Urbanvacations’s Weblog

April 10, 2021

USA Washington DC JESS@FriendsTravel.com

Filed under: Uncategorized — urbanvacations @ 3:49 am
AMTRAK Reservations. Airline Reservations. Car Rental Reservations. Hotel Reservations.
Sightseeing and Touring Reservations. Tell us: who will be traveling. When: date of arrival and departure.
 City of origin. DAY DATE TIME most preferred to travel.
 EMAIL: #JessKalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com Visit: www.FriendsTravel.com

For first-time visitors and travel veterans alike, it is always time-consuming to find the most exciting high-end tours and book an excursion that guarantees top-notch hospitality. In this newsletter, we present a riveting webinar on luxury travel in D.C. and a blog post that introduces the eight most popular D.C. tours that we operate. Check out these informative resources and become a D.C. travel connoisseur today!
 
The Best of Washington D.C. 
 
How to Tour Washington D.C. in Style Like a Pro 
Typically, when we think of our nation’s capital our mind conjures up images of monuments, museums and politics, which of course can all be found there. But there’s so much more to Washington D.C. It is a vibrant city with many facets – all waiting for you to discover them. And discover them you will! Of course, you can always head to Washington D.C. and pick yourself up a tourist map upon arrival, make your way around as best you can and hope you see all there is to see. Or – you can take advantage of our high-end D.C. products that allow you to indulge in a 360-degree experience of D.C.’s history, culture and amazing food…
EMAIL: #JessKalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com Visit: www.FriendsTravel.com
 
 
Washington D.C. Luxury Tours: 
 
Washington D.C. Circle of Power
The executive, legislature and judicial branches are all within the boundaries of Washington, DC. First, the White House for a tour of the exterior of the executive mansion. From your vantage point on Pennsylvania Ave, you will see the north side. Your guide will discuss the long history of the house and residence.

Washington D.C. by Land & Sea
An active adventure to see the best of DC both by land and from the water. This intimate experience with the best private guides in DC gives you a chance to get up close to the sights of Washington DC on a bike and then relax from your private boat to soak up the sun and views from the water.
 
Georgetown & Embassy Row
Georgetown is the oldest section of Washington, DC. Originally an independent city founded in 1751, it has since been incorporated into Washington. Renowned for its Federal-style architecture, Georgetown is a thriving shopping, residential and entertainment area.

Treasures of America
The Smithsonian is 19 world-class museums and a zoo. With so many, how do you decide which to visit! In our opinion, the two most unique are the Air and Space Museum and the American History Museum. Both are immense so let your guide walk you through and show you the highlights. 
 
Walking the National Mall of Washington D.C.
Meet your guide at your hotel (or a at the National Mall) and make your way to the National Mall. For more than 200 years, the National Mall has symbolized our nation and its democratic values, which have inspired the world. 

Monuments by Night

When the sun goes down, Washington lights up. Enjoy the sights and sounds of this truly magnificent city. You’ll see some of the city’s most popular places such as the Capitol Building, the White House and the Washington Monument. 
 
U Street Food Tasting Walking Tour in D.C.
This private walking tour allows guests to explore and experience the culinary delights of the famous U Street neighborhood. Here guests will enjoy delicious tastings from locally-owned restaurants and eateries and learn about the history of the neighborhood. 

Georgetown Food Tasting Tour
Eat our way through the stunning Georgetown and discover its’ transition from once a part city to the elite enclave as it’s known today. This walking tour will allow guests will learn about Georgetown’s delicious and culturally diverse history and the blended exciting cuisine that has come from that.
 EMAIL: #JessKalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com Visit: www.FriendsTravel.com
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April 3, 2021

USA Vacation Destinations JESS@FriendsTravel.com

Filed under: Uncategorized — urbanvacations @ 3:16 am
Love nature but not into tents and sleeping bags! Get a healthy dose of Mother Nature with these gorgeous lodging options that will promise to reconnect you with nature.
Special Rates EMAIL #JessKalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com 24|7|365
 
Mohonk Mountain House
Known for its stunning mountaintop location, Mohonk Mountain House is surrounded by unspoiled forest, spectacular cliffs and a pristine glacially formed lake. Founded in 1869 by Albert Smiley as a 10-room inn, the resort has grown over the years but continued to be operated by the Smiley family as a sanctuary in the mountains. At this all-inclusive resort, everything you need is at your fingertips, the only thing you need to focus on is to relax and immerse yourself into its serene surroundings. 
Special Rates EMAIL #JessKalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com 24|7|365
 
 
The Ranch at Laguna Beach
Tucked away among the secluded and verdant Alisa and Wood Canyons, The Ranch at Laguna Beach is an oasis. in the heart of Orange County. Look no further than the grounds for proof: Aliso Beach, arguably the most picturesque in Laguna, is a few hundred yards away; Ben Brown’s Golf Course, the only one of its kind in the area, is right on property. The hotel even has its own half-acre organic garden, which supplies ingredients to Harvest, its seasonal, indoor-outdoor California comfort food restaurant (grab a seat on the patio for prime canyon views). 
Special Rates EMAIL #JessKalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com 24|7|365
 
 
Field Guide Lodge
Situated in the heart of the beautiful mountain village, Field Guide Lodge is the epitome of mountain-chic and is built perfectly for exploring the incredible trails, mountains, river, fields and forest of Stowe. Boston-based designer, Rachel Reider imagined a place that directly embraces the leaf peeping, skiing and hiking that the area is known for, so the entire space features a “sunset in the mountains” color scheme of greens, golds, dusky purples, tones of gray and right pops of orange. You’ll also find bird wallpaper, animal “heads” out of cardboard, antlers, rail maps as visuals. Special Rates EMAIL #JessKalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com 24|7|365
 
 
Hermosa Inn
Originally handcrafted in the 1930s by Cowboy artist Alonzo “Lon” Megargee as his private art studio and residence, The Hermosa Inn’s historical charm is expressed through the use of traditional Southwestern architecture, adobe bricks, wood beans, hand-painted Mexican tile and many one-of-a-kind embellishments reflecting its artistic heritage. The desert landscaping, its popular on-site restaurant, Camelback Mountain views make it a beloved destination for both vacationers seeking the ultimate desert escape and foodies wanting a taste of the West. 
Special Rates EMAIL #JessKalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com 24|7|365
 
 
The Preserve at Boulder Hills
Situated on 3,500 scenic acres in Rhode Island, just 20 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean is the Preserve Sporting Club & Residences. Known as the most amenity-rich sporting community in America, The Preserve is a four-season destination, a community of like-minded outdoor enthusiasts, a gathering place of those seeking a sanctuary from the rigors of everyday life. With more than 150 elevation changes, the landscape is a stunning, natural backdrop for dozens of activities for all ages. 
Special Rates EMAIL #JessKalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com 24|7|365
 

March 21, 2021

Canada Best Places to Visit JESS@FriendsTravel.com

 

Top Cities in Canada

Optimistic for Travel Despite U.S.-Canada Border Remaining Closed. These things change almost daily.

If you’ve ever strolled the Old Port of Montreal or wandered around downtown Victoria, British Columbia, you know that the best cities in Canada blend history, culture, beauty, and a certain je ne sais quoi. This irresistible mix puts many of the country’s urban centers at the top of annual “most livable” lists — and it’s also what draws millions of visitors to experience all of the sights, scenery, and easygoing charm for themselves.

Toronto — Canada’s biggest city —

Montreal — Canada’s second-largest metropolis, did, wowing visitors with its “old-world feel,” as one voter described. Readers were also impressed with its dynamic dining scene and its roster of luxurious hotels, which continues to improve with the addition of newcomers like Hotel Birks Montreal and the Four Seasons Hotel Montreal.

What Banff, Alberta, lacks in size, it makes up for in its “spellbinding beauty” and “romantic and quaint atmosphere,” according to travelers. “Absolutely beautiful,” one respondent raved about the idyllic resort town, which is surrounded by the imposing peaks of the Rocky Mountains. “It’s the best place for a true nature-and-adventure-filled vacation.”

British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province, claimed two winners this year: Victoria and Vancouver. The former, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, has century-old architecture, windswept views, boutique shopping, and, as numerous travelers emphasized, good-natured locals. “Victoria is home to many beautiful, quaint neighborhoods filled with friendly folks”.

Meanwhile, visitors to Vancouver raved about its abundant greenery, mountain-meets-sea scenery, and clean, walkable streets. “The most well-rounded city I’ve ever been to,” one respondent wrote. “There’s amazing hiking, the public transit is easy to access, it’s a very diverse place, home to people from around the world.”

Still, no city has managed to unseat Hall of Famer Quebec City. Keep reading for the reasons why it continues to earn travelers affections — and, of course, the full list of the best cities in Canada.


Quebec City

Chateau Frontenac Hotel in Quebec City, Province of Quebec, Canada

For five years running, travelers have awarded this 412-year-old metropolis the gold medal as Canada’s best city. With its atmospheric cafés and classic bistros, its sweeping views of the St. Lawrence River, and its historic Old Quebec neighborhood (a #UNESCO World Heritage site), the province’s capital exudes timeless romance. “It’s the closest one can get to being in Europe while remaining in North America,” one traveler wrote of its Continental character. Another touted its every-season appeal: “it’s a beautiful place to visit no matter the time of the year.”

Sailboats anchored in English Bay. In the background are the snowcapped North Shore Mountains. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Vancouver

Montréal, Québec, Canada -: people enjoying a sunny winter day at the top of Mont-Royal public park covered in snow with downtown Montréal on the background, against a sunny clear blue sky.


Montréal

Victoria, Canada – Building exterior of a Irish Times in a classic building in downtown Victoria.


Victoria, British Columbia

Banff, Alberta / Canada – Banff is a gateway to Sulpher Mountain and a must see for tourists.


Banff, Alberta

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San Diego California Vacations JESS@FriendsTravel.com

Why San Diego is (at Least) Six Vacations in One



To those who’ve never experienced #SanDiego—and even to some who have—it’s the ultimate #SoCal beach city, whose 70 miles of prime coastline tell you all you need to know about the place (in a nutshell: sun, surf and serious Endless Summer vibes). And no one’s saying those aren’t totally worthy getaway goals, because even if you did nothing more there than park yourself on any of the iconic local beaches, the vacation would inevitably go down as one of your best. But, the city packs so many bonus escapes—thanks to a whole series of world-unto-themselves neighborhoods—we can’t let you miss out.

Granted, you’ve probably heard of some of these neighborhoods before, and you may well have spent time in a few. But even the oldest among them have new offerings you won’t want to deprive yourself of—particularly when said offerings are the kind you read off a menu.

(Note that in a city that’s almost comically famous for its good weather, alfresco dining was a beloved way of life well before 2020 rolled around.)

So whether you’re thinking about your first visit to San Diego—or you’re a returning devotee—check out this guide to six of our favorite neighborhoods. Adding even one or two to the mix will make you feel like you’ve gotten a getaway-within-a-getaway. And rest assured, you’ll still go home feeling like you’ve had a gloriously beachy escape.



Old Town San Diego

To begin at the beginning, as it were, make Old Town your first stop. The scene of the first permanent European settlement in California, this neighborhood dates back to the late 1700s—and much further if you consider the 9000+ years of Kumeyaay history that preceded both the Spaniards and the 19th-century Mexican settlers along the banks of the San Diego River. In fact, to bring those millennia of indigenous history into sharper focus, the Old Town State Historic Park is debuting a long-anticipated Land of the First People Educational Park—or Iipay-Tipai Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok—this spring.

And in light of how much else there is to see, do and eat in the neighborhood, you’ll want to give yourselves at least half a day here—especially if you’ve got kids in tow, and you visit on a Wednesday or Saturday, when the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park stages fun demos by period-costumed blacksmiths and others. Kids will also love the resident donkeys, the vintage toys that adorn the children’s bedrooms at the 200-year-old Casa de Estudillo (all visible from the courtyard though large, open windows) and the creaky, old windmill (one of the only working windmills in any U.S. state park).


Also within the bounds of the State Historic Park: Fiesta de Reyes Plaza, where you’ll find the mostly alfresco Casa de Reyes Mexican restaurant, an outdoor stage, and countless specialty shops (peer into The Tile Shop, at a minimum). But whatever you eat or drink there, you’ll want to save room because just beyond the park’s borders, streets-full of amazing offerings beckon. In fact, at the restaurants that line San Diego Avenue, beloved “tortilla ladies” make fresh corn and flour rounds before your eyes (not that you’d need visual proof—the scent is a dead giveaway), and you should buy half a dozen to go even if you’re not planning to sit down for a meal. Something else you should pick up to snack on as you wander Old Town’s streets: the absurdly good Oreo Churros at the Wave-Caffe Vergnano.

Duly fortified, you’ll be set to wander the rest of the neighborhood. Highlights include the historic Campo Santo Cemetery and the nearby Heritage Park Row, a series of beautifully restored Victorian homes alongside San Diego’s first synagogue. To cap off your tour of the area—at least if you’re traveling sans kiddos—check out one of the best new additions: Tahona, home to an impressive array of mezcals and delicious Oaxacan with which fare to pair them. And like most local establishments, Tahona has ample outdoor seating.

The Embarcadero San Diego

To view local history through more of a maritime lens—and have plenty of timeless fun in the process—head to this neighborhood that runs along San Diego Bay. Though vessels of all kinds float just offshore, arguably the most famous is the USS Midway—the longest serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century, and now an endlessly fascinating museum (among the new health precautions: online ticket purchase and timed entry). Another beloved historic ship along the Embarcadero is the 19th-century iron-hulled, full-rigged Star of India—one of several vessels that make up the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and that have opened with precautions in place.

After the excitement of historic ship exploration, head to Seaport Village, a charmingly old-timey collection of shops, restaurants, bars and attractions. The newest, which craft beer lovers won’t want to miss, comes courtesy of the locally revered Mike Hess Brewing, whose latest outpost is complete with bay views to rival the menu. (If wine is more your thing, know that San Pascual Winery operates an adorable tasting room with outdoor seating on the same stunning stretch of waterfront.)

There are countless family-friendly spots in Seaport Village, but whether or not you’re traveling with kids, check out the offerings at the Kite Flite Shop. As you’ll gather in the neighboring Embarcadero Marina Park, famously favorable winds draw kite enthusiasts of all ages to this gorgeous, grassy expanse. Whether you join in the fun, or simply take it all in, the rainbow-colored kites with the bay for a backdrop make for a dreamy retreat.



Keep the serenity going with a walk along the water, where the views—all yachts and seabirds and rippling sapphire waves—make this path a favorite among bikers and runners, too.

Ocean Beach San Diego

For a completely different take on life by the water, head to a neighborhood where surfboard signage adorns every other storefront, wetsuits pass for streetwear and vintage Vans (whether of the footwear or VW variety) reign supreme. Yes, we’re talking about #OceanBeach—that’s OB to locals—where you can’t get more classic than the local surf vibes.

To get an immediate (and gorgeous) sense of the scene, head straight to the #OceanBeachPier, best known as the longest concrete pier on the West Coast, but equally notable as a backdrop: Check out the water below the supports, almost invariably, you’ll see a whole lineup of surfers—some catching waves, others waiting on the next one.

From there, make your way back inland a bit along Newport Avenue. Grab a burger—any burger—at the fabled Hodad’s (where even the outdoor seating area is demarcated by a fence of standing surfboards), and don’t forget the onion rings. Then peruse the local businesses, whether the vinyl collection at Cow Records, the surfwear at South Coast Wahines—or just the eye-popping façade of the street’s famed former hostel.



But wherever your OB wandering takes you (and if you’ve got a four-legged friend along, that should include the beloved Dog Beach), you’ll want to be back at one specific place by late afternoon: the aptly named Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. Alternately, if you prefer a sundowner with your sunset, snag a seat outside at the ocean-facing Surf Lodge and order the Mai Tai—the best in town, according to many a local.

Barrio Logan San Diego

One of the city’s coolest neighborhoods, #BarrioLogan is best known as the home of Chicano Park—the art-filled, 8-acre enclave beneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge—and the surrounding blend of culture, heritage and creativity.

Having just celebrated its 50th birthday in 2020—and having been declared a National Historic Landmark three years before that—#ChicanoPark remains the cultural heart of the historically Mexican-American neighborhood, and the best place for visitors to start. More than just an eye feast, the art adorning the bridge pillars throughout the park serves as a visual history of the community, to the point that you’ll want to have a mural map on hand.

In fact, given the sheer quantity—reportedly the largest collection of outdoor murals in the U.S.—you may want to do some advanced research so you can zero in on the works of greatest personal interest (whether Latinx icons, indigenous deities or other locally resonant symbols, all of these portrayals tie back to themes of social justice and Chicano history).




Once you’ve had your fill of public art, fill up on some of the other things the neighborhood is famous for. Don’t miss Salud, whose Papa Fried Shell tacos (think mashed potato tacos) taste divinely inspired—as do the blended coffee drinks at Por Vida (try the horchata latte). And if craft beer is your beverage of choice, good news: The already thriving local brewery scene has welcomed an instantly beloved newcomer. The Latina-founded Mujeres Brew House serves up Buenas Vibras (a grapefruit-infused blond ale), La Jefita (a tamarind Hefeweizen), and all manner of deliciousness in between.

As you’re walking everything off, stop by some of the great local shops. One new favorite is El Puesto SD, owned by two sisters—one of whom is the resident huarache curator (and for that reason alone, the store is worth a visit), while the other maintains an expertly edited vintage collection.

Little Italy San Diego

Thanks to waves of Sicilian and Ligurian immigrants who began building up San Diego’s tuna fishing industry in the 19th century, Italian culture figures prominently into the local mix, too. And as you might guess, Little Italy is the best place to find the vestiges. But as you might not guess, it’s also one of the best places to go for ground-breaking, news-making cuisine—plus some of the chicest décor and design shops in town.

For a quick historic overview, check out a few of the longstanding fixtures—from Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church (the nearly century-old spiritual heart of the neighborhood) to the Waterfront Bar and Grill (said to be the city’s oldest continually operating tavern, where Italian fishermen would relax after mending their nets outside the front door) to Mona Lisa Italian Foods (the old-school, family-run deli and restaurant whose sandwiches and slices are legendary).


You’ll also want to check out a few modern nods to the neighborhood’s Italian heritage: Piazza della Famiglia (a 10,000-square-foot plaza where you can enjoy takeout treats from the new Little Italy Food Hall), the more intimately scaled Piazza Basilone (a tribute to WWII Medal of Honor Recipient Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone); and—on Saturdays—the Little Italy Mercato (a vibrant, open-air market).

But you’ve got to show up prepared for at least two meals: ideally, an old-school Italian lunch, followed by a long promenade—this would be the time to work in a visit to the chic Kettner Arts & Design District—and topped off with dinner at one of the city’s buzziest modern restaurants. These include Juniper & Ivy, Herb & Wood, Ironside Fish & Oyster (noticing a theme?).

In keeping with the alfresco theme (because every restaurant we’ve mentioned offers some version of it), wine lovers should make time to pull up a seat outside M Winehouse—a beloved wine bar that occupies the neighborhood’s oldest house: a tiny Victorian beauty that dates to 1888, and makes for the perfect place to toast to your neighborhood discoveries.

La Jolla San Diego

For sheer natural beauty, you can’t do better than the Edenic enclave that curves around—and periodically rises above—the Pacific for seven stunning miles. Arguably the best place to start is downtown La Jolla, whose stretch of coastline includes the fabled Cove and Children’s Pool.

The latter, for the uninitiated, isn’t actually a pool: It’s a tiny protected beach that has become home to an impressive population of seals and sealions. Because of the pupping season in progress, you can’t go down onto the beach itself until mid-May. But you can still walk out onto the skinny breakwater that curves around the front of the beach, where you’ll be hemmed in by some of the planet’s most beautiful water. On a clear and sunny day (i.e., often), this patch of the Pacific goes totally glassy, so you’ll see not only the emerald-color kelp forests, but also whatever’s frolicking among them. And during pupping season, that’s a lot of baby seals. From the breakwater, you have an equally amazing view of the babies on the beach, along with their mothers.

You’ll try to process what you’ve just experienced as you make your way back up to the main drag through the Ellen Browning Scripps Park, but the walk is too short to integrate so much mind-blowing nature. So you’ll have to stroll and snack your way through the area, stopping at such icons as Warwick’s books and Sugar & Scribe bakery, as you regain your bearings.

From here, you can make your way to La Jolla’s even wilder stretches of coastline—all the way up to #TorreyPines State Natural Reserve.

Wherever your wanderings take you, you’ll want to be well positioned for sunset—and you’ll find some of the best sundowner spots back downtown. Consider George’s at the Cove, whose open-air rooftop Ocean Terrace opens for dinner at 4pm (try to reserve a rail-side table and arrive a few minutes early) or La Valencia’s outdoor tables, where—for a real neighborhood experience—you should order the regulars’ favorite secret menu item: a Kahlua, brandy and ice cream cocktail known as the Whaler.
Airline, Car  Rental, Hotel or Train, Car Rental, Hotel, or just Hotel Reservations if you are driving your own vehicle. 


When ready to go! Start planning your San Diego getaway today. EMAIL #JessKalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com 24|7|365
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March 13, 2021

#USA #Fairytale #Castles in the U.S.A. JESS@FriendsTravel.com

USA Fairytale Castles in the U.S.A.


DISCOVERIES!!!
Once upon a time doesn’t have to be in the past. While fairytale castles may be more well-known in Europe, the USA is home to some spellbinding castles of its own. Whether you’re looking for a castle with spiraling turrets or never-ending stairways; castles perched on a clifftop or hidden in a forest, the U.S. has one for you. Take a look at our six favorite fairytale castles in the U.S. to inspire your own magical travel story. Think! #FairyTaleDestinationWedding

#Hearst Castle, California

If you dream of a lavish hilltop retreat, Hearst Castle will not disappoint. Designed by California’s first female architect, Julia Morgan, the complex, completed in 1947, is a showcase of luxury and excess. Nicknamed ‘La Cuesta Encantada’, Spanish for “the enchanted hill”, by its owner William Randolph Hearst, the castle is perched above the coastal town of San Simeon. The castle has an incredible 165 rooms and 123 acres of terraced gardens with fountains, pools and views galore. Built to emulate a European country home, the castle and grounds are home to Hearst’s legendary art collection.

#Boldt Castle, New York

In true fairytale fashion, Boldt Castle has a tragically romantic backstory. It was built by rags-to-riches hotelier George C. Boldt as a tribute to his wife, Louisa. It was to be the summer home of their dreams, located in their beloved Thousand Islands region, on Heart Island no less. Construction began in 1900, but four years later tragedy struck when Louisa sadly passed away. Bereft with grief, George vowed never to return to the island, and Boldt Castle lay abandoned for over seventy years. In 1977 the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired the property and has transformed the ruins. The castle is still fitted with period furnishing, and grounds include Italian gardens, a tower fortress, and a dove-cote – once home to a collection of fancy fowl.

#Bannerman Castle, New York

The ruins of Bannerman Castle are the sole remaining occupant of the tiny Pollope Island on the Hudson River. Previously uninhabited, the island gained a reputation based on fanciful tales of hauntings and superstitions. Then, in 1901, Frank Bannerman, a munitions dealer, purchased the island to build a fortress for his cargo. The castle was designed to echo the medieval fortresses of Scotland, his birthplace. Equipment and ammunition of all types were stored there until Bannerman’s death in 1918. The castle has since been slowly crumbling into the river, fighting off storms and even a raging fire in 1969. The castle is still open seasonally for visitors willing to risk the buried hazards, crumbling walls, and unknown ghosts.

#Iolani Palace, Hawaii

For a castle fit for a king, look no further than Iolani Palace in Hawaii. King Kalākaua built the palace in 1882 to equal the majesty of European castles he had seen on his global travels. He filled it with the finest furnishings, equipped it with the latest technology and made it his family’s home until the monarchs were overthrown in 1893. In fact, it’s the only royal palace in the entire United States. The palace has since shifted purposes several times, serving as an executive building to a new republic, a prison to an overthrown queen and the headquarters for martial law. Today, Iolani Palace is a grand museum open for the public to walk its 7,000 square feet of wooden floors and revel in stories of days gone-by.

#Hammond Castle, Massachusetts

Hammond Castle sits high on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Built in 1926 by John Hays Hammond, Jr., inventor and art connoisseur, the castle served as his home and laboratory. The setting of a true European castle on the New England coast is as unexpected as it is intriguing. The castle houses Hammond’s unique collection of inventions as well as Roman, medieval and renaissance art. Hammond designed a gigantic pipe organ as the centerpiece for his Great Hall, which has been played by some of the greatest organists in the world. Meanwhile, the building itself has a dungeon, an armory and even a secret passageway out of one of the many bedrooms.

#Castello di Amorosa, California

For a more modern fairytale, Castello di Amorosa offers a taste of Tuscany to its visitors. Built in 1994 by Dario Sattui, a fourth-generation winemaker, the building is the only authentic medieval Tuscan castle in the USA. The castle is nestled in the hills of Napa Valley amongst 170 acres of forest. The castle has over 90 rooms purely dedicated to winemaking and wine storage across eight levels, four of which are underground. Its enormous Great Hall displays Tuscan frescoes, while outside a drawbridge, dungeon and torture chamber leave plenty of room for active imaginations.

Destination Weddings can be arranged at some of these amazing locations with ample advance planning.

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March 12, 2021

#USATours #WashingtonDCtours #CherryBlossoms JESS@FriendsTravel.com



Thanks to Mother Nature’s kinder, gentler activity in spring, one area in particular that comes alive with a beauty that is absolutely stunning is our nation’s great capital. Although many cities and towns have cherry trees and corresponding festivals, if you haven’t experienced cherry blossom season in Washington D.C. then read our latest post to see why we highly recommend you check it out at least once in your lifetime.

Enjoy Cherry Blossom Season in Washington D.C. 

The long-awaited arrival of springtime in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the US is typically ushered in with celebrations, festivals and carnivals of all sorts. Why is the east coast in a celebratory mood with the arrival of spring? That would be thanks to the relief felt now that the often-harsh winter snow, sleet and freezing rain is behind us and warmer weather is on the way…

Washington D.C. Essentials

This is the perfect tour for those who want to experience the best highlights of D.C. but have limited time. This tour will briefly explore some of DC and the surrounding areas’ most iconic sites, buildings, and attractions such as Arlington Cemetery, Lincoln Memorial, White House, FBI Building to name a few.

D.C. by Air,Land & Sea

An active adventure to see the best of DC both by air, land and from the water. This intimate experience with the best private guides in DC gives you a chance to get up close to the sights of Washington DC on a bike and then relax from your private boat to soak up the sun and views from the water.


Explore DC by Helicopter tour.


Sport Boat Adventure on the Potomac

Get on the Potomac River with your own captain and sport boat. Don’t waste time in one of the crowded tour boats coming and going on their schedule. You want the freedom to do what you want when you want it. Our sport boats comfortably hold six guests.

Explore
Monuments by Night Bike Tour


DC’s iconic monuments become even more inspiring when the white marble is illuminated in contrast to the night sky. With fewer tourists and little traffic, you can revel in the monuments’ peaceful and calming essence. This private 2 ½ – 3-hour bike ride can be customized to see your favorite monuments.


Explore more:

African American Heritage Tour of Washington D.C.

This tour allows guests to explore African American heritage and culture which has played a major part in the development of the DC area. The tour guide will discuss history going back to the times of slavery but more so discuss more modern aspects of African American Heritage.
Explore

Georgetown Food Tasting Tour

Eat our way through the stunning Georgetown and discover its’ transition from once a part city to the elite enclave as it’s known today. This walking tour will allow guests will learn about Georgetown’s delicious and culturally diverse history and the blended exciting cuisine that has come from that. A foodies delight!

Explore the world. Enlighten oneself with knowledge.


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EMAIL: #JessKalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com 24|7|365

#USAVacations #NewEnglandVacations JESS@FriendsTravel.com



Not many places in the country exude such year-round charm quite like New England. Whether you are seeking a tranquil, romantic escape or an activity-filled family excursion, there is something for everyone. In addition, New England is home to a collection of gorgeous Instagram-worthy hotels, inns and resorts. Here are some of the best escapes in the most charming region in America.

Watch Hill, RI

An affluent coastal village in the southwestern section of the town of Westerly, RI, Watch Hill is a popular vacation destination with its beautiful New England beaches and Victorian style cottages. Outdoor activities in the area include rowing, swimming, fishing and hiking.
Where to stay: Home to the iconic Ocean House, perched high on the bluffs of Watch Hill, this resort overlooks a pristine stretch of private beach with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean. Originally opened in 1868, the new Ocean House replicates the original exterior design, while well-appointed rooms, personal service, beachfront location and world-class amenities pay homage to New England’s golden age of hospitality.

Cape Cod, MA

Famous for its beaches, landscapes and cultural offerings, Cape Cod is one of the most popular summer vacation destinations in New England. A peninsula in Massachusetts that curves out into the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Cod spans the whole of Barnstable County and consists of 15 towns. From seaside fun to top-notch museums, Cape Cod has a variety of attractions to offer for visitors of all ages.

Where to stay: Located in the town of Brewster is the Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club, the crown jewel of Cape Cod. This resort was originally built around the turn of last century for one of Brewster’s wealthiest residents and continues to attract an upscale crowd. The resort has two choices of accommodations: the luxurious beachside Mansion and the family-oriented Villages.

Newport, RI

Newport, RI is known for being one of the prettiest coastal town in New England. Just a mere 4-hour drive from New York City and an hour and a half away from Boston, this “City by the Sea” along the southern tip of Aquidneck Island has long been a favorite among urban travelers hailing from the East Coast. In addition to its bustling harbor and lively downtown scene, Newport is also known or its magnificent 19th-century seaside mansions.


Where to stay: Award-winning interior designer Rachel Reider drew inspiration from the city’s unique personality to infuse The Attwater with Newport’s coastal charm in unexpected ways. Varying blues mix with crisp colors such as orange and apple green to create an updated coastal color palate, while silver nail heads, grommets, and lacquered finishes give a nod to Newport’s nautical tradition. All 17 guestrooms feature distinct styles of coastal chic, from the more nautical main house to the brightly beachy urban beach house.

Weekapaug, RI

Located on the southwestern Rhode Island shoreline, Weekapaug is easily accessible from Boston and New York City, making it a perfect destination for those looking to escape from the bustling city life. Take a drive or a bike ride to discover the area’s unique treasures, from small estate wineries and roadside farmers’ markets to museums and family-friendly destinations, there is something for everyone at this beautiful little town o New England.

Where to stay: Named as “Best Hotels in the World” by Travel + Leisure and one of the “Most Charming Hotels” by Reader’s Digest, Weekapaug Inn is a natural gem nestled on the scenic Atlantic Coast, surrounded by a serene salt pond and overlooking a barrier beach. Nature lovers will will be delighted by the property’s dedicated on-staff Naturalist who helps guests discover and engage with the flora and fauna of their surroundings via guided beach walks, boating excursions, biking, bird watching, stargazing and more.

Lexington, MA

Ever dreamed of escaping to a quiet little town associated with one of the most significant moments in American history? Located just 15 minutes away from Boston, Lexington, MA is one o the most historic towns in America. Known as the Birthplace of American Liberty for serving as the first battle site in the American Revolutionary War, it was here where the “shot heard round the world” was fired.

Where to stay: Comprised of three beautifully renovated grey clapboard buildings from the late 1800s, The Inn at Hastings Park draws and riffs on a long-standing tradition of Lexington and Concord inn-keeping. As the only Relais & Chateaux property in the Boston area, this elegant boutique blends modern elegance with Colonial charm — think original parquet flooring, vintage garden maps, and preserved ceramic tile fireplaces next to colorful candelabras, whimsical wallpaper, and other unusual accents sourced locally by Lexington designer Robin Gannon.


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February 18, 2021

Arizona Boutique Elegance JESS@FriendsTravel.com

Originally handcrafted in the 1930s by Cowboy artist Alonzo “Lon” Megargee as his private art studio and residence, The Inn’s historical charm is expressed through the use of traditional Southwestern architecture, adobe bricks, wood beans, hand-painted Mexican tile and many one-of-a-kind embellishments reflecting its artistic heritage. The desert landscaping, its popular on-site restaurant, Camelback Mountain views make it a beloved destination for both vacationers seeking the ultimate desert escape and foodies wanting a taste of Arizona.

Why You’ll Love It Here…

The Sleep: The 43 hacienda-style casitas spread across six lushly landscaped acres of Arizona desert in the upscale Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley. No room is the same with each individually decorated in warm, Southwestern style. Fireplaces, secluded patios and vaulted ceilings add to the relaxed appeal.

The Taste: The on-site restaurant is one of the most notable amenities. The eatery features an authentic farm-to-table tasting menu, complete with top-rated signature cocktails and an awe-inspiring subterranean wine cellar. The food is described as globally inspired Arizona fare because of the various techniques and influences the chefs use with locally sourced ingredients. The outdoor garden patio space, replete with wood burning fireplaces, plush couches and gorgeous flora and water fountain, is the perfect gathering space for any occasion.    THINK: Birthday. Anniversary. Romantic Getaway. Honeymoon. Destination wedding.

The Pamper: You might think you are surrounded by desert wilderness, but less than 20 minutes away are shops, art galleries, museums and restaurants. And there are golfing, hiking and horseback riding as well. You’ll find more than 200 golf courses in the Scottsdale – Phoenix area with challenging and dramatic holes set amid the desert landscape.  The  Inn has arrangements with many of the courses.


Deluxe Casita

The spacious one-bedroom deluxe casita features a sitting area, fireplace and patio with a semi-private whirlpool spa. The over-sized bathroom features walk-in shower and antique pedestal tub. Reserve an adjacent connecting Casita to create a two-bedroom Hacienda suite accommodation.


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Special COVID-19 Notes: The Inn requires all staff to wear masks.

February 15, 2021

NYC Boutique Elegance JESS@FriendsTravel.com

When Benjamin N. Ortiz designed the hotel, he took cues from Jean Cocteau’s 1946 French film La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast). And it shows. The hotel looks like something out of a fairytale. Guests enter through a wrought-iron archway entangled in ivy and twinkling fairy lights that leads into a lobby decorated with whimsical touches like oversized urns and mirrored tables.

Why You’ll Love It Here…
The Sleep: All of the 260 rooms are dressed in serene whites and blues. The walls are intentionally bare so you can focus on the awe-inspiring city views from the floor-to-ceiling windows. All rooms feature HDTVs with Google Chromecast, Frette linen-topped beds and showers stocked with Malin + Goetz bath products. To get the best, book a stay at the Penthouse located on the hotel’s 26th floor. Known as one of the most photogenic penthouses in the city, this suite offers the highest view in the neighborhood.

The Taste: The greenhouse-inspired NoMo Kitchen, just off cobblestoned Crosby Street, is a buzzy fixture in the neighborhood (and on Instagram) for its eye-catching interior — think candles, chandeliers, lots of plants, SoHo’s famous rainbow heart graffiti by James GoldCrown, a hovering Deborah Lippman–designed glass sculpture — and an inspired craft cocktail menu with Northern Mediterranean cuisine. The Library Private Dining Room, tucked behind a hidden bookshelf is one of several unique venues at the hotel for private events.

On Site: Guests enjoy exclusive perks including $15 daily dining credit to the “Kitchen”, complimentary coffee/tea service in the Kitchen, access to 24/7 fitness center and discounts from businesses in the area.

A Room with a View


Special COVID-19 Notes: Hotel is open and offers personal care kit (incl. mask, sanitizing wipes and gloves) to all guests. For Reservations and more information about their health and safety protocols:

EMAIL #JessKalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com 24|7|265


Curated bundle pricing : Airfare, hotel, ground transportation and more! i.e. Broadway tickets!
Think: Destination Wedding and/or Honeymoon!
Romantic Rendezvous! NYC Shopping trip!

Penthouse

Located on the 26th floor, the 1,100-square-foot Panoramic Penthouse Residence offers unrivaled views of the city. The residence includes an open living room featuring a wet bar and kitchenette, one master bedroom with full bath and powder room. Guests enjoy iPad-controlled lighting, sound, temperature, television and blinds. The open-air terrace space features two separate patios with two distinctly different views. The 250-square-foot north patio offers sights of the Hudson River and Midtown, while the 750-square-foot south patio boasts views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Financial District – including One World Trade Center.



EMAIL: #JessKalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com 24|7|365

VISIT: www.FriendsTravel.com since 1985

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January 20, 2021

Remote Peaks – Meadows of the Canadian Rockies Heli Hiking JESS@FriendsTravel.com

 

Like you, I yearn to feel the power of nature unsullied by crowds. But many of Earth’s supremely beautiful places are getting overrun, or they are just beyond the reach of many of us, at least when we are using our own two feet.

That’s why I want to introduce you to a new trip that offers a creative solution via heli-hiking! Amazing adventures. Awesome vistas. 

Experice Our #CanadianRockiesAdventure
When it comes to getting deep into wild areas, I’m not averse to a bit of help, and our Remote Peaks & Meadows of the #CanadianRockies adventure offers just that.

Our innovative itinerary includes the iconic sights you expect, such as #Banff, #LakeLouise and the #ColumbiaIcefield. But we also escape crowds in a remote, less-visited alpine realm, with three days of #helihiking from a fly-in luxury wilderness lodge.

Surrounded by the raw grandeur of the #Bugaboo Range, there’s unhurried time to wander wildflower meadows beneath granite spires and hanging glaciers. After each day’s exploits, return to our isolated lodge for a sauna or soak in the hot tub, or just relaxing on the deck in view of the sheer peaks that dominate our setting.

In a small group of 12, we travel with two naturalist Expedition Leaders, allowing us to divide up for easier walks or more challenging hikes. Our guides are experts on the geology, wildlife and history of these dramatic mountains, which are bigger and more sheer than the American Rockies.

Few destinations offer an encounter with wild, rugged terrain on a scale as grand as the Canadian Rockies. If you haven’t discovered this corner of the world yet, it’s an essential destination for any nature traveler.

Trip Highlights

  • Banff, Lake Louise & Yoho National ParkDelve into the scenic grandeur of Banff and Yoho national parks, the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site
  • Helicopter Access to the BugaboosFly deep into the jagged Bugaboos Range to spend three days on wilderness trails amid some of the continent’s most dramatic alpine terrain
  • Just 12 Guests with Two GuidesLook for elk, bear and bighorn sheep, and learn the geology of the peaks, canyons, fossil beds and glaciers along the Icefields Parkway
 

For a Wilder Experience of the Canadian Rockies, There’s Only One Choice


Grab your iPhone, Camera, and Hiking Boots!



EMAIL: #JessKalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com 24|7|365
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