As a Travel Advisor I have been to some pretty spectacular places in the world. I get to learn about so many different regions. All of them have their own beauty and appeal. The Italian Lakes region has been on my list for some time. I have been wanting to visit to discover for myself everything I have been hearing about the region. I am sure most of you feel the same, yet it is hard to travel everywhere. There just doesn't seem to be enough time. So, if you are planning your visit to Italy consider the Italian Lakes region where you just might discover a Foodies paradise.
Visiting the Italian Lakes regions of Northern Italy you will discover it has a charm all it's own. It's where you can immerse yourself in one-of-a-kind experiences and gorgeous accommodations. I am thrilled to share what I have learned with you.
Lake Como marries Italian Hospitality and unparalleled natural beauty. It's also conveniently located --just a 90 minute car ride from Milan. Surrounded by green valleys.
Lake Como is also a food lover's paradise. On Lake Como, you can eat risotto by a waterfront ristorante or enjoy a private tasting with a family of cheesemakers! Many food artisans here preach a "zero kilometer" philosophy --using ONLY ingredients cultivated within the surrounding 1 kilometer! Como glistens. Como enchants. Como makes the mouth water.
I'm delighted to share with you 3 Must-Try Foods on Lake Como:
While most Americans associate Italy with pasta, it's actually more common to find risotto in much of Northern Italy. Treat yourself to a creamy bowl of risotto --typically topped in healthy perch filets or decadent white truffles!
2.Taleggio & Gorgonzola.
Italy's northern regions are famed for creamy, ripened cheeses --like, gorgonzola (a blue cheese) and taleggio (a semisoft cheese). Travelers can experience a private tasting with the locals that produce them --nibbling in the cellars where the cheese is aged!
Framed by green valleys and snow-capped Alps, the land around Lake Como nourishes numerous farms. Near the town of Lecco, you can taste prosciutto at a family-run farm. In business for over 60 years, the farm prides itself on traditional Slow Food techniques. You'll get to hear family stories and tour the caves where the prosciutto is crafted!
Now that your appetite is wet let’s discover some experiences you can have while you are in the Lakes Regions
With its rich culinary culture, you can experience Como’s cuisine firsthand with a perfect food and wine experience on one of the lake’s northern reaches. It is here you will enjoy an exquisite lunch featuring local dishes. After your wonderful lunch head to a nearby farm, to sample artisanal cheese and ice cream. Finish your day with a delightful wine and charcuterie tasting at a local cellar.
With your Lake Como food and Wine Tour you will
Now let’s journey beyond tourist fare that most tourist experience and reach out and explore authentic local cuisine with this food tour. Stopping at favorite eateries hidden in Como’s old town with this Lake Como Food Tour- You will sample a variety of northern Italian delectable and learn about traditional local wine and food from a local guide. You will have to opportunity to stroll past the cathedral and experience walking through the historic center, as you sample plates of charcuterie, “polenta unicia”, “sciatt”, and other regional specialties-. Let’s not forget the wine. Your samples will be paired with excellent Italian Wines.
With your Lake Como Food Tour you will
For a completely unique experience that is definitely hands on a cooking class quite possibly might be in order. You are in Lake Como so not any cooking class will be suitable. In order to experience Lake Como it must be a Luxury Cooking Class with a Chef in Bellagio. Nothing less will suffice.
With you very own cooking class you will join others to discover the secrets of authentic Italian cuisine. It is here you will visit a traditional villa on the banks of Lake Como for this home cooking experience. Your in Lake Como so of course it is in a Villa. Get hands-on as you prepare a variety of appetizers, pastas, and meat dishes. Of course after you prepare your dishes you will experience everything you have just created with the accompaniment of a local wine and dessert.
With your Luxury Lake Como Cooking Class with a Chef in Bellagio you will
Now that you have not only learned about the three must try foods of Lake Como and you have delved into some of the experiences you can have on your visit, isn’t it time to plan your own amazing trip to Lake Como? Where you can enjoy all the region has to offer from its beautiful scenery to exquisite foods you will not be dissapointed.
Who's hungry for Italy? email me Teresa@travelwithgraceandstyle for your own delicious Italy adventure. Or just go HERE and let me know what experience you would like to curate for your very own Italy vacation experience.
The menu of authentic travel options is endless! I'd love to share with you the Europe few tourists ever experience. Let me reach out to my Italy contacts and let us curate your Italian Lakes experience.
#italytravel #italyfoodie #foodietravel #lakecomo #travelwithgraceandstyle #travelbetter #italytravelagent #travelagentpittsboro #travelagentchapelhill #instatravel #culinarytravel #cookingitaly #travelbetter #instafoodie
Antigua best known as the "Heart of the Caribbean" and truly one of the most beautiful Islands in the world. This is one of the best vacations to one of the lesser traveled Islands by US citizens. Vacations in Antigua should be on everyone who loves the Caribbean radar. We had the good fortune to visit in August.
Located in the beautiful West Indies. The Island is 14 miles long and 11 miles wide with its highest point being Mount Obama at 1319 ft. Antigua is one of the two major islands Barbuda being the other that make up this Caribbean nation and the largest English speaking of the Leeward islands.
It is here in English Harbor that Admiral Horatio Nelson in 1780 made his base. When he sailed into Antigua and the Dockyard is named after him. Nelson’s Dockyard has been fully restored by Antigua to its resplendent beauty to include a marina and a Dockyard Museum.
Its Royal Naval heritage is not forgotten Its rough, rocky coastline is a favorite of Sailors as it creates this wonderful sandy beaches just waiting to be discovered.
One of the best things about being a Travel Agent is our ability to be able to travel to see the various destinations and review hotels and resorts.
In August I was invited by the Antigua tourist board to visit the Island. I readily accepted as I had never been to Antigua, and I book a number of Caribbean Islands vacations. It is an added benefit to me to have been to the Island and or Resort I am suggesting because I then have experienced this myself. Now of course this is not always possible due to time constraints. So, when available and it works out, I will travel to the destinations and of course experience what my own travel clients will. Except, instead of relaxing on the beach I am at 5-6 different properties in one day from 9 am to 9 PM. Sounds glamorous right? Even though it's not as glamorous as I make it look on Instagram it does help me when my clients want to book that extra special Antigua honeymoon.
What does an Antigua Vacation or an All-Inclusive Vacation offer.
Let us start with 365 beaches, yes 365 beaches one for everyday of the year! Imagine turquoise, emerald waters with mild temperatures year around. With all those beaches you will find diving, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, speedboats, sailing, day cruises and so much more
For those hiking enthusiast do not miss hiking to the Lookout Trail Shirley Heights. You will find some of the most amazing views on the entire Island.
For Sailing enthusiasts, the Island Antigua host to one of the top regattas in the world Antigua Sailing week. Also, annually you will find a Charter Yacht show where you can inspect some of the worlds most incredible charter Yachts. A marine trade show is also organized.
Antigua all inclusive vacations can also include Tennis, golfing, bikes, hiking, and bird watching, and even pickle ball in some of the resorts.
There are many activities for your vacation getaway on Antigua and one of my favorites is laying under an umbrella watching the waves roll in while sipping a cocktail.
Getting to Antigua is only a flight away. Flights for your Antigua Vacation are readily available out of many US airports. Your most direct flights coming from places like New York, Miami, Philly most US airlines operate connecting flights from all major cities
Where to stay in Antigua there are many options from All Inclusive to semi all inclusive to even a condo or villa style stay. For this article I want to share one of my favorites stays of the island.
Perched over the picture-perfect post card view of English Harbor sitting on hilltop sits The Inn at English Harbour. As you gaze out over the incredible view of the Caribbean Ocean sipping on Bourbon Old Fashion exquisitely prepared by Wesley the bartender. Who created my old fashion with such a pleasure and what I recognized as pride of his Island home. You realize you have arrived. This, this is it.... Your little portion of heaven on earth.
The Inn at English Harbor is a small boutique property blending perfectly it is colonial design with present day comfort. A perfect mix of old and new for an extraordinarily relaxing stay.
It's rooms are tastefully decorated in classic off white colors mixing in natural elements and a touch of elegance with mahogany furniture. Each room faces the picturesque backdrop of manicured lawns and gardens and a beautiful view of the ocean. You only need to open your doors to walk out on your terrace or veranda.
The resort does have a few rooms that open up directly onto the beach. I really want to try one of these on my next visit to the Island. Perhaps on a wedding anniversary. These rooms were just a little smaller then the main building areas but were delightful as they sat directly on the beach.
You will not find competition for beach chairs here. You will discover Romance and Adventure amidst a spectacular lush green landscape as you imbibe your favorite Island creation. All the while sitting on the white sand beach gazing at the emerald, blue Caribbean water.
This is not a place to be rushed or in a hurry this is relaxation at it’s finest. You will not find night clubs, constant activities, or many of the features of a large property. You will find a spa to be pampered in, two wonderful restaurants, a gym, two tennis courts, and water activities such as kayaking.
You can also take a water taxi to Nelson’s Dockyard and discover the many restaurants and shops available. It very conveniently will pick you up and drop you off during your stay at certain times during the day.
This is a place to discover the beauty of Antigua, this is a place to unwind, relax, and enjoy the emerald, blue waters of the Caribbean as you have your morning coffee at the restaurant overlooking the harbor. This is your own little slice of heaven all wrapped up in your own Antigua vacation.
If you are planning a Caribbean vacation, I would definitely recommend a Antigua vacation you will not be dissapointed. After all it is the “Heart of the Caribbean”.
If you enjoyed this article do not hesitate to subscribe. If you would like help planning your own Antigua Vacation or an All Inclusive Vacation please reach out as I would love to help you. Just click the link below and we can get started.
Teresa is the owner of Travel with Grace and Style Travel Agency. She has been in the travel industry for over 25 years and travels the world with her husband Paul. Exploring many of the destinations she sends her clients to.
With Halloween season upon us, is there a better time to discover Scotland’s world of witches? Scotland for Halloween is where you can uncover tales of alleged witches some old and some new, listen to stories and tales of mythical creatures, witches, and ghost that have made a lasting impression on Scotland’s turbulent history.
Visit Scotland has even created a Scotland’s Witches Trail a map filled with places of incredible scenery and wildlife. You can delve into folklore, explore centuries old memorials and haunted attractions.
In Glasgow for those looking for a little mystical adventure and some fun, there is the Witchcraft and Wizardly Escape Room. Visitors must enter the class room filled with tricks, puzzles, challenges, spells to escape the clutches of the evil professor.
Let’s not leave out Edinburgh Castle is where you will find the Witch’s Well. It’s at the foot of Edinburgh Castle and is the spot where over 300 woman who were accused of witchcraft were burned at the stake. There is a cast iron fountain plaque memorializing those executed. Next door your will find the Witchery by the Castle. It’s here you can dine in the impressive 16th century building. Taking its name from the innocent women accused of witchcraft on the Castle Hill.
Why not experience Halloween in Scotland filled with incredible scenery, spectacular history and discover the old legends yourself?
Click the link in our bio to start planning your trip to Scotland.
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Travel with Grace and Style is an Italy travel specialist and when
traveling to Italy there are 10 top things you should know. There are many more as this list could go on but these tips will not only save you time but may help you enjoy the experience. We travel to Italy almost yearly and enjoy sharing our discoveries.
First on our list of Top 10 things to know before you travel to Italy is buy Tickets Prior..... If you do anything my top suggestion is to buy your tickets early and prior to your travel dates. This insures you are not standing in line waiting with the rest of the masses. Those who procrastinated or thought they would just wait and show up and buy their tickets in line are often shocked to see the lines. Save yourself and book ahead.
Off Season Travel.....Italy is my favorite travel destination along with the million other's who visit her yearly. In the height of the summer season it is almost packed beyond comfort. Travel off season if you can. In the late spring time the weather is just starting to be lovely but you still may need a sweater. Fall is often beautiful in Italy. Winter the crowds are thinner and unless it is during Christmas holidays your experience will be much less crowded.
Weather....Italy has decent weather any time of the year. Although summer in Rome in August can be brutal according to most, many Italians head out of the cities during this time. Winter yes it can snow, especially in places like The Dolomites and Lake Como and even Rome but the weather is definitely doable. The Average temperature in Rome in February is 52/42 not too bad for a visit. Rainiest month tends to be November for Rome.
There are very few toilet seats...… Yes in and throughout Italy there is a common known problem of toilet seats or the lack there of in public facilities. I will leave it at this.
Coffee... Often enjoyed al banco or at the bar with Cappuccino in the morning, a macchiato for an afternoon pick me up and an espresso after dinner. Quick pointer milky coffee in the morning only.
Breakfast....is often a lite meal consisting of small pastry and cappuccino of course "al banco".
Sundays......in Italy are for family. A day spent relaxing and having brunch after Mass.
Transit... Italy has a very good transport infrastructure. The rail network is extensive, especially in the north, and it includes a high speed rail network that joins the major cities of Italy from Naples through northern cities such as Milan and Turin.
Pick pockets will be in all the tourist sites. They are good. Keep watch and always keep your belongings close. Just as you would do in any other major city.
Hotel...….The hotel is not just a place to lay your head. It's not just a place to sleep. The hotel is part of the experience. The place you return to after a long day viewing the amazing city and countryside and should never be just a place to sleep. It should be part of the experience, part of the journey, and part of your incredible visit to Italy.
So please if you are planning a visit to Italy I would love to assist you. Italy is one of Teresa @ Travel with Grace and Style specialities. My own personal knowledge is fueled by my passion for Italy itself.
Our trips are specifically designed down to the finest detail around your tastes and interests. We will listen to what you want and then carefully design an individual trip to match, working within your budget and with an absolute commitment to quality. We have true experts for each and every one of our destinations, our expertise comes from having traveled to the destination and securing specialized partners in each of our selected destinations. Our curator will design a trip around you, show you the highlights in a different light, and introduce you to places and experiences that others might miss. Everyone has a different style and the experiences we curate are exactly designed with that in mind. From group travel, to individual, to faith based we have a commitment to excellence. I would love to help you discover Italy just fill out the form.
7 Incredible countries you’ll explore on the Danube River
In Central and Eastern Europe, you’ll find some of the most spectacular landscapes, architecture—castles, churches and war memorials—as well as some of the most colorful, inviting cultures in the world. But what’s the best way to see it all? An AmaWaterways cruise down the Danube River, of course. With a River Cruise your hotel travels with you and you just enjoy the scenery along the way.
The journey begins with a guided tour through the beautiful medieval city of Nuremberg where you’ll see the Imperial Castle, the famous town wall and the legendary fountain of the Market Square. For history buffs, there’s a guided tour of the city’s most significant WWII sites, including the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds, and the Nuremberg Trials Memoriam and Courtroom 600 (if the courtroom is not in session).
Next, you can savor traditional Franconian specialties including Nuremburger bratwurst, rotbier (red beer) and lebkuchen (gingerbread). While en route to the next destination, Regensburg, you’ll cruise through the man-made Main-Danube Canal.
At Regensburg, you’ll be treated to a guided walking tour through one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval cities. In Regensburg, you’ll see all the city’s architectural highlights, including the Old Town Hall and the Porta Praetoria. And if all that walking makes you hungry, there’s the old Bavarian specialties to satisfy you—beer, sausage, and pretzels.
Next, take a bike tour to Walhalla where you will see the neoclassical white marble temple inspired by the Parthenon in Athens. (B,L,D)
The journey continues as you cruise to lower Bavaria’s city of Passau, where you’ll enjoy a walking tour along cobblestone streets and see Gothic and Italian Baroque architecture as well as St. Stephen’s Cathedral. If you’re looking to work in a little exercise, choose between a guided bike tour along the Danube, or a guided hike up to the Veste Oberhaus Fortress.
Continuing down the Danube, you’ll next stop at the scenic town of Melk, which is celebrated for its magnificent Benedictine Abbey. The abbey contains the tomb of Saint Coloman of Stockerau and the remains of several members of the House of Babenberg, Austria's first ruling dynasty. If you’d like something more active to do, you can join a guided bike tour that takes you through the UNESCO-designated Wachau Valley; or go on a walking tour along Dürnstein’s cobblestone streets to the famed Baroque church tower, Stiftskirche. Later in the day, set sail through the vineyard rich Wachau Valley. (B,L,D)
No trip to Austria would be complete without a stop in Vienna, “The City of Waltzes.” Vienna is a treasure trove and your tour showcases its regal splendors, including the majestic Opera House and the former Imperial Palace of the Habsburgs. Conclude your tour in the designated historic city center and visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral. For a more active exploration, take a guided bike ride to Klosterneuburg Monastery.
The city of Budapest is known as the Queen of the Danube, and your tour begins with a visit to the Great Market Hall. The remainder of this tour takes you to both the Buda (hilly) and the Pest (flat) sides of the river. Alternatively, hike up to Castle Hill for breathtaking views of the city. Cap the day off with an illumination cruise. (B,L,D)
Continue your trek through Hungary with a pitstop in Puszta. Known as the Great Hungarian Plain, tour a genuine Hungarian csárda (farm) run by world-champion carriage-drivers. Afterward, be treated to an unforgettable performance of horsemanship and then experience the Hungarians’ warm hospitality, along with a traditional lunch complete with authentic goulash. (B,L,D)
From Puszta, set sail to Mohács where you’ll enjoy a scenic morning cruise past a town sprinkled with magnificent churches, including the 18th-century Baroque Protestant church, the Roman Catholic church (1776), the Serbian Greek Orthodox church, the votive church (1926), and the Avas church with its bell tower. Next, you’ll cruise to Pécs, a city founded more than 2,000 years ago by the Romans. In Pécs, you’ll find a city filled with historic architecture including the Christian Necropolis; St. Peter’s Basilica, the city’s main Catholic cathedral along with its catacombs; and Széchenyi Square, the heart of Old Town Pécs. For wine connoisseurs, there’s the Szekszárd wine region, one of the oldest red-wine-growing areas in Hungary, established more than 2,000 years ago.
The beautiful Baroque Croatian city of Vukovar is situated at the banks of the Vuka and Danube Rivers in the region of Srijem/Syrmia. Known as the “hero town” for the valor of brave Croatian civilians and volunteers during the 1991 war with Serbia, your city tour will include important war landmarks such as Ovčara Memorial and Eltz Castle. Or, you can opt to go wine tasting in Ilok, a center of wine production since Roman times, where you’ll sample its famous Grasevina, Traminac and Frankovka wines. Back on board, cruise to Novi Sad, sometimes called the “Serbian Athens.” Discover Novi Sad on a walking tour to Dunavski Park and through Stari Grad, the Old Town center. If you prefer a more active exploration, join a guided biking or hiking tour. During the evening, visit Petrovaradin Fortress. (B,L,D)
Explore Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, on a city tour that includes the Kalemegdan Fortress and the Serbian Orthodox Temple of St. Sava. Later, choose from three intriguing excursions. Visit the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Serbian Royal Family; and then tour the House of Flowers, the mausoleum of Marshal Tito, who became the first President of Yugoslavia. Or enjoy a taste of the region by sampling Serbian plum brandy, Šlivovitz, and delicious local delights at the Quburich Distillery. For those wishing a more active adventure, join a guided bike tour. (B,L,D)
Enjoy a full day of scenic cruising as you pass through the Iron Gates, one of Europe’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders. At the Iron Gates, the Danube narrows as it winds through a series of magnificent gorges between the Carpathian and Balkan Mountains.
Explore Vidin, one of Bulgaria’s oldest cities, and surrounding areas with a choice of excursions. Discover Baba Vida Fortress, the largest preserved medieval castle in Bulgaria. Continue on to Belogradchik, one of Bulgaria’s natural wonders, where you can hike around its most spectacular rock formations. Alternatively, visit a local home for a demonstration of traditional Bulgarian yogurt and Banitsa, a pastry you will also get to make. You also have the choice to bike through Vidin and to the castle. (B,L,D)
Visit Bulgaria’s ancient capital, Veliko Tarnovo, with its medieval fortress and multiple orthodox temples. You can opt instead to go to Rousse, known for its 19th- and 20th-century Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture, and then afterward visit the Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo with frescos revealing exceptional artistry of 14th-century paintings. (B,L,D)
We all have the castaway dream: alone on an island paradise, living freely, at peace, at one with nature and the ones we love. You can experience this in real life at exclusive island destinations across the world, where solitude and pure escapism also encompass indulgent service and five-star luxury.
Remote Caribbean Escapes. A private picnic or invigorating coconut scrub on a deserted stretch of beach; a rainforest hike to a series of breathtaking waterfalls; combing small villages to find handmade crafts; napping in a thatched bure, listening to the rolling ocean, faint chirps of exotic birds and gentle breezes fluttering through palm trees overhead. Whatever you dream of, these tranquil island getaways will truly take you a world away.
PETIT ST. VINCENT
Petit St. Vincent, an idyllic oasis in the Grenadines, is the definition of a hideaway. This tiny, privately owned island resort resides on an islet bordered by colorful coral reefs and powder sugar-soft beaches. Here you’ll enjoy unsurpassed privacy and relish in the complete sense of isolation. Enjoy the views from your private one or two bedroom oceanview or beach front villa. Want service? You need only to hoist a signal flag outside your cottage. Relax and sip a delightful cocktail at the beachside bar or select a bottle of Champagne or wine from the well-stocked wine cellar. Visit the nearby dive center, managed by Jean-Michel Cousteau, where naturalists and marine biologists offer boundless insights into the local marine life.
Set on the private island of Pine Cay, The Meridian Club offers 13 private rooms along a stunning two mile beach. This jewel of the Turks and Caicos is ideal for those in search of the timeless spirit of the old West Indies. A sanctuary for beach lovers who want to get away from it all, the enchanting blend of coral reefs and calm bays creates the ideal conditions to plunge into the inviting waters. Spy vibrant-colored coral and fish on dives and, in-season, witness majestic whales as they pass close to the island. Year-round light breezes also make near-perfect conditions for sailing, windsurfing and parasailing.
For the ultimate in secluded oceanfront living, Cayo Espanto is a private four-acre islet near Ambergris Caye, Belize. Here, everything is quiet, evoking a pervasive sense of calm. With only 7 beachfront villas, this is a true island paradise. Wherever you stand, sit or lie on this property, you’re rewarded with postcard-perfect ocean views. On the west side of the island, you can take in the fiery warm glow of spectacular sunsets, then drift off to a blissful slumber before waking to the warmth of another glorious day.
With an exotic collection of 365 cays and islands to call its own — many of which are uninhabited or underdeveloped — the Exumas are like a smaller collection of islands within the Bahamas. Daily diversions in this idyllic island system includes hiking past plantation ruins, pirate lairs and a massive whale skeleton at Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park; basking in the sun on Tropic of Cancer beach, one of the country’s most gorgeous stretches of sand and sea; exploring nearby uninhabited islands while passing by private island retreats owned by celebrities and the rich & famous; and, for any Instagrammer worth his or her salt, getting your picture taken while swimming with friendly pigs at Big Major’s Cay with a private luxury day trip from Ray and Justin at Exuma Watersports. Exclusive accommodation options range from luxury all-inclusive in a beachfront villa at Sandals Emerald Bay – complete with world class golf & spa; a private villa rental at Fowl Cay Resort – a private island; or escape to your own private island at Musha Cay and the Islands of Copperfield Bay with luxury guest houses and magical escapes.
About a 45-minute ferry ride off the northern tip of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Holbox Island hosts the world’s largest known congregation of whale sharks in the summer months and thriving populations of native pink flamingos year-round. Beyond nature, the island — completely void of cars and most other reminders of globalization — flourishes with a small boho-chic downtown, wide swathes of quiet beaches, mom-and-pop-run beachfront bungalows and colorful beach bars. Go for the local favorite lobster pizza, a signature dish at restaurants across the island, and settle in to boutique luxury accommodations like beachfront favorite Casa Las Tortugas.
If it’s Old World charm and romance you’re after, then Nevis, the smaller sibling to nearby St Kitts, is the place. This compact but perfectly formed gem centered by Nevis Peak, a lofty, dormant volcano, covers just 36 square miles and has been luring starry-eyed couples for as long as anyone can remember. Life moves slowly on Nevis, aided and abetted by beguiling boutique resorts with dreamy suites, several of which are centered on old plantation properties amid manicured grounds. When you’re ready to venture away from your resort, romantic activities range from sunset horse rides along the beach to watersports at Oualie Beach, where Nevis Yacht Charters offer private tours. For the ultimate escape on Nevis, the Four Seasons Resort is a small, colonial style secluded beachfront retreat offering golf, spa, sailing school and over the top luxury.
Sailors know the British Virgin Islands as legendary cruising grounds. Here, in places like Virgin Gorda, Peter’s Island and Tortola, you’ll find sheltered marinas with good anchorages and small hotels popular with yachters. Even better, you can sail to these various islands without going outside the reefs into the ocean. But you’ll be hard-pressed to find a reason to continue on from Virgin Gorda. The allure comes from the almost primitive feel of this 10-mile long island: There’s little shopping, few restaurants outside of the hotels, and the only major attraction is a snorkeling spot called The Baths, where rock grottos on the shoreline form natural pools. Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? Ready to go . . . check out the unique mix of small eclectic luxury beach and marina resorts including Little Dix Bay, Scrub Island; for the ultimate in privacy and luxury Richard Branson’s Necker Island retreat; and for a truly unique and personalized escape consider a fully staffed bareboat charter on a 58’ luxury catamaran from The Moorings.
This tiny sun-kissed island-nation is host to an improbable 365 white sand beaches – one for each day of the year. Living history unfolds at Nelsons’ Dockyard National Park, named after former resident Admiral Horatio Nelson. The restored naval dockyard dates to the 17th century and today hosts Antigua Sailing Week, one of the Caribbean’s most anticipated spring events. For the brave at heart, zipline high atop the rainforest canopy. Brag-worthy catches tempt fishermen offshore, and dive outfitters take full advantage of the scores of vibrantly colored tropical fish along the reefs of Dickenson Bay. As an added bonus, Antigua’s V.C. Bird International Airport, a hub for small aircraft, offers multiple daily flights to both St. Barth's and St. Kitts & Nevis, making this the perfect jumping-off point for a true Caribbean adventure. For a true Caribbean getaway look to these luxury tipped exclusive island retreats: all-inclusive luxury in a unique rondoval villa, with private plunge pools and butler service, at Sandals Grande Antigua; Hermitage Bay an authentic Caribbean boutique resort; Carlisle Bay, a haven of seclusion and relaxation; and Jumby Bay Island, a private island resort set 10 minutes off the coast of Antigua.
Ready to find your island paradise? We can help you navigate to islands across the Caribbean including these lesser known private getaways. Contact your travel professional today.
You’ve ambled Amalfi.
You’ve ventured to Venice.
You’ve feasted in Florence.
You’ve roamed through Rome.
You’re not what we’d call a newbie to Italy. You’ve tasted Chianti in Tuscany. You’ve perused Pompeii with a private guide. You’ve gazed at the Blue Grotto off Capri’s coast. With so much Italy under your belt, the usual sights — Michelangelo’s David in Florence or St. Mark’s Square in Venice, — don’t compel you like they once did.
What’s left to savor in Italy for a return traveler? What delicious Italian destinations are hiding just off the beaten track? One of my favorite fall escapes in Italy is Umbria. Visiting Umbria is easy as it's located just 90 minutes from the center of Rome, Umbria feels like you’re stepping back in time. Driving the countryside here, you’ll see medieval hamlets rising from the distance.
As Italy’s only completely landlocked region, Umbria brims with wooded glens and winery-draped hillsides. In the fall, the vineyards shift from green to bright red here — signaling the annual grape harvest. On Umbria’s many farms, you can meet the sheep whose milk makes regional cheeses like pecorino umbro or ricotta salata. And, in the region’s northern swathes, you can taste the famed salami norciani — dried, cured pork salami.
Are you hungry for a third or fourth helping of Italy? Discover Umbria in the fall, relishing a land of real traditions and spectacular scenery.
Below you’ll find 4 Delicious Activities You can only try in Umbria.
CHOCOLATE-TASTING TOUR (PERUGIA)
Sweet lovers from across the globe flock to the hilltop town of Perugia each October for the annual Eurochocolate Festival. But, sugar fiends in-the-know skip the festival’s long lines and crowded streets — visiting the town before or after the cocoa-fueled festivities. Perugia’s stone streets are home to both boutique chocolatiers and the world-famous Perugina chocolate company. With a local guide, travelers can go behind-the-scenes at family-run chocolate shops — observing how cocoa beans are transformed into that most decadent of dolci.
SALAMI & CHEESE MAKING (NORCIA)
Not far from Perugia, you will find the quaint countryside of Norcia. This area is famed throughout Italy and the world for its porky products — including salami, copa, prosciutto, and capocollo. While some are cured using nothing but salt and air, others are seasoned with local wine or pine juniper berries. Italians rarely eat salami on its own, preferring to pair it with a cheese. Food-loving travelers can spend the day farm-hopping in Umbria, enjoying a tasting of pecorino here and a nibble of prosciutto there — enjoyed, naturally, with a glass or two of local wine.
LACK TRUFFLE HUNT & PASTA
Far from the stone streets of Umbria’s towns lies one of the region’s most prized foods — the black truffle. Aided by specially-trained dogs, capable of sniffing out truffles that grow underground, you can hunt this famed fungus in Umbria’s lovely woods. After a brisk walk in the forest, you return to our guide’s rustic farm — with a bounty of truffles in tow. Once at the farm, you’ll make pasta by hand with the truffle hunter’s wife. Your sauce? You guessed it: freshly shaved truffles.
WINE, WINE, WINE
Grapes have been grown in Umbria since Roman times. Driving from town to town here, you’ll pass some of the most scenic wine country in Italy — dotted with hilltop towns and rolling vineyards. While the tannin-rich reds are largely made with Sangiovese grape, the whites from the Orvieto area are fruity-but-dry. Less well known to tourists than Tuscany, Umbria boasts countless family-operated wineries. In fact, you can enjoy tastings in Umbria’s private cellars — hearing about the history of wine production in this region from the vineyard owners themselves!
Which European escape are you craving these days? I’m here to take the stress out of trip-planning, helping you to experience the Europe locals love. Hit the Contact Me and lets get to planning.
You have arrived! You made it to Rome. Now what do you do? There are so many things to see and do in Rome how do you choose. You don't you plan wisely. This will help you discover the top 4 hidden gems in Rome. Of course it is our own opinion. Read on to discover a little more about each destination in Rome. The you go out and discover them for yourself and let us know what you think.
PIZZA BY THE COLOSSEUM
Whether it’s your first or fourteenth visit to Rome, viewing the Colosseum never ceases to impress. In its hay day, this stone stadium could seat 50,000 spectacles for live battles and gladiator matches. With my help, you can enjoy a private tour inside the Colosseum with skip-the-line tickets. After your immersion in ancient history, you’ll be hungry for a taste of Rome. Nearby, I recommend Li Rioni Pizzeria – hidden on a non-touristy side street just a 5 minutes’ walk from the main ruins. Be sure to order here a wood-fired pizza, tomato-crowned bruschetta and the creamy house tiramisu!
Not far from the famous Spanish Steps, you’ll find a green jewel in the heart of historic Rome – the Villa Borghese Gardens. Built by the noble Borgia family (including a pope!) atop a former vineyard in 1605, the Villa Borghese Gardens were the largest green space built in Rome since ancient times. From this vast and manicured park, you can also access the Villa Borghese gallery – housing Renaissance masterpieces from artists such as Caravaggio and Titian. Bring art history to life here with a private visit alongside an English-speaking guide.
Rome is home to many sacred sites – including St. Peter’s tomb and the Vatican. It also boasts one of Europe’s oldest Jewish communities, which reside principally in the city’s scenic Jewish Quarter. In addition to vaunting kosher-friendly carbonara, this quiet cobblestoned quarter also houses some spectacular ruins – including Teatro Marcello. This theater dates back to 13BC and resembles the Colosseum (minus the crowds). Columns and remains of temples are scattered around this open-air theater. After wandering the Jewish Quarter’s back streets, walk to the nearby Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island) for a gelato at Tiberino Gelateria.
Rome’s stunning Trastevere quarter is located on the far side of the Tiber River – easily accessed on foot by crossing one of the city’s scenic bridges. Boasting cobblestone alleyways, Renaissance palaces and ivy-clad buildings, Trastevere bustles with local charm during the day and at night. It’s also home to some of the city’s most authentic Roman ristorante – including Trattoria Da Teo, Pizzeria Ai Marmi and Da Enzo al 29.
If you haven’t visited Cancun and the Riviera Maya in a number of years, you may not recognize it. Miles and miles of some of the softest white sand you’ll ever sink your toes into are filled with upscale resorts, thatched-roof palapas, Bali daybeds and picture-perfect beaches. But how many of Cancun’s numerous activities can travelers enjoy today? Surprisingly, a lot.
In late 2020, Quintana Roo, the Mexican state Cancun is in, upgraded its COVID-19 status. This upgrade opened up a world of options for travelers, as restaurants, historic sites, theme parks, golf courses, nautical activities, shopping malls and spas could now operate at 60% of normal capacity. There are all the safety protocol in effect at the resorts. Mask are worn by all the staff, sanitizer is available as well as plenty of space. Here are just some of the exciting, unforgettable and safe activities that await you in Cancun.
Explore Maya RuinsTake a day trip to the ancient Maya city of Chichén Itzá, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Be sure to climb the 91 steps of The Castle, El Castillo, for one of the best views in all of Mexico. Tulum, the photogenic ruin perched on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean, is also easily accessible from Cancun.
Dive into Cenotes Take a refreshing dip in one of the Yucatan’s most famous jungle sinkholes — Ik-Kil, a.k.a. the Sacred Blue Cenote. A grand staircase takes you down 85 feet to the surface of this pristine pool, festooned with hanging vines and waterfalls.
See Art UnderwaterFor an unforgettable museum experience, don’t miss the Underwater Museum of Art (MUSA). Whether you visit by glass-bottomed boat or scuba dive to the bottom for close-up view of the more than 500 pieces of monumental sculpture, MUSA is absolutely surreal.
Splash, Smile, RepeatCancun and the Riviera Maya are the ideal places to swim with dolphins, take an aqua dive tour, go on a whale shark excursion or simply cruise the calm sea on a beautiful yacht, sailboat, paddleboard or catamaran. However you dive in, the warm Caribbean waters will soothe your aching soul and have you smiling like a child in no time.
Just Relax After the year we’ve all had, maybe the best thing to do in Cancun is simply relax. Lounge on the beach with a perfectly chilled margarita resting in your hand, watching your kids learn how to snorkel. Or transport your mind and body at one of the more than thirty Cancun spa resorts, many of which offer unique treatments that combine ancient Mayan healing rituals with modern stress-reducing techniques.
Thanks for this article go to Johnathan Herman for this great insight on Cancun. Being a part of Travel Leaders I have the opportunity to access some great information. I also had the fortune of being there just last month for my own great insight.
Discover river cruising for Christmas. The air is crisp and the scents of spice and roasted chestnuts are in the air as you walk through the village inspired Christmas scenes. As you glance around you notice Christmas lights fill the streets with a soft warm glow where bobbles, bows, candy and special treasures await. It’s an old world style atmosphere, markets are often at the center of town squares beneath the spires of the local parish church steeples. This is European River Cruising, This is Christmas in Europe.
Laughter and music fills the air as shoppers pass by snuggled in their winter coats. There is just something about Europe’s Christmas Markets that I don’t feel we have quite captured in the United States. Perhaps it’s the community aspect, the gathering together sipping mulled wine as you let go the stress of the day. Perhaps it’s people coming together and catching up as they experience the warmth of Gluhwein and nibble on delectable pastries. Europe’s Christmas Markets are simply Magical.
It’s the start of Holiday Season as during the first weekend of Advent Christmas Markets begin to pop up throughout Europe. This annual tradition has been bringing happiness to locals and visitors alike for centuries. It’s almost like you have been transported back in time to a place of happy memories and the warmth of the season. Christmas carols surround you as you experience your first glance of the sparkle of snowflakes as they gently fall around the merchants selling their wares. Many of these markets can take over blocks and blocks and are filled with everything Christmas.
Your taste buds will be filled with sweet, spice, and nutty flavors. The food of the Christmas markets change with the village or city and sausage rules and changes according to region. Gluhwein which is a mulled style of spice wine also changes with region, hot coco, and even non alcoholic versions are available for those who don’t imbibe. Every market also provides a mug for your journey. You can choose to turn it in after your visit for a deposit refund or take it with you as a souvenir. These make great little keepsakes and or gifts.
The Markets are filled with everything from food to trinkets. Many favorites are the classic wooden Christmas ornaments. Lace and varieties of Christmas ornaments are also available and many of the items in the markets are hand crafted from local artisans.
Bundle up though as winter is starting to set in and you will appreciate the warmth of the heat lamps that surround some of the merchants. If you forget something don’t worry you will find many selections of hats, mittens, scarves, and socks. I recommend a couple of cups of the local Gluhwein to spice up and warm up the day or evening. It will slowly melt away any breath of cold that sweeps the area.
If you are a lover of all things Christmas I can’t recommend these enough. Once you go every year you will have a longing to re experience the magic again and again. Christmas in Europe is a memory maker. Experiences are to me more precious then things so go out and experience and build your memories. Better yet make it a River Cruise where you can see and experience these treasures as you glide along one of Europe’s historic waterways.
If you would like help and more information please reach out as we would love to help you book your own Christmas River Cruise. Just hit the link below.
Teresa is the owner and lead agent at Travel with Grace and Style and has been in the travel industry for over 25 years. She currently loves traveling throughout the world discovering new and old places with her husband Paul.