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Dear Traveler,

And they’re off!


Mystik Dan cuts the corner
Then grabs the lead right at the top of the stretch
Sierra Leone and Forever Young are shoulder to shoulder with a furlong to go!
But they’ve got 2 lengths to make up on Mystik Dan who’s begging for the wire!
Forever Young and Sierra Leone keep on coming!
Sierra Leone, Forever Young and Mystik Dan – a wild finish!
Here’s the wire!
Photo finish!!!
3 noses on the wire!!
Sierra Leone, Forever Young and Mystik Dan in an international thriller!!

Attending the Kentucky Derby was a whirlwind of excitement and Southern glamour! Read more about it in this week’s Highlight below.


Last week’s most popular article was This Genius Packing List Template Will Instantly Turn You Into an Ultra-Organized Traveler.

This week’s inspirational articles include the best luxury resorts in Cabo, what it’s like to plan vacations for billionaires, destinations in Europe that will be less crowded and a cool neighborhood to visit in Buenos Aires.

The informational articles include the extreme demand (and lack of availability) for cruises and how to stay calm when your trip goes wrong (even I learned something).

Reminder – this Sunday is Mother’s Day🌷.

If you are still looking for a gift, check out the articles below with ideas for the mothers who love travel in your life. And if you are lucky enough to live near Boston, I highly recommend you check out Lotus & Lettuce for bouquets custom made for you in the most loving way.

Susan Margolin, the owner, designer and friend of mine, grows her flowers from the seeds, many of which she harvests from her blooms the year before. She asks you lots of questions about the recipient to really understand them and if you have an antique vase or meaningful item you’d like used, she will make sure it all fits together beautifully.

I’ve never seen flowers as lovingly put together as these are. Read some of her instagram captions and you’ll get a taste for the passion she invests in each one.

 

Have a beautiful week!

Warmly,

Below:

  • This week’s highlight – The Kentucky Derby
  • Hot New Hotel Opening – Wood Hotel Bodø
  • Inspiration + Information

THE KENTUCKY DERBY

Called “the most exciting 2 minutes in sports!,” the Kentucky Derby is unlike any sporting event I’ve ever been to.

I had my bets on Sierra Leone (#3), but Mystik Dan (#2) stole the show. It was so close! The top three finishers were right there, tantalizingly close to a big win. A $10 bet on the trifecta could have brought you $11,138!

Some folks at the table next to us were fanning themselves with lots of $100 bills. Clearly they made some successful bets.

WHAT YOU WEAR
The fashion—it’s a spectacle in itself! Hats are a must, and Jessie and I debated over whether to pick the hat first or the dress. We ended up getting dresses first and then scrambling to find the perfect hats at pop-up shops around town. After walking around in the rain with umbrellas for almost 2 hours, we bought Jessie’s hat just 10 minutes before the boutique closed.

Next time, killer hat first, dress second! (There were definitely people wearing hats that were tailor made for dresses – or perhaps the other way around).  Some hats were like works of art, towering two feet high and wide, others colorful and some a bit odd.

 

WHAT IT’S LIKE
The atmosphere was electric from the moment we arrived. VIP rooms, bars (highlighting the local favorite – a mint julep), food outlets and everywhere women with fancy hats and colorful outfits.

We were so fortunate to have been invited by good friends who are well connected and generously included us in the fun.

 

 

After we found our spot in the Jockey Club suites, had lunch and watched our first race, we didn’t sit still. We had some special places to visit.

First down to the ground floor. After a parade of horses walked by, we were escorted through the Paddock, the circular area the horses are walked through just before they enter the track for their race.

From there we went to the rail along the track to watch one of the races leading up to the big race (there are 14 races that day and the 12th is the Derby). To be that close as the horses gallop by to the finish line is exhilarating! (video)

Next a very special visit to the jockey room where we met Javier Castellano (last year’s Derby winner) and Irad Ortiz Jr. These guys are Derby royalty! Jockeys can be at most 126 pounds. They are small but so very mighty – rock solid muscle, just like their horses.

The Derby definitely attracts plenty of notable characters. We spotted Jimmy Fallon, Dave Portnoy, Ted Cruz and the Governor of Texas. Travis Kelce and Martha Stewart were also around and Winona Judd sang the National Anthem.

If you go to the Derby, you’ll want to arrive at least the day ahead – to watch the fillies race in the Longines Kentucky Oaks race and attend a late night party or two. At the Fanduel party we were treated to a concert by Luke Bryant and Ne-Yo.

Beyond the glitz and glamour, I also learned a lot about horse racing and the strides that have been made in safety because of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority. HISA was enacted by Congress in 2020 to ensure the integrity of Thoroughbred horse racing and the safety of racehorses and jockeys.

The Kentucky Derby was a truly unforgettable experience for us, with a dash of Southern charm thrown in for good measure.

If you aren’t up for a VIP experience, there are more affordable ways to enjoy the Derby. The infield is the most moderately priced option. We didn’t go there but we have friend’s kids who were there and, for 20-somethings, it seems like the place to be!

Many people go to the Derby every year (it was my colleague’s dad’s 75th in a row!) but for me this was a once in a lifetime experience. I’m so happy I did it! If it’s on your list, I encourage you to plan ahead and go next year!

Reach out to plan your

📷 Visit Norway

🌟 Wood Hotel Bodø opens next week on in Rønvikfjellet, Norway.  Rønvikfjellet translates to the Rønvik Mountain and that mountain provides many adventures for your visit.

“There’s a reason we call ourselves an outdoor resort. At Wood Hotel Bodø, nature isn’t just an add-on; it’s seamlessly integrated into every aspect of our hotel. Standing proud in the woodlands, we embrace the stunning outdoor surroundings as an essential part of our identity. Just beyond our doors lie countless mountain trails waiting to be explored. So: lace up your hiking boots and let’s venture into the wilderness.”

Why visit Wood Hotel Bodø?

  • This unique hotel is made mainly of timber. Only the first floor is concrete, and the rest is entirely constructed of wood, including the cutlery for the restaurants. The carpets are made of recycled fishnets. See a video here of the building construction and its stunning view.
  • The perfect location for adventure seekers, with easy access to hiking, mountain biking and the Rampen Via Ferrata (above). Enjoy the midnight sun in summer months and views of the Northern Lights in the winter.
  • After your active pursuits, head to the top of the hotel, which houses an entire wellness floor. You will find panoramic views, a heated outdoor pool, traditional steam sauna and full gym.
  • You are an easy 5 hour ferry ride or short helicopter to the Lofoten Islands, an archipelago of dramatic scenery – majestic mountains, vast fjords and charming fishing villages. Just don’t drive – that will take you 17+ hours!

Of course it comes with the usual perks and VIP treatment when booking your stay through Truvay Travel.

 

📷 Wood Hotel Bodø

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