? Babylonstoren

 

WHERE TO NEXT?

Hello Traveler,

Despite the fact that it is school vacation this week, our family is home. Hockey season is almost over and today is our son’s last home game. On Monday I dropped off chocolate milk for his team breakfast and seemingly out of nowhere my eyes teared up.

I’ll admit I’m feeling quite sentimental as his high school hockey career and full time residence in our house is nearing its end. He’ll be off to college next year and our home will be quiet.

Many of you have gone through a similar situation before or will be in the near (or somewhat near) future. It’s hitting me earlier than I expected. I’m full of mixed emotions – pride about who he has become, sadness that he will be leaving home and wonder about what the coming years entail. Such is the ebb and flow of life. Full of transitions.

I’m off to the midwest this weekend – visiting friends in Chicago (where I grew up and one of my favorite cities) and my parents and daughter at school. It might not be a warm or tropical destination, but I’m looking forward to it just as much! And my daughter has informed me the forecast is 65 and sunny while I’m there – which I will happily take as it was 6 degrees here yesterday morning!


Americans love Italy and so do you! We’ve been planning many trips there over the last few months. Often a question comes up about – “Should we drive or take the train from ___ to ___?”

The answer is very dependent on the origin and destination and what options are in between. I’m a big fan of train travel in Europe – especially when it’s high speed and non-stop. But occasionally I can be swayed for a car transfer if there is a charming stop on the way – a UNESCO World Heritage town or a special restaurant. Between Rome and Florence one of those spots is the medieval hilltop town of Civita di Bagnoregio (see below), only accessible by pedestrian bridge.

I like exploring both options before I decide what to propose for you. I find the map below a helpful resource for an initial visual reminder of Italy’s train system. You can find a bigger version here.

Another site I love is Rome2Rio. This is a valuable resource for looking up options to get from anywhere to anywhere else in the world. As an example, I looked up from my front door to 1 Michelin star restaurant Motoï in Kyoto, Japan. It takes 23 hours and 10 minutes. And it even includes the schedule for the Dartmouth Coach, which is a shuttle going to BOS airport from our town. Check it out the next time you’re wondering how you can get from “here to there” by planes, trains, metro, cars or ferries.

Did you know there is a Resources page on truvaytravel.com? Check it out for more helpful tips before and during your travels.

 

Map key:
BLUE: High-speed trains 
DARK GREEN: trains
LIGHT GREEN: Regional trains

Civita di Bagnoregio

 

Last week’s most popular article was The Bucket List Family Told Us Their Best Travel Tips and Favorite Destinations. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out for some inspiration on their favorite domestic and international destinations for families and a few of their favorite travel tips.

The inspiring articles below include secrets of the Louvre, the Met and the Prado that most visitors miss, the joy of the auntie-uncle trip and why 2024 is the year to visit the two most precious rhinos in the world.

A few of my favorite informational articles include hotel concierges reveal of the seemingly impossible tasks they’ve ever been asked, showing off status with your hotel bathrobe, the secret missing ingredient to truly refreshing breaks – mastery experiences (I loved this one!), the entrepreneur’s guide to better vacation habits (great tips for all) and how to create a laid-back, European-style summer when you can’t take a whole month off (includes good advice!).

Have a wonderful week!

Warmly,

 

Below:

  • This week’s highlight – Babylonstoren
  • Where to Next? St. Regis Aspen
  • Articles to Inspire+Inforn

BABYLONSTOREN

It’s just a week beyond Valentine’s Day and you are still thinking about romantic getaways. So I have a beautiful (and faraway) place for you to dream about…

Just a short drive outside of Cape Town is the Winelands, where the world famous South African signature grape varieties, chenin blanc, pinotage and cabernet sauvignon, are nurtured.

The Winelands includes the towns of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, and they are not only known for their world class wineries, but also delicious farm to table dining and spectacular country estates.

This week I’m highlighting one of my favorites – Babylonstoren. Its setting provides both moments for relaxation and access to active adventures…

  • Begin your day with a calming tone – a relaxing stretch and breathing session in the garden.
  • Venture to a lookout, In the Clouds, and enjoy a bottle of local chenin blanc while gazing out at spectacular views of Table Mountain.
  • Cycle through the vineyards and orchards – a delightful way to explore the working farm.
  • Enjoy a canoe ride, sharing tranquil moments listening to the sounds of nature on the water.
  • Indulge in a calming treatment at the Garden Spa. The Arabian-inspired rasul (mud experience) for two, combined with a duo massage, provides the perfect escape.
  • Float in the indoor-outdoor pool while admiring the sky through a glass-paneled pitched roof.

And enjoy a wide range of culinary experiences…

  • Savor the simplicity of a picnic set up in a secret spot in the garden, relishing the perfect al fresco lunch.
  • Babel, the signature farm-to-fork restaurant, has a seasonal menu guided by the offerings of the garden – a lovely way to share a meal prepared with love.
  • The Greenhouse Restaurant is the ideal spot to enjoy easy, effortless picnic-style food beneath majestic old oaks.
  • At the Tasting Room, overlook beautiful vineyards and the iconic Babylonstoren conical hill. This spot is perfect for sharing a delicious snack platter while tasting one’s way through the farm’s range of wines, creating an intimate experience that lingers on the palate.

If traveling as several couples. book the Fynbos Family House. It sleeps 10 in 5 en-suite bedrooms with fireplaces, a fully equipped kitchen, spacious lounge, private pool and courtyard (see photo above).

Just off the lounge is a contemporary glass cube encompassing a fully equipped kitchen. The heart of the house is the private central courtyard, offering a gathering space for friends and family to share. A crystal pool in the centre of the courtyard is fed by a shallow channel, emulating the streams on the rest of the property and providing the tranquil sound of gently trickling water.

“Above all, we’d like visitors to ground themselves again. To enjoy the mountains all around as much as we do, pick their own healthy fruit and veg, play pétanque, swim in the farm dam, enjoy an hour in the spa, eat a simple fresh dish at one of the restaurants, walk up the conical Babylonstoren hill, await sunset with a glass of wine in hand, and then slip in between sheets of crisp linen and drift away … more or less.”
— Owner, Karen Roos

? Babylonstoren

 

?Our clients spent a few days at the St. Regis Aspen last week.  They had such a fantastic time, they added two extra nights to their stay!

Why is the St. Regis Aspen so special?

  • A perfect location, located at the base of Ajax mountain and walking distance to Aspen’s shops, restaurants and entertainment.
  • Dine on site at Velvet Buck, the signature restaurant that offers an Alpine Yurt outdoor experience. After morning skiing, head to Mountain Social Cocktail Bar and Lounge where you can enjoy the St. Regis signature Bloody Mary, the Downhill Snapper.  The Aspen twist includes dill, basil and citrus.
  • Suites include the St. Regis Butler service – unpacking, packing, morning beverage service, garment pressing and access to the St. Regis Butler Service Desk for any specific requests during your stay.

Do as much or as little as you like:

  • Relax and enjoy the oxygen lounge, steam caves, cold plunges, hot tub, fitness center and confluence waterfall, all on the property.
  • In the winter, stay active with world class skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, sleigh rides, snowshoeing and winter fly fishing.
  • Book a profession ski guide to access parts of the mountain that you may not find on your own. Our family did this last year and our guide was an amazing resource and super fun!
  • For summer visits, get outside and go hiking, golfing, fly fishing, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, paragliding and mountain biking.

‼️Don’t miss…… Chef’s Club, named one the 100 Best Restaurants in the country by Time Magazine. Visiting chefs from around the world take over the space for a few months and offer diners a unique culinary experience through the Chefs Club Residency Program.

? St. Regis Aspen

Reach out to plan your trip to

INSPIRATION

The Secrets of the Louvre, the Met and the Prado That Most Visitors Miss, WSJ

The joy of the auntie-uncle trip, The Washington Post

4 Days in Washington, D.C.—Locals Reveal The Best Way to Spend a Weekend in the Nation’s Capital, AFAR

Madrid to join Formula 1 calendar from 2026 in new long-term deal, Formula1

The Vogue Guide to St. Moritz in Winter, Vogue

Seven ways to fall in love with Shakespeare’s fair city of Verona, Italy, BBC

7 U.S. Parks With Great Views of Totality for the April Solar Eclipse, AFAR

In Alaska, the Rare Thrill of ‘Wild’ Ice Skating, NYT

SAFARIS

Why 2024 is the year to visit the two most precious rhinos in the world, BBC

INFORMATION

  Nothing Says Status Like a Hotel Bathrobe, NYT

Hotel Concierges Reveal All the Seemingly Impossible Tasks They’ve Ever Been Asked, AFAR
Not all superheroes wear capes. Some wear golden keys on their lapels.

Top travel reads for 2024, from memoirs to nature writing, National Geograpic

Washington Dulles Becomes First U.S. Airport to Offer Global Entry Enrollment on Departure, Travel Market Report

The Secret Missing Ingredient to Truly Refreshing Breaks? Mastery Experiences, Inc.

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Better Vacation Habits in the New Year, Inc.

What AI means for travel—now and in the future, McKinsey & Company

How to Create a Laid-Back, European-Style Summer When You Can’t Take a Whole Month Off, Inc.

(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.)

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