Sunday, March 24, 2019

Photos: Whimsy in a New York City Hotel

For me, so many of the hotels in Manhattan fall into two categories: luxury brands and low-end hotels that feel dark and dismal. So, imagine my surprise to discover the new Moxy Hotel in lower Manhattan that's bright, fun, and affordable. I was already in love with Marriott's Moxy brand after visiting their recently-opened property in Chattanooga, Tennessee. What makes the Moxy such a breath of fresh air is that each property has an immense, comfortable public space full of art, quirky design features, and games. Finally, a hotel where you feel like you actually want to hang out in a "lounge" and feel comfortable, even if you're traveling by yourself. Sure, the sunny rooms are minimalist -- but they've got art features as well -- and few places to store whatever you brought with you, including your luggage. But who's going to spend much time in the room when there's so much to enjoy on their third floor? These are some of the images from the Moxy that's on Ann Street just off Fulton Street, near the World Trade Center.

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Photos: South Korea

Networked with bike paths, South Korea is one of the most bike friendly countries in the world.  On a two-week trip, I pedaled on mostly paved dedicated bike path from Damyang to Mokpo, taking my bike first on a ferry to Jeju Island and then to tiny Udo Island.  Along the way, I found lush landscapes, verdant agricultural lands, primeval forests, and scenic waterfronts where older female divers freedive for abalone and conch and then serve the shellfish raw on a seaside table.  One morning, I walked through a Metasequoia Forest where only foot traffic is allowed. Another day, I hiked Halla Mountain, the country's highest peak that rises over 6,000 feet above sea level. (It's on Jeju Island, off the south coast.)  Udo Island , a wee island, can easily be visited on a day trip from Jeju Island. Cycling there is idyllic with nothing but seaside and verdant vistas interspersed with small cafes and accommodations.

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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Photos: Southern India

In India, two properties, the Neeleshwar Hermitage in Northern Kerala and Evolve Back in the adjacent province of Coorg, together offer travelers numerous opportunities to connect with nature. While the Neeleshwar Hermitage is on the Arabian Sea, Evolve Back in Coorg is at altitude, set among acres of lush coffee plantations. But, both are eco-oriented properties, offering numerous opportunities for bird watching and educational naturalist treks. And, of course, the culinary delights and spa treatments are stellar.

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Saturday, March 2, 2019

Photos: New Brunswick, Canada

Many travelers already know about New Brunswick, Canada as a summer destination. But I recently ventured there to check out the cross country ski venues, which are abundant. Each area had a different personality but brought the Nordic skier in close proximity to expansive bays and dense forest lands. And the accommodations are equally varied, ranging from the unique to the charming. Cielo-Glamping Maritime, for example, has five domes with some beside the scenic Bay of St. Simon in Shippagan. On this bay where the most amazing oysters around are raised one can find ice fishing sheds set along the frozen expanse. Fredericton, the capital of Canada's New Brunswick province, is a real treasure with a vibrant art community. This is one of many avant-garde works found at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. The capital is also home to the Quartermain House B&B, a house that dates to 1840 but one that has taken on a new life as a five-star property with three plush guest rooms.

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