Friday, August 1, 2014

V’s Corner: I’m Headed To Yoga Teacher Training (and an essential tip for the new yogi)!

April 21, 2013 by  
Filed under ESCAPES

So among my latest decisions, was the one to do a yoga teacher training in Mexico this spring. Becoming a yoga instructor was never part of my plan or on the “to-do” list, but, as with most things I’ve experienced, the road of life simply lead me there.

I’ve been enamored with yoga since my first downward dog, and through the years my love affair with it (and extreme appreciation for it) has only grown deeper.  I could go on and on about all the benefits– especially those beyond the physical, but I’ll save that for another post.

What I do tell everyone who thinks about getting on the mat for the first time, or giving it a second or third shot, is to find a style and a teacher who you connect with. This is essential. There are SO many different types of yoga, from a more athletic ashtanga to a more gentle restorative practice, and even within each style, every instructor has their own twist (pun intended). To connect with the instructor and find one that “speaks your language” both physically and spiritually, is essential– especially for those just starting out.

The same goes for yoga teacher trainings. There are a plethora out there, each with it’s own unique style, location, and duration. All 200 hr courses require just that, but the allocation of those hours varies drastically.The programs also vary on how the execute the Yoga Alliance requirements.  I investigated local trainings in NYC, many spreading the course over 4-6 months and taking place mainly on weekends or after weekday evenings. But for me, a more intensive program– one where I was immersed completely for 3 weeks straight– eating, breathing and living the yogic lifestyle 24/7, was more my style. Of course, it also didn’t hurt that that the School Yoga Institute training that I choose took place at Present Moment Retreat — a boutique hotel and yoga spa on the Pacific Riviera complete with bungalows and spiritual gardens.


So, indeed, come early summer I will be certified to teach the art of yoga. I’ve yet to decide in what capacity that will be, but I know this experience will be one of my best yet, even if I decide never to teach. For, like many things in yoga and life alike, the journey is just as important (if not more) than the destination. I know that this program will bring a wealth of knowledge and benefits, new strength and wisdom, and, as with all the great adventures in life, bring about change for the better by broadening my perspective and appreciation.

I look forward to sharing the experience with you and will be sure to post updates from time to time as I go through 3 week program. It’s an intensive 200 hour program, but I know it will be blissful and life-changing. If anyone wants to join me for enlightenment south of the border, there is still room (and a special HSNY discount to boot– see below!)

 See you in Mexico!

City Escape: Islamorada’s Cheeca Lodge

April 14, 2013 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

Luxury might not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of the Florida Keys. In fact, the string of islands that extends from Key Largo to Key West is known for having a no-pretense, laid-back attitude where sand between the toes and good times take precedence. Kitschy motels and beach front dives are around every turn, offering no-frills accommodations and little more.

Yet, we found a place that holds onto the essence of the keys, while offering first class accommodations, five star service, and an amazing array of amenities. Yes, luxury is not lost in Islamorada. Cheeca Lodge has been serving it up for decades, attracting everyone from former presidents to celebrities, and after a 30 million dollar renovation, is better than ever.

Located on 27 lush acres, the grandeur of this resort can be felt within the first steps. The beautiful entrance courtyard and open air lobby instantly welcome guests, and the 214 guest rooms, bungalows and suites impress with west indian style decor that exudes tropical luxury. Premiere suites go beyond, with expansive ocean front balconies complete with whirlpool tubs, and glassed in rain showers that allow bather’s to gaze out over the sea. Cheeca’s 1100 feet of private beachfront (enormous considering many key’s resorts can barely claim a beach) offers guests the perfect place to soak in the sun or stroll under towering palm trees. Unique features like the resort’s private lagoon and impressive 525 wooden fishing pier get guests face to face with tropical fish, and paddleboards and kayaks are on standby for those seeking a closer encounter.

For those looking to stay on land the resort also offers up six lighted tennis courts and a Jack Nicklaus designed 9-hole par 3 golf course, with clubs rentals included in your stay. Guests also have access to beach cruisers and young and old alike can be seen biking throughout the gardens and resort beachfront. “Family friendly” is an understatement at Cheeca, and kids 5-12 can experience “Camp Cheeca”, a day camp that reveals the natural wonders of the Florida Keys (and gives mom and dad a chance to truly relax).

Accommodating to all, Cheeca offers a gorgeous adult-only pool complete with plush chaise lounges and butler serviced cabanas. The spa completes the relaxation factor offering services with a tropical flair including sea plant wraps and signature hot lava shell massages. Beachfront sunrise yoga and an array of fitness classes are on the resort’s menu as well.

Speaking of which, three on-site restaurants and a wood-thatched tiki bar cater to all culinary tastes, and make ever having to leave the resort unnecessary. Outdoor and beachfront dining give guests the opportunity to indulge on delicious fare and a stunning backdrop.

From dawn ‘til dusk, Cheeca provides the perfect place to enjoy the fullness of the Florida Keys. A tropical playground and relaxing oasis, it’s a all in one resort with top tier amenities and a laid back, island vibe. It’s luxury at it’s best…no shoes required.




City Escape: La Playa Resort & Spa

February 15, 2013 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest


Looking out from some of the oceanfront rooms at La Playa Resort, you may mistake the view for one aboard a cruise ship, not a land bound luxury resort. Turquoise waters stretch out as far as the eye can see, rhythmic waves greet you each morning, and sparkling sunsets serenade at night. It’s not until you step out onto the balcony that you actually realize that you are on indeed on land and powdery white sands stretch out below the hotel’s feet.

It’s proximity to the Gulf is just one of the features that make La Playa Beach Resort special. Just 33 steps from the beach, it is one of Florida’s only resorts to provide guests with instant access to surf, sand and miles of beautiful coastline. Located just south of one of Florida’s state parks, it also gives guests the opportunity to enjoy unspoiled beaches and get a glance of the west coast’s natural ecosystem.

La Playa is truly geared towards escaping the hustle and bustle, and focusing on rest and relaxation. Sand between the toes and sun on the skin becomes part of the daily routine, and to-do lists now include scouring the beach for shells or just gazing out trying to find where the water actually meets the horizon.

Each of the 198 guest rooms is beautifully decorated in a classic yet modern island motif.  All have a bright airy feel about them, and unique features like four post beds and well-selected art add to the aesthetic appeal. If you’re lucky enough to stay in one of their 9 luxury suites, be prepared to be impressed.  Those that face the gulf are blessed with those unprecedented water views and, even while enjoying your shower, you can gaze out over the sea.

The resort also provides guests with a full array of amenities to satisfy every need. There are multiple pools to play in, access to beach and water sports and a great golf course for those looking to hit the greens. Those seeking pure relaxation can head to Spa Terre, the on-site boutique spa, and indulge in signature services like the Tropical Essence Massage and Island Fresh Scrub.

Perhaps the most spectacular time at La Playa is sunset. Guests gather everywhere from balconies to the beach to take it in. La Playa’s restaurant and bar, Baleen, also provides a perfect place to sit outside (there’s even a beach fire pit) and sip a cocktail and enjoy the show. Stick around for dinner though, because Baleen serves deliciously inventive cuisine and is accompanied by impeccable service. The locally caught grouper is a house favorite and the extensive wine list keeps connoisseurs coming back.

La Playa is the perfect place to discover new beauty, indulge the senses and truly relax and rejuvenate. It is saturated in sunshine and southern hospitality and gives guests luxury with a smile, making them want to return before they’ve even left!

For more information on La Playa Resort head to



City Escapes: Get Me To The Pumpkins, Apples, Wine, & Foliage!

October 13, 2012 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

I love fall. Brightly colored leaves, crisp sunny days, comfy sweaters, pumpkins, cider and all the other fun stuff that goes along with it. The leaves are almost at their peak, so the next few weekends are perfect time to escape the city and enjoy.

If taking a Sunday drive is your style, jump in a zip car and head north to see the brightly colored leaves. Roads like the Saw Mill & Taconic State Parkway (especially further north) are popular routes. If you are looking for a destination, one of my favorites is Blue Hill At Stone Barns and Rockefeller Park. Make sure to take a walk through the lakeside trails (wave to the cows at pasture!), check out the organic cafe (line out the door is worth it), and enjoy the farmer’s market and other fall events that are happening. Trust me, it’s so worth the drive.

Another drive option is the North Fork of Long Island. Do a day of wine tasting and farm hopping as you drive along 25A. There are so many beautiful wineries, not to mention countless pumpkin patches and fun farms to pick up fresh veggies. If wineries are what you are looking for head to Peconic Bay for tastings and live music (Saturday & Sunday afternoons), sip in the beauty at Bendell, or make it a family affair at Martha Clara and enjoy wine, hay rides for the kids, and beautiful flower fields. No matter where you end up, make sure to stop Briermere Farms on the way home, and pick up an apple pie to share with your city friends.

Speaking of apples, what is fall without a great apple orchard or pumpkin patch? Whether a kid (or or kid at heart) here are a few tri-state area farms where you can get your fill of fall fun.

Finks Farm: For the Long Island bound, this family owned and operated farm has been a favorite for 50 years. Hayrides, 7-acre corn maze, U-pick pumpkins, kiddy train rides, combine slide and much more. I hear their “corn cannon” is something to look out for!  Food and refreshments are available, including roasted corn, or pack your own picnic and enjoy their picnic area. Explore the farm stand, filled with fresh local vegetables, fruits, potatoes, corn stalks, holiday decorations and more.

Wilklow Orchards in Highland, NY

Wilklow Orchards is family owned farm that has been running since 1855 (Wow!). It’s pick-your-own style with over a dozen variety of apples. They’re open daily from 9-5 until Halloween. There’s also a quaint little road stand that sells apples, baked goods and various other apple related goodies. Also, you can feel free to bring a lunch to enjoy out on their farm in their picnic area.

Riamede Farms in Chester, NJ
Riamede Farm welcomes groups, schools, parents and children to come take a hayride to their apple orchard and pumpkin patch. Riamede features 34 varieties of apples from traditional classics to specialties. They believe they are one of the first pick-your-own apple orchards in New Jersey. They pride themselves on being a “quiet, peaceful olde-time apple orchard with a pumpkin field out back.”

Masker Orchards in Warwick, NY
This 200 acre farm is open daily throughout the season until early November. It’s an orchard full of fun for the whole family with pony rides, face painting, an apple maze and haunted house taking place on weekends. Their website features a handy ripening schedule that you can check before your visit to make sure your favorites are ripe and ready for picking!

Top Photo: flickr

HSNY Fall Retreat: A Time For Change (City Escape!)

September 22, 2012 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

Fall is a time of change. Change in weather, changing colors on the trees, a shift to crisp, fresh air. With this change in seasons, we cannot help but reflect upon our own life – the transitions we’re making and the change we want to manifest.  Real change is often a difficult task for many of us, whether in realm of relationships, jobs, or personal action and habits. Now is the perfect time to learn about the power of change, and how we can create the life we’ve always wanted.

Join Founder, Vanessa Alfano, and Positive Psychology Coach, Carin Rockind, for HSNY’s first day retreat, “A Time For Change.” Held in a gorgeous lakeside setting in Garrison, NY, the day will focus on positive change and creating a happier, healthier life. Learn valuable techniques to create the change you want, and enjoy the beauty of the season and the natural change happening all around us.

In this one-day retreat we will:

*Learn about the science of happiness & consider: What fills your life with meaning &  joy?
*Reflect on our lives and what changes we want to make: How can we enhance our lives?
*Discuss changes we want to make in life and envision: What would life look like if everything unfolded exactly as we hope for?

Be pampered with nourishing food, empowered with valuable information, inspired by the natural surroundings, & encouraged by like minded women. This will be a primarily outdoor event, so please dress accordingly.

When: Saturday October 13, 2012
Arrival in the 11 o’clock hour/Departure in 5 o’clock hour

Where: Lake Celeste  Garrison, NY
*Driving Directions available upon registration

*Transportation provided for those arriving on Metro North (Peekskill Station)




About the venue: Located just over one hour from NYC (and accesible by Metro North), the venue is a picturesque lake community in Garrison, NY. The lakefront private home provides the perfect place to reflect, relax, and start on a journey of change. Not only will attendess enjoy stunning views and natural beauty from the deck and catherdral ceilinged porch, but all are  also encouraged to explore the area. Babbling brooks, waterfalls, unpaved roads,  fall foliage, and plenty of stunning scenery await.

About HSNY: is designed to help women live a healthier, happier life. Focused on a holistic approach, the online magazine contains content on everything from nutrition and fitness, to relationships and career advice. HSNY is devoted to helping NYC women access to valuable information and be guided to all the healthy finds NYC has to offer.

About Carin: Carin Rockind is an expert coach, motivational speaker and professor in Positive Psychology, the scientific study of happiness. A “cheerleader” at heart and previously a Fortune 500 marketing exec, Carin left Corporate America to pursue her passion of encouraging women to pursue their dreams. Her philosophy is simple: We each have a unique purpose and we’d be happier if we were living it. She frequently speaks to companies and groups nationally, including Avon, Ernst & Young, Alcoa, SAY Media and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Carin is one of only 250 people in the world with her masters degree in Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelors from the University of Michigan and has certification in Gestalt therapy.



City Escape: Yoga Supper At Growing Heart Farm

August 16, 2012 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

This week we’re sharing a true city escape. Growing Heart Farm in Pauling, NY is only a couple hours from the big city, but a world away in so many ways. This small farm which harvest fruits and veggies for local sale and CSAs is just 75 miles north of NYC, making it an easy, accesible escape. Metro North drops city dwellers a short walk (15m or so) from the farm, making a day-trip a very easy option.

Select Saturdays this summer and fall (including this one!), Growing Heart hosts a farm-to-table yoga supper.  It includes a day on the farm, a relaxing yoga class, and a delicious “ultra-ganic” farm-to-table meal prepared by their holistic chefs. I checked out the yoga dinner recently, and really enjoyed the full experience. Details of my day are below and more details on the Yoga Supper can be found here.  A worthwhile city escape!

Growing Heart, Growing Mind…

When I first arrived at Growing Heart Farm for their Yoga Supper a couple weeks back, I was in my typical ‘Type-A’ city mode. Sure it was Saturday, but I was listing all the stuff in my head that needed to be done, feeling anxious about the last minute guest I had in town (and in tow), and thoroughly annoyed with the pouring rain that had lengthened my trip up to the farm, and left an absolutely messy day. I had been looking forward to a day of scampering through nature with the sun on my face as I did salutations and tree poses, and had heard that the sunset dinner in the field admist the crops was a highlight of the day.

So when I arrived to the farm which had been drenched by rain, my spirits were dampened and I was wondering if taking the journey was in fact a mistake. I was wet and cold, still connected to my iPhone and in no mood to connect with a wet mother nature or any one else.

At first sight, I wasn’t sure I was at the right place. From the road I had missed any signs or indicators of the farm or supper, and when I did arrive, I wondered if I had stumbled upon some retro-commune instead of a yoga supper catering to city folk. I found my way to the front door and realized I had found the farm, and was greeted by a nice girl holding a clipboard. People were hanging out in the house, chit chatting and milling about the kitchen.

I quickly came to meet Abby (one of the key players in the event) who gave me and my guest a quick tour of the fields and chatted about the crops, as well as the philosophy and background of the people who started it. She was sweet and had a bit of a hippie air about her, pointing out the different varietals of kale and even getting me to try a sour tingly little plant that serves as a natural teeth and mouth cleaner. While we walked through the crops, umbrellas in hand, I caught site of a few others who were barefooted and enjoying the mud between their toes. I suddenly felt like I indeed had been transported back 30 years to a time of bellbottoms and bare feet.  I carefully navigated, avoiding puddles, happy to have worn my thicker fit flops to keep the dirt from underneath my freshly pedicured toes.

My city funk was still on full force when I found out the yoga was to be held in the small loft upstairs.  I thought “oh great, lots of people, small space” (certainly not my usual Equinox experience surrounded by Lululemon.)  But, I had made the trip and the soundscapes class had me intrigued, so I strolled up the stairs and set my mat up amidst the others.

Inside the small skylighted yoga room somewhere between a downward dogs and sun salutation, I began to feel a shift. Sure, my muscles started to loosen and  limbs lengthen, but the greatest shift came in my attitude. Aarona, the instructor, talked us through poses, but, as with all great yoga instructors, she also directed us towards centering. With centering often comes clarity and clearer perspective, and by midway through the class, I realized I was creating my own miserable experience. I was too caught up in all the nonsense in my head that prevented me from experiencing all of the positive of the day. When I realized that, I suddenly could see clearer. I  began to experience the fullness and the beauty of not only the yoga experience, but the totality of my surroundings. Suddenly everything seemed… different. Even the rain, which I had cursed for the last few hours, now played a gentle melody on the roof that was the perfect accompaniment to the live musicians the played. It’s funny what a shift in perspective can do.

I left the small yoga loft feeling re-energized and grateful for the clarity. Suddenly I appreciated the beauty of the farm, the differences in the people, and the connection to the earth and myself. Sometimes what we really need is to get grounded and tune out the noise in our own heads. Sometimes we need to be forced to disconnect, to reconnect. These are the most valuable journeys– those that turn us inward, and have us looking more positively outward.

With new found perspective, I was really able to enjoy the remainder of the day. The vegetarian supper which was moved to inside was one of the most delicious I have had. New flavors and textures filled my mouth and conversations flowed with new friends. I finished the day feeling grateful for the experience and, more so, for the journey. As I walked out to the car, I almost took off my shoes to feel the earth between my toes. Then, on a second thought,  I decided to save that for next time. After all, a good pedicure is still a good pedicure.


Farm-to-table Supper

Dinner in the fields (weather permitting!).
Photos courtesy of Growing Heart Farm


City Escape: Torrey Pines, California

May 17, 2012 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

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

March 20, 2012 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

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

South Seas Resort : Captiva, Florida
Family. Comfort. Nature.

City Escape: Palm Coast’s Hammock Beach

January 28, 2012 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

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

City Escape: Sail Newport to Manhattan on the Grand Sail

August 3, 2011 by  
Filed under ESCAPES, Featured, Latest

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
12 Meter America II (US 46) competed for the America’s Cup in 1987 in Freemantle, Australia. In 2007, she was acquired by members of the Manhattan Sailing Club to help celebrate the club’s 20th Anniversary.  Now she operates under the auspices of the NY Harbor Sailing Foundation and serves as the harbor’s great sailing ambassador.

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.

Wed, Aug 10 – All sailors rendezvous in Newport, RI for a taste of summer fun at the East Coast’s sailing capital.
Thur,  Aug 11 – depart Newport and sail to Block Island.
Fri, Aug 12 – sail to Port Jefferson and overnight.
Sat, Aug 13 – sail to Oyster Bay and overnight
Sun, Aug 14 – sail to New York City

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.

The tuition is $1,350 per person.  This covers the delivery from Newport to NYC on the 12 Meter plus all sailing and mooring fees.  Students are responsible for their own transportation, overnight accommodations and food.  These details will be discussed with Captain Marcus Cholerton-Brown upon registration.

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!



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