CAPE COD and TRANQUILITY

Cape Cod and Tranquility
 
If you are in the New York area or within driving distance to Boston,  Cape Cod is a really delightful getaway.  In just under 4 hours from N.Y.C. you will be on the Cape.   This  place gives an illusion to being in a hidden location,  because shortly after you arrive one can feel so removed from the hustle and bustle of the city quickly.  Even if you live in a suburban setting I believe that the tranquility of Cape Cod is different.
 
This is one location that has some of the cutest names for it’s towns.  Seriously, can you think of a name sweeter and more original name than Sandwich?  My personal favorite is Chatham because of  fond memories and also because the town is the ideal spot to base yourself in.  Chatham Wayside Inn is located right in the center of the main street and is reasonably priced,  a more superior property is Chatham Bars if you are looking to treat yourself.  The hotel is located on the beach and has much to offer.  They have a few restaurants, including a Chef’s table and lovely spa services that can be perfect if you happen to have an occasion.  In minutes you can be in the center of town indulging in shopping and having chowder for lunch which is of course a must.  Any time is right for biking and then take a break for ice cream in the town of Dennis.  Located  right in the center of that town you can’t miss the generous portions served for you to indulge in.  Bicycling in Chatham as well as other towns is popular and kayaking is available nearby as well and a lot of fun on this trip.  Do not forget Provincetown, whale watching and plenty of fun!
 
After a couple of days on the Cape plan to catch a ferry to Nantucket and after a couple of days continue on to Martha’s Vineyard and you will swear you hear Carly Simon singing.  These are to adorable, relaxing spots where you can be sure to spend QUALITY TIME with the people you are with and are easily accessible by ferry.  Plan to bike on Nantucket and explore this little island, follow the many bike trails and you cannot get lost accept if you count the surprise areas you will discover along the way.  The well known White Elephant maintains their lovely standard, the rates are always high but you can’t beat the picturesque harbor view.  An Inn or B and B may be the better choice, because you will enjoy the charm of that sort of accommodation which fits in perfectly with this location.  There are many to choose from that offer the canopy beds in family or double rooms and serve a hearty breakfast.  In Martha’s Vineyard there are several towns to choose from to stay in but of course you will go around and visit them all.  A great way is by bus, you hop on and off easily.  For your base I prefer Edgartown, most likely wherever you stay there the location will be walking distance to all.  Harborview hotel has a variety of accommodations but here again I think an Inn, which is generally more intimate, is the way to go.
 
Be prepared for inclement weather,  particularly if you travel by ferry all the way around, note that you can also fly into these locations.  When I traveled with my family to these 3 places we had an unexpected turn of events.  Once we arrived on time for our ferry (one of the last ones out that day) out of Nantucket we quickly learned that the ferry service had been canceled due to rough waters, and that was in August.  We made way to the town hall and were accommodated with a list of inns that still had availability at that last minute notice.  A scenario that began with a bit of panic concluded into one of the best parts of the trip.  Being stranded in Nantucket could not get any better.  We found a “family” room with a bed for my husband and I and 2 twins, all with canopy.  The next day the perfect country breakfast was waiting to send us off as the ferries were back on schedule back to the mainland.  I hope you find some sort of excitement similar to that one in your travels!
 
Eat Drink and be Merry and keep Traveling!

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YES to CLUB MED

Club Med could be the answer and is highly recommended with children of all ages. If the kids are under five you have clubs that cater to them or if they are teens and young adult children you will be able to travel with the family and be confident that everyone will totally REAP the benefits as all needs are sure to be met.

All clubs will satisfy. Go to Punta Cana when children are young and continue on when they are grown. Martinique set off the trend of high-end style for Club Med early in the 21st century quite a few years ago when they had renovated. You will find the beach there to be one of the nicest in the world. It is very accessible and the water is a gorgeous green and the water is actually warm to top it off. Be prepared for a predominately Parisian and French Canadian crowd-Oui! All of the clubs have changed over recent years and so they offer superior accommodations. If anyone recalls how the clubs were back in the day PLEASE be assured that those days are gone. Club Med in Cancun is an easy destination to get to as it is not far from the Cancun airport once you arrive there, approximately 15 minutes door to door. Strongly suggested for your stay there is the Suite side for your rooms particularly if you are traveling with adults or your adult children. The privacy of the infinity pool is nestled at the opposite end of the club, which caters to those that prefer more activity. The white sand and the clear blue/green water has not changed. On the side of the suites you will be catered to by the staff a bit more as you will be attended to by butler service in your room and by the pool side.

The food is very good at the clubs’ restaurants, fish such as red snapper are always a fresh catch and grilled just perfectly. Fresh salads offering probably anything you may desire to mix in is always served. The wines that are included are just fine too. Truthfully all the clubs offer fine quality meals; the chefs work very hard to please and to be sure to meet everyone’s needs.

As Club Med maintains it’s perfection when it comes to the “all inclusive vacation,” the staff at all of them will make it their business to ensure you get your money’s worth. They employ guys and gals that really like their job and as a result walk around smiling all day everyday when you are at their club. So go for it and it is quite predictable that you will become a repeat guest, particularly if you go with children. Guaranteed is that they will ask you to return and remind you how they were able to do their thing as you were able to do yours and always feel secure that everyone was safe. When you want to throw your hands up in the air and dance in the evening the music is waiting and lots of fun as generally the GO (CLUB MED staff) are there to indulge in the dance with you.

The European clubs are also fantastic. Not as close for those traveling from the U.S.A. but worth it when the time is right for you. Always be prepared for an international crowd, which some may find to be full of pleasant surprises.

P.S. GRANDPARENTS WILL ENJOY TOO, PLEASE INVITE THEM IT WILL BE EVEN MORE FUN WITH THEM!

Eat, Drink and be Merry and Keep Traveling!

Want ITALY? I GOT ITALY………

I know we need to chat about Italy.   Once I get started I may not be able to stop.  I have a few top destinations in the front of my head at all times and Italia is on the top.  I honestly do not know where to begin.  Please know that I will get to it with you and it will be worth the wait!!!!

MOLTO GRAZIE for your patience.

EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY AND KEEP TRAVELING!

Vamos a Puerto Rico (Let’s Go)

If you have been traveling through the Caribbean looking for new places to visit and haven’t been back to Puerto Rico or if you have never been to Puerto Rico it is time to make it your next tropical island vacation.

When was the last time you went to a restaurant anywhere and found the owner of the place entertaining you with his singing while a family member was in the kitchen cooking up the food that you ordered?  In San Juan I have just the place where you can find such fun at dinner.

I prefer staying in San Juan either in the Condado area or Isla Verde.  Since I just returned I can tell you that there is a nice choice of hotels that are maintaining their own standard.  In Isla Verde I have 3 choices for you, each of them have a different style.  Depending on your budget you have the following:

Ritz Carlton: Naturally as expected the highest standard is there.  The hotel is very pretty, lined with luscious plants.   Even when the hotel is at maximum occupancy you will still receive optimum service , you will not ever feel neglected as if there is at least one staff member assigned to you.  The layout just makes for an easy access to the beach and if you forget something in the room you can easily walk back to the elevator back to your room.  Only take a room facing the water, any water view will do, but be sure not to face the city because basically you will see the airport and may be disturbed.  If you can swing it stay on the Club floor because the Club access will be the cherry in your pina colada to thoroughly complete your visit.  It serves snacks continuously beginning with a continental breakfast, light lunch and appetizers before dinner that may be enough for the night!  Drinks are also included in that area from noon time until 10 p.m.  Il Mulino is in the hotel for dining if you choose and is situated off the lobby and right next to the casino.

Intercontinental and The El San Juan are both within walking distance to the Ritz Carlton.  I would not put them in the same quality category but they do a good job at both.  EL SAN JUAN is full of action.  Upon entering you will find yourself in the middle of a huge bar scene.  On Saturday night be prepared because upon entering you will feel as if you need to begin dancing and you will, the band is loud,  the rhythm is contagious and take my word I would be surprised if you don’t find yourself moving to the beat.  If you do not like that much action then the INTERCONTINENTAL may be more suitable for you.  It has a nice flow upon entering, very nice but a lot more mellow.  Both hotels have a casino.  I prefer the casino in the El San Juan.  It always did have a special vibe going on and so it continues.

The Condado section in San Juan has several hotels.  I really like La Concha.  As soon as you arrive at this hotel you feel Puerto Rico all around you.  It has a warm, sleek,  tropical feel upon entering, it gives you what you should feel when on this island, very inviting.  The bar is in the center of the lobby, quite attractive with a Latin rhythm playing in the background, while the casino is off to the right a few steps away and it is a real nice one.  They have an excellent restaurant there, La Perla, along with the decor and the location of it makes the price worth it.

Getting back to the restaurant where the owner sings to you, it is called El Estribo.  It is not fine dining but it is good food and very well priced.  Satisfaction is pretty much guaranteed, old-fashioned Puerto Rican cuisine.   I hope you will rent a car so you can easily get around to all my places.  Another idea for dinner is going off the beaten path in the direction of PINONES.  It is on the way out of ISLA VERDE.  Driving into the neighborhood you will notice the difference and get a sense of what San Juan was like before it became as built up as it is today.  There are few restaurants out on this way but one is worthwhile going to for either lunch or dinner.  It is situated in front of the beach and is completely open, no doors just a roof and quite casual.  The name is Soleil, it serves real traditional Puerto Rican cuisine too.  I will give you one more because it has a unique setting.  Take off your shoes and walk onto the beach and have dinner at Pamela’s, A.K.A. Numero 1.  It is also a guest house that is reasonably priced if you like that style.  Dinner is good but it is pricey, and I have a hunch you will say it is worth it.  I have one more that I must share with you.  La Casita Blanca is located in a neighborhood and was converted from a house to a small restaurant.  It is as simple as it gets but it may be as close to eating in one’s home in Puerto Rico that you will get.  Check it out and let me know how you like the way the owner runs to serve you chicken soup from a cup as soon as you sit down!  Of course you will order their homemade recipe for SANGRIA which they serve well chilled.  The menu is a blackboard with a handful of choices all of them good ones.  I have no doubt that it will be a unique and authentic eating experience.   All of this food is prepared with specific Caribbean spices that I am confident you will find muy delicioso!

It is quite nice and refreshing to visit El Yuque, a rain forest.   Take in a hike or two when in there.  Also bring an umbrella and water, you never know!

Old San Juan is great for visiting day and night.  A lot to walk around, it gets quite warm so have a handy bottle of water just in case.  Park in the parking lot because it is just easier and not expensive.

ENJOY The Sunshine in Puerto Rico!  Andale!

EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY AND KEEP TRAVELING!

LET US BEGIN WI…

LET US BEGIN WITH THE CHAMPAGNE IN PARIS, GET READY TO TAKE IT ALL IN ALONG THE MOSEL, CONTINUE ON DOWN TO LOWER GERMANY WHERE WE CHECK INTO TEGERNSEE AND RELAX WITH A WEISBIER AND SHNITZEL FACING THE LAKE AND AND MAY I SUGGEST WE END WITH THE LIMONCELLO SOMEWHERE SOMEHOW IN LIGURIA OF COURSE IT WOULD BE VIA ABANO T…………further details will follow!

EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY AND KEEP TRAVELING!

Aside

Sweet hotel suggestions for Paris

In case you have not yet selected where to stay in Paris and feel overwhelmed from all the choices I have a few suggestions to help you.  I think the best way to make  a choice is  by narrowing down the options and so I will offer you 3 different properties.   Each fit in with a different budget but is assured that all three are well located and charming and clean!  All 3 are on the Left Bank.

I recently stayed at Hotel Pont Royal, an understated  little GEM !  After breakfast you can walk easily either to Musee d’Orsay or Musee du Louvre.  Always be sure to check with the concierge that the museums are opened.  The first Sunday of each month the Louvre offers a FREE entry.  D’Orsay is closed on Mondays.  The hotel is located on Rue Montalembert and faces Rue de Bac.  Rue de Bac will be your road to the museums and in the other direction a short block to Saint Germain Blvd.   Saint Germain Blvd. will be the road that you will find yourself on the most whether going down to the metro or making your way to dinner that blvd. will be your guide.  The Hotel Pont Royal serves an excellent, plentiful breakfast, one of the best I have had in Paris with nothing spared.  The fresh squeezed juices are delicious and the croissants are addicting so watch out for all that butter melting in your mouth in the morning., especially the apple were surprisingly to me the best!  The hotel is well maintained and the staff quite attentive and helpful, you will be very happy staying here and may feel that you are actually at home in in your own little flat in the heart of Paris.

Prior to my last visit I stayed at a hotel that really makes one feel that they have arrived in Paris in another decade.   At Hotel Saint Germain Depres located on Rue Bonaparte you will find it offers a good location but the rooms are on the small side.  The decor takes you back in time a bit but is well maintained.  They recently began serving a buffet breakfast, in the past it was basically croissant and coffee so they have improved. and is quite adequate.   The elevator is tiny so you may need to take turns when arriving with luggage, but that is a part of what makes this spot so very cutesy.  When you arrive to your floor the hallway is  narrow but very pretty and charming as you make your way to your room where you will find a cozy but small room waiting for you.   The hotel is a step away from Saint Germain Blvd., and as I previously mentioned will be a large part of your walking route to all destinations.

Another choice that can probably be suitable for a slightly smaller budget is the Grand  Hotel Saint Michel located in the Latin Quarter.  It is very near to Notre Dame and an easy walk to Luxembourg Garden.  They did a good job when this property was renovated.  The area is not far from Saint Germain Blvd. , on rue Cujas.  There are many restaurants and quite a lot of shopping in the Latin Quarter but it is very busy so be prepared for crowds at most times of the day.  If you select this property try and get a corner room because the view is special!

Bon Voyage it is going to be a WONDERFUL trip!

EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY AND KEEP TRAVELING!

Let’s begin planning your Paris trip!

Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world, which is why I choose to begin our journey around the world with this city.   Certainly I have a ton of good advice for you when you make your trip to Paris, but for now I’ll  give you just a few to get you started on this SUNNY get ready for SPRING kind of day.  Stay on the Left Bank.   While you begin your first day, surely you will stroll along Rue St. Germain des Pres probably working up an appetite when you will notice the well known cafe, Les Duex Magots, perched on the corner; do not go there for lunch but do turn onto the street right there. This is Rue Bonaparte and you will see LE BONAPARTE, this is where you will have lunch and relish the most delicious goat cheese salad.  Be sure to have that as a part of your meal because at this Brasserie they never fail to satisfy my taste for Chevre.  If the weather permits, sit outdoors but if it is still chilly that could be perfect.    Get cozy at a table inside and you will feel the Parisian scene, this is the real deal.  Oh I am reliving this as I suggest this all to you and I cannot wait to hear your experience at one of my personal favorites for nearly 40 years!

Another day, adjust your late afternoon to stop and relax on a corner seat at Les Duex Magots while  people watching with others in the neighborhood and of course inclusive of a Kir or a well chilled glass of Sancerre as your aperitif!  This is another scene among others that we will discuss further………

One of my favorite details all over  Paris is how the waiters maintain a formal standard of dress code, there is nothing nice than being serviced in style even at the corner brasserie!  BON APPETIT!

EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY AND KEEP TRAVELING!

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