My travel story about St. Lucia that ran on the cover of Virginia Living’s April 2013 issue (woot!) was finally published online so I thought I’d share it here with our photos from the trip. (Also check out my Tips for Traveling to St. Lucia post, video tour of a Sugar Beach Villa and the dramatic shuttle ride to the beach.)
St. Lucia’s new Viceroy Resort, Sugar Beach (formerly Jalousie Plantation), had lured my husband Scott and me with the company’s reputation for hip, well-designed resorts, but also with its stunning setting on 100 acres of tropical rainforest sandwiched between two UNESCO World Heritage Site mountains. The goal was a detox from our active 2-year-old and relaxation before another baby would enter our lives in five short months. You could call it a Babymoon; we called it much needed. Continue reading
My latest travel stories came out this week in New York magazine’s 2013 Spring Travel Planner: ”Unexpected ways of seeing the world, where the transport is as memorable as the trip itself.”
My first in the package is about seeing Rome by Lamborghini and here’s the second …
Zambia by Foot: Track big game on a splurgy wildlife walking safari.
Move alongside antelope, impala, baboon, and rare African Pitta birds inside Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, a game reserve turned environmental haven that nineteenth-century Scottish explorer David Livingstone called “impossible to describe [in] its luxuriance.” On CW Adventure’s nine-day Zambia Classic walking safari (from $5,498 per person;cwadventure.com), you can hike up to four hours a day with a local guide, often trekking within yards of the wildlife (the guard is armed, in the rare event that an animal tries to charge). Game drives in open-sided Land Rovers are available for the fainter of heart, but for optimal viewing, you’ll travel by foot, jeep, and puddle jumper between three different Luangwa camps. At the remote Kapamba Bushcamp, watch for herds of elephant, lion, and buffalo from the comfort of your private stone plunge-pool or thatched-roof hut. (Request hut No. 1 for the best views and most privacy.) While you’re staying at the tented Zungulila Bushcamp, chefs will grill your fresh bream on a traditional African braai, or barbecue, as elephants drink from nearby springs. Even after-dark drives between camps turn up wildlife spottings, including night apes and bug-eyed galagos.
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My latest travel stories came out today in the New York magazine 2013 Spring Travel Planner: ”Unexpected ways of seeing the world, where the transport is as memorable as the trip itself.” When I had Marguerite I was working on a few stories for their 2010 Winter Travel feature and remember emailing the copy editor from the hospital. With baby brother expected in a week, we were cutting it close this time, too!
Here’s my first in the package, about Rome…
Rome by Lamborghini:
Zoom past tourist-choked ruins in and around the Italian capital.
Travel like an aristocrat, jumping from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, when you’re behind the wheel of one of Italy’s most iconic sports cars, a $250,000 V10 Lamborghini Gallardo. Rent that, or one of four Ferraris or Porsches, by the day or the week from Palazzo Manfredi (from $1,100; palazzomanfredi.com), a boutique hotel near the Colosseum. (General manager Bruno Papaleo offers gratis driving tutorials to guests, provided they’re at least 30 years old and possess a valid license.) To ease into Italy’s chaotic car culture, head twenty miles east of Rome to peaceful Tivoli, where the magnificent Italian Renaissance gardens of the sixteenth-century Villa D’Este (from $10; Piazza Trento; villadestetivoli.info) await. After listening to a concerto on the estate’s recently repaired Baroque organ fountain, settle in under the wisteria-covered terrace of Ristorante Sibilla (Via Della Sibilla 50; ristorantesibilla.com) for a $60 prix fixe lunch including the primi, like burrata ravioli. Another day, seek out contemporary architecture in northern Rome’s Flaminio neighborhood, recently revitalized thanks to the Zaha Hadid–designed contemporary-art center Maxxi ($14 admission; Via Guido Reni 4A; fondazionemaxxi.it) and Renzo Piano’s multifunctional arts complex, the Auditorium Parco della Musica (Viale Pietro de Coubertin 30; auditorium.com). Or drive north to sample oyster, celery, habanero, and other savory gelati at Claudio Torcè’s ten-month-old Il Gelato Bistrò (Circ. Ne Trionfale 11/13; 39-06-3972-5949). Use Palazzo Manfredi as a base (from $520) or crash at the year-old, 116-room Gran Meliá Rome (from $450; melia.com), right on the banks of the Tiber River and five minutes from the Vatican.
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My St. Lucia travel story made the cover of Virginia Living‘s March/April 2013 issue! It’s the first time they’ve used a non-Virginia location on the cover so I’m very flattered.
I’ve posted video tours of a villa and shuttle ride at St. Lucia’s Sugar Beach Viceroy Resort so now I thought I’d share some tips from my experience travelling and reporting on the country.
St. Lucia Travel Tips
1. Make sure your hotel has beach access. Not a given in St. Lucia. Many hotels in the south of the country are up in the mountains. That can be okay but be sure you know what you’re getting.
2. Don’t go between June and November during hurricane season. In 2010 Hurricane Tomas wiped out many roads and resorts that the island is still recovering from. Why risk it?
3. Skip the volcano, it’s lame. The “walk-in” volcano is simply a smoldering, sulfur-smelling rocky area. Not worth the time.
4. Train for Gros Piton hike; it’s no joke. If you want to hike the larger Piton mountain know that it’s no leisurely climb. For that – and great views – go to the Tet Paul Nature Trail.
5. Consider scrapping the fish fry, unless you really want local color. Tourists are encouraged to head to Anse La Raye and Gros Islet for the weekly Fish Friday cookout/street party to boost the economies of these small villages. We appreciated the reality-check and local color but street-cooked fish, giant speakers pumping dub reggae and abject poverty aren’t for everyone.
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I’m not sure anyone except me refers to it as the Capitol District but that’s really what the neighborhood around the Virginia state capitol in Richmond should be called. Some very cool restaurants like Rapphannock (above) have popped up, just a few blocks from the Thomas-Jefferson-designed capitol building where Steven Speilberg shot a ton of scenes for his Oscar-nominated movie “Lincoln” last year. The story I wrote about the area for The New York Times comes out in print tomorrow but here’s an early peek at it online. Woohoo!
Great mens shirts at Ledbury, which I mentioned in this gift guide.
Photos by Vanessa Vick for The New York Times. I especially love this one of the Carpenter Theater. Inside, the theater has a ceiling of glowing stars. It’s awesome.
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The book I worked on with interior designer Charlotte Moss came out and it looks fantastic! (Hint, hint if you’re looking for any last-minute Christmas gifts…) A Visual Life is about Charlotte’s passion for scrapbooking, which may sound hokey and crafty, but she elevates the topic, as only Charlotte can, with the previously unpublished scrapbooks of famous women such as Gloria Vanderbilt and Jackie O. My favorite part is the essays by contemporary women, like Vogue editor Candy Pratts Price, who talk about how and why they scrapbook. Pinterest is great but books last. My daughter probably won’t ever see my Pinterest boards but she will inherit our family albums.
With Hurricane Sandy pummeling the East Coast, this seems like just the time to dream about a little winter travel escape to a tropical clime. You’re in luck! My story about a high-end vacation to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia was just published in New York magazine’s 2012 Winter Travel issue.
Here’s why to travel to St. Lucia right now:
The 238-square-mile Caribbean island has never been more welcoming for those with means, now that tax incentives have brought a fresh crop of upscale accommodations, along with better roads and come-hither tourism programs (November is Chocolate Heritage Month). Winter bonus: The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, the world’s largest transatlantic sailing race, culminates at St. Lucia’s Rodney Bay Marina with events from November 25 through December 22.
In three weeks I’m traveling to St. Lucia again to research a more in-depth feature for Virginia Living magazine. So stay tuned for more!
Read the full St. Lucia story here or read the full Bespoke Getaway Winter Travel feature at nymag.com.
Never have I been so excited to see a book cover in my life! I’m thrilled to share the news about Charlotte Moss’s upcoming book – her eighth – which I worked on with the legendary interior designer. And I’m in good company: Wall Street Journal Magazine editor Deborah Needleman, Vogue editor Candy Pratts Price, former Town & Country editor Pamela Fiori, interior designer Alexa Hampton and Washington philanthropist Deeda Blair all contributed essays. The subject is Moss finding inspiration from her personal scrapbooks and notebooks, as well as those of stylish women throughout history including Jackie Kennedy and Elsie de Wolfe. As with anything I’ve done for Charlotte, I walked away with a wealth of new knowledge and deepened respect for this hard-working, intelligent and creative woman.
“A Visual Life” hits bookstores on Oct. 9 but is available for pre-order now.
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Woo hoo! My latest piece for The New York Times travel section came out yesterday called: “New Energy in Palm Springs.” Here I am while reporting the piece, on a tour of amazing modernist homes. My story is about a resurgence in hipster culture in Palm Springs, a town mostly known for its golf and gay party scene. While I was there, I discovered an emergence of energy, thanks in part to the Coachella Music Festival bringing kids from L.A. to the area. Thanks for all my new peeps in P.S. for giving me the scoop.
Here are some other pieces I’ve written about Palm Springs.
Okay, sure, there was some shopping, too. And eating. And celeb-sighting, as it turns out. (Octomom of all people! And man, does she look cra-zy in person!) But to truly appreciate Palm Springs you have to get out into the desert backcountry and get a handle on where exactly you are, which is pretty much the middle of nowhere. I discovered the desert brings with it a host of lure and atmosphere, even a smell, and an interesting peacefulness. Here are some highlights of my trip, which I wrote about in my latest piece for New York magazine Get Lost in the Desert in Palm Springs. Continue reading