WHERE TO NEXT?
I’m distracted by the snowflakes falling outside my window in the early morning light. As I write this to you reminiscing about the warmth and sunshine last week in New Orleans, I realize winter is setting in in New England. One of my friends wrote the other day of the snow “One’s readiness is irrelevant. The only thing to do is say ‘well, it’s pretty’. And bundle up.”
I have two strategies for surviving New England winters:
- Embrace the winter, the cold temps and the snow. Be active outdoors – ice skating, playing pond hockey, snowshoeing, skiing, cross country skiing, hiking with spikes. I have done all of the above and I love the feeling of being active outdoors on a brisk (and hopefully sunny) winter’s day.
- Plan a warm weather trip sometime between December and April.
I’ll be doing both this winter.
My fall has been packed with travel and I’m currently home for a luxuriously long 2 weeks. I love traveling. And I love coming home. I’m again reminded of this quote…
“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” ~Lin Yutang
For many of you that have college or older kids, this weekend they will be showing up at your doorstep, and like me, you are eager to welcome them home. The quote above applies to them too and I want them to have that feeling of familiarity, coziness and warmth when they get here.
In preparation I’ve sent texts asking what meals they want and which of their favorite restaurants they want to dine in. Of course it’s not just me that they want to see 🙂 Seeing friends who are spread around the US at different colleges is high on the agenda.
This year we are having our usual family dinner with Jason’s extended family in Westchester County (we rotate between my family and Jason’s). There are at least 45 of us now and Jason’s cousin is a saint for hosting us all.
For the first time, we are going from there with his smaller family (24 of us) to a resort nestled in the Hudson Valley, Mohonk Mountain House. It is a classic throwback traditional lodge. All inclusive with activities (depending upon the season) like hiking, mountain biking, tomahawk throwing, pickleball, tennis, golf, boating, concerts, yin yoga, singing bowl meditation, cocktail making, included kids club and Family Feud. It’s not exactly like the hotel in Dirty Dancing, but it’s close. I’ll share more when I’m back.
Although Thanksgiving is a full week away, with college kids coming home, planning for big meals and making the house feel cozy, the festive season has already started. I hope you are also enjoying the planning and having your friends and family close.
This week’s inspirational articles include the 10 Best Places to Spend Thanksgiving (clearly for planning ahead for next year!), and others on Santa Fe, New Zealand, Tokyo, Washington DC, Hong Kong, Maldives and NYC.
Safari inspiration includes sleeping under the stars on a mobile safari through Botswana, unmissable hot spots in Rwanda, why some of the world’s best wines can only be found at high-end safari lodges and traveling solo on safari.
You’ll also find information on airport etiquette, college tours by private jet, predictions for the highest number of air travelers at Thanksgiving since 2005 and the temporary closing of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon amid volcanic eruption concerns.
- This week’s highlight – Hiša Franko
- Hot New Hotel Opening – Raffles Boston
- Inspiration + Information
As an untrained chef, she took over a flailing restaurant. In the beginning it wasn’t notable or impressive. But Chef Ana was driven to improve and make it into a success. She took a tour of Europe’s best restaurants for inspiration and learned techniques from friends that were chefs.
“I never went to culinary school, and that’s why I discovered my own way of creating which is less restrictive. Upon first sight you think, ‘Do I even like this?’ But when you put it in your mouth, the world completely changes. I’m proud of my audacity. The only thing I don’t like to hear from my guests is that the dinner was boring.” ~ Chef Ana
Keeping with the diet that has been a part of their community for centuries, there are many dairy and meat ingredients. “They work closely with farmers, shepherds and cheese makers from high mountain farms where they still raise their cattle and produce cheese and cottage cheese the way they learned from the past generations. These are the places that often seem idyllically locked in time.”
The restaurant is closely knit with the community of foragers, shepherds, cheese makers, hunters and fishermen.
Her passion and relentless focus on local producers and foods changed her trajectory and just months ago they were awarded their third Michelin star. She’s starred in an episode of Chef’s Table. They made it to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
They serve only a tasting menu and are adults only (welcoming kids 13+ years old). See an example of the menu, 50 Shades Of Life here.
“Hiša Franko is not just a fine dining restaurant and it’s not a boutique hotel, it’s a former countryside inn, which chef Ana Roš has transformed into a unique, world renowned restaurant. The rooms are modest, do not offer any special views and are intended for restaurant guests who do not want to drive after dinner.”
How wonderful to simply retire to your room upstairs after a magical dinner, and then wake up the next morning and have breakfast made by the same kitchen?
They also encourage you to dip your feet in the stream after a meal (see below). I love that type of warmth and informality paired with a Michelin star meal.
Room names include the Dream Room, Sunny Room, Between Sky & Earth and Sleeping in the Meadow.
Slovenia has become a more popular destination but it’s still not nearly as crowded as its neighbors Italy and Croatia. Hiša Franko is a great inspiration for a visit, but while you’re here, there is so much more to see and do.
On my active adventures list:
- the nearby Soča River (photo above), which is a spectacular shade of glacial blue and offers opportunities for kayaking, wild swimming and jumping off big rocks into the water.
- hiking a section of the Juliana Trail
There are also incredible wineries, caves, Lake Bled, castles, Ljubljana and so much more. Consider planning a trip to Slovenia or adding it on to your trip to Croatia or Italy.
📷 Hiša Franko
- The newly built hotel has a stunning three-story Sky Lobby on the 17th floor, with a spiral staircase and endless city views. The guest rooms, suites and residences all come with the Raffles world-famous butler service.
- A foodie’s paradise with 4 dining options and more to come. Try modern Portuguese by Michelin Chef George Mendes at Amar or the Long Bar & Terrace, a cocktail lounge where you can get a regional twist on the Singapore Sling (the classic drink created by a Raffles bartender in 1915). Café Pastel is a bakery that serves bread and croissants using a seven-year-old sourdough starter from Mendes’ Aldea restaurant in New York City.
- Enjoy the 65-foot indoor pool to swim laps, a gym and wellness center and the Guerlain Spa, offering treatments in collaboration with the Parisian beauty and wellness brand.
- The Blind Duck, their new 2 level speakeasy opening in a week.
Of course it comes with the usual perks and VIP treatment when booking your stay through Truvay Travel.
📷 Raffles Boston
Reach out to plan your trip to
10 Best Places to Spend Thanksgiving, Town & Country
Fodors Go List 2024, Fodor’s
Think you know Santa Fe? Get away from downtown, Washington Post
Oh, the Wildlife You’ll Find!, Virtuoso
The 37 Best Things to Do in New York City, Condé Nast
RWANDA: UNMISSABLE HOT SPOTS FOR YOUR AFRICAN ADVENTURE, The Guardian
This Rarely Visited Corner of Africa Is a Safari Travel Gem, Travel & Leisure
(option to add an onboard admissions advisor)
AAA Predicts the Highest Number of Air Travelers for Thanksgiving Weekend Since 2005, Condé Nast Traveler
(If you aren’t able to access an NYT or Washington Post article, send me a note and I’ll send it to you in a PDF.)