular scenery that The Finger Lakes region is known for. Taughannock Falls State Park’s namesake waterfall is one of the outstanding natural attractions of the Northeast. The Falls plunges 215 feet past rocky cliffs that tower nearly 400 feet above the gorge. Gorge and rim trails offer wonderful views from above the falls and from below at the end of the gorge trail. Definitely worth checking out.
Where To Eat (and drink!) After a morning of exploring we were ready for some food, drink, and relaxation. Luckily, we were practically on the Cayuga Wine Trail, one of the areas best routes to experience award-winning wineries, local gourmet eateries, and an abundance of breathtaking views! A must stop (and taste) is The Thristy Owl Company. They have a great selection of wines (try the Reisling as it is the variation the area is known for) and a wonderful bistro with delicious food. We enjoyed a relaxing lunch on the outdoor patio overlooking Cayuga Lake and the vineyards. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!
These are just a few highlights from a fabulous weekend in The Finger Lakes. For more information on the region and all that it has to offer head to http://www.fingerlakes.org/
City Escape: Toronto, Ontario. Head to Canada!
Summer is just about here and with that comes the planning of long weekends away, day trips, and hopefully full blown vacations. One great vacation option is visiting our friendly Canadian neighbors up north in Toronto. It’s a super short flight, and if you’re not one for flying, driving or taking the train is something to consider. It’s a doable drive/train trip ( about 10-12 hours away) with plenty of pretty countryside to see along the way.
MUST SEES & DOS
While you’re there, you must indulge in a few activities that are totally charming and exclusive to this bustling metropolis. One of these would be taking in (and going way up!) the CN Tower. Classified as one of the modern wonders of the world, in less than sixty seconds, you can take an elevator ride up and be looking out across the entire city. For the more adventurous types, this summer launches one of their most exciting attractions to date. A first in North America, Edge Walk is the highest hands-free walk (yes, walk!) on top of the CN Tower’s main pod – 356 m above the ground! Toronto’s newest attraction is perfect for thrill seekers and adventurers alike, but if that isn’t your cup of tea, there’s also plenty of shopping, restaurants and other attractions to make your experience at the CN Tower completely unforgettable.
A fan of baseball? If so, you are going to want to hit up Rogers Centre, for sure! Home to the Toronto Blue Jays, Rogers Centre (formerly known as the SkyDome), is one of the most unique stadiums you’ll ever step foot in. The stadium itself is over 12 acres and features a retractable roof which can open or close in minutes depending on the weather – so you can stay nice and dry while watching the game. And for all you die hard Yankees fans out there, there are a few dates in July when they take on the Jays, so it is definitely something you won’t want to miss!
For those of you who love to be near the water, Toronto’s harbor front is right on Lake Ontario. Taking in the water and array of boats, or walking along the boardwalk might be your thing, but there’s also Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre which features family friendly fun all summer long. Everything from family canoe rides to storytelling, art shows, food and music – all can be found down by the water in Toronto’s own charming waterfront. If actually getting out into the water is your thing, there are ferries that can take you out to Toronto Island. Perfect for a relaxing day at one of its many beaches, parks or gardens, it also has an amusement park (Centreville), shopping, cafes and cottages for rent if you feel like spending a few days. Toronto definitely does not fall short on all the fun exclusive to the summer months: water, beaches and boats!
*For art aficionados, the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition takes place July 8 – 10th in Nathan Phillips Square in heart of downtown.
*For all you jazz fans, the Beaches International Jazz Festival takes place July 15 – 24th and draws in talented jazz musicians from all around the world.
*An event that attracts over a million tourists to Toronto is Caribana Festival from July 14th – August 1. Currently one of North America’s largest cultural festivals, this larger than life celebration plays hosts to hundreds of Caribbean inspired concerts, an array of delicious food vendors, art and theatrical performances for the latter part of July.
*For all you tourists looking to be schooled culturally, Toronto plays hosts to literally dozens of other festivals and celebrations during the summer months. For more info, visit: http://www.seetorontonow.com/
Weekend Escape: Health & Wellness Retreats (In & Out of NYC!)
Tough week at work? Looking for a little relaxation and restoration? We found great events, happening both in and out of the city, that will have you feeling restored and back in balance before you know it.
First up is the Yoga Journal Conference. This multi-day event is offering over 100 classes instructed by 40 master teachers and is happening right here in the big city. You can experience the power of yoga first hand, or sit in on one of the special events or guest speakers covering everything from meditation and buddhism to how changing your diet can change the world! Passes can be purchased for full days or for just a single event or class. For more info click here.
Don’t feel like spending a dime? The Yoga Journal Marketplace is an aspect of the conference that is absolutely free! Pop in and peruse the wellness brands, and even experience free samples and services. Our friends at Tata Harper will be on hand giving guests free mini-facials and sharing the goodness of their natural line of beauty products. For more info click here.
Feel like you need a full escape from the big city? Mark your calendar because next weekend the Lodge At Woodloch is doing a Rosemary Awakening Weekend. Located just a couple hours from NYC, the Lodge at Woodloch is nestled in Pennsylvania’s Lake region and brings together nature and luxury. On May 20- 22 they are offering very special weekend designed to re-awaken the senses to the rewarding rituals of natural healing. Explore the joys of cooking, gardening, and create your own aromatherapy essential oil blend to take home. They’ll also be kicking-off our new partnership with Naturopathica, and launching a new Rosemary Awakening signature treatment. For more details click here.
City Escape: Vail, Colorado – Spring Skiing At Its Best
Ok, it’s finally spring, but don’t count out skiing the rocky mountains just because the weather is warming up. Yes, I too am MORE than happy to leave winter behind, but that doesn’t mean I won’t squeeze the ski season out to the very last drop. In fact, spring is my favorite time to hit the slopes. The weather is warming, skies clearing, and, as I found out last week, there is still PLENTY of great snow.
Vail in fact has had incredible snow this season. 460+ inches to be exact! I had the most incredible powder day just a week ago. I am talking about being 2+ feet deep in the fresh stuff in the back bowls. If powder isn’t your thing, there is also plenty of groomed goodness. Vail mountain still has 193 trails open on the mountain (yes, that’s 100%) and over 5000 acres of terrain to choose from. All their lifts are running and lift lines are practically nonexistent!
In addition to the incredible mountain, there are a few other great reasons to choose Vail. First of all, with several carriers offering nonstop service directly into Vail Eagle airport, it’s a cinch to get to. Also, it’s definitely a top resort town with plenty to do.
Vail is comprised of several small villages that can easily be traveled between by walking or jumping on the convenient free bus service. Each town has a wealth of activity including sweet little shops, high end boutiques, endless dining options, and great slope-side apres ski. Fun times are easy to access with several ice skating rinks and even an upscale bowling alley on hand. Stroll through Vail Village for a taste of Germany, with it’s Bavarian style buildings and charm. You might even catch a special event, as Vail hosts quite a few throughout the year. I got a glimpse of the Vail Film Festival and free music series while there.
So, are you ready to break out the skis or board one last time? Vail’s season ends April 24th this year, so you’ve still got a couple weeks left to get in on the good stuff. Get out there and get moving!
For more information on Vail including snow reports, tickets, and events head to www.vail.com.
Photo Credit: Vail.com
City Escape: Brazil Yoga Retreat
#1 Yoga Retreat for Professional Women on the Planet:
Location: Exotic Island in Brazil
Dreaming of feeling lighter, brighter and more alive, even sexier? Join international yoga teacher and bodyworker Kimberly Johnson for a week of yoga, adventure and exotic, healthy cuisine on the tropical Brazilian island of Ilha Grande. The week-long retreat (scheduled from Sunday to Saturday for minimum time off from your busy life) includes daily yoga classes at sunrise and sunset, ocean-view accommodations at one of two private waterfront eco-resorts, all meals and healthy snacks, unforgettable daily excursions around the island like a trek to Lopes Mendes beach (voted one of the most beautiful in the world by Vogue), general serenity and transfers to and from Rio de Janeiro.
A certified yoga instructor, Kimberly Johnson has taught yoga all over the world (New York City, San Diego, Chicago, Boulder, Thailand, Malaysia and Brazil) for the last eleven years and since 2006 has brought her broad depth of knowledge to Ilha Grande, where she hosts yoga immersion retreats several times yearly. “The island is the perfect environment to stay away from our usual routines and establish a new one that supports a vision of wholeness and health,” she says, whether it be through active hikes into the untouched rainforest, swimming through crisp cleansing waterfalls, or savoring the delicious fresh fare of local fruits (bananas, mangos, pineapple, açai, papaya), organic vegetables, and fresh fish caught in nearby crystal-clear waters. The sunrise and sunset yoga classes (each one different, balanced, individualized and two hours long) don’t hurt either.
A longtime practitioner of Viniyoga, Iyengar and Ashtanga, Kimberly teaches alignment-based vinyasa yoga with intelligent and creative sequencing. She customizes her classes to suit the needs of each group and its participants, so her retreats are suitable and challenging for yoga practitioners of all levels, beginner to advanced.
Come see what Kimberly’s past guests are raving about! Deepen your practice – and brighten up your life – with her, this October in Brazil.
Retreat Dates and Enrollment
October 3-9, 2010: “Straight to the Heart”, Posada Naturalia, Ilha Grande, Brazil Enrollment: US $1395per person/ US $1595 single occupancy
October 31-November 6, 2010: #1 Yoga Retreat on the Island for Professional Women Gota do Mar Retiro, Ilha Grande, Brazil Enrollment: US $2,100 per person/ US $2,400 single occupancy
Each retreat includes: Two 2-hour yoga classes daily; Six nights of accommodations with private bath and veranda overlooking the ocean; All meals, juices, fresh filtered water and snacks (natural spa cuisine developed by on-site nutritionist); Two full-body massages; Airport transfers from Rio de Janeiro Daily outdoor activities (trekking, kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, swimming) supervised by professional guides Brazilian cultural events
To enroll: Visit www.kajyoga.com.
For more info please contact:
Kimberly Johnson, email: email@example.com tel: 858.692.0550
For additional details, retreat photos and guest testimonials, go to:
www.kajyoga.com or www.brazilyogaretreats.com
Top Photo: Flickr