Category

Travel

ONE on ONE

by Mayi de la Vega

Rocky Mountain High

By | Art, Culture, Events, Family, Fashion, Music, Travel

Aspen is my forever home in my heart 

One of the experiences I look forward to all year long is my family summer vacation in Aspen. From the moment the plane takes off, I feel like a different person because I’m heading to my happy place. Aspen is unique among ski towns for its enrichment of mind, body and spirit. I have to say that this balance works. I learn so much, while also tending to some much-needed self-care. The quality of the people and place constantly amazes me, and there’s always something new and exciting to see and do. Please enjoy this summer news so you too can come back refreshed and inspired. Have a wonderful time!

Sotheby’s Aspen Gallery

On the top of my list was visiting the new Sotheby’s Aspen gallery. It follows up its inaugural exhibit “In Focus: Warhol on Paper,” which runs through July 31, with a group show titled “Venice in Aspen” that highlights artists in this year’s Venice Biennale. Browse works for sale by Ruth Asawa, Barbara Kruger, Nan Goldin, Jacqueline Humphries, Louise Lawler, Kaari Upson and others from August 2-September 26. The gallery and Cultured Magazine co-host a cocktail reception on August 3 to kick off Aspen ArtWeek.

Aspen ArtWeek

Aspen Art Museum’s second edition of Aspen ArtWeek (August 1-6) culminates with its 17th annual ArtCrush Gala at Buttermilk Mountain on August 5. The weeklong program features art conversations and performances, private collection tours and the “ArtCrush 2022 Auction Exhibition” of more than 50 donated works by artists like Larry Bell and Patricia Leite. Bid online during Sotheby’s preview auction, which opens July 30 and closes August 6 during the gala’s dinner honoring artist Gary Simmons and live auction conducted by Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s senior director and chairman, Europe. Phone and absentee bids are welcome as well.

Special Events at The Little Nell

The Little Nell has a ton of fun food and wine events in the works. A roster of Michelin-starred Relais & Châteaux chefs is on board for the second annual Little Nell Culinary Fest from August 30-September 2. In addition to being wined and dined by the likes of San Francisco-based Quince’s Michael Tusk, Maui-based Hotel Wailea’s Krista Garcia and master somm Jay Fletcher, guests will be treated to a soirée atop Aspen Mountain. Last year’s event sold out, so reserve early. Oenophiles who are interested in exploring sensational cabs from Paso Robles should also book An Evening With Patrimony Estate at The Little Nell on July 27. Co-proprietor Daniel Daou will attend and select complementary wines for Element 47’s four-course dinner. Hop on a bike for the Ride + Dine series on August 24 and September 14. Cyclists are rewarded with an al fresco meal at Mad Dog Ranch in Old Snowmass, Glenn Frey’s and Jimmy Buffet’s former stomping ground.

Sweet Summer Music

Aspen Music Festival widened its variety more than ever for its 73rd season. Though the classic composers are still strongly represented, new genres range from mariachi to a saxophonist’s Baroque piece. But one doesn’t have to visit the festival’s big white tent to hear incredible music. Concerts are popping up all over, such as Theatre Aspen’s Summer Cabaret Series at the Hotel Jerome, and Jazz Aspen Snowmass’s Café Summer Series at the Rooftop at Aspen Art Museum. Stevie Nicks and Chris Stapleton headline the JAS Labor Day Experience at Snowmass Town Park on September 2-4. Head to Snowmass’s Fanny Hill for Thursday concerts, or ride the gondola to Aspen Mountain’s Classical Saturdays and Bluegrass Sundays.

Shopping

When I’m not hiking or taking an exercise class, I like to get a workout by walking around town. I never tire of Aspen’s charming downtown and enjoy checking out the new shops and restaurants. A few Los Angeles brands with locations in the Miami Design District recently moved in:  Alo Yoga, Re/Done for new and upcycled vintage denim and John Elliott for men’s and women’s sportswear, Japanese denim and Italian shoes. For more flashy footwear, Mia Becar popped up at Peri.A boutique through August 15. Nappa leather espadrilles, raffia flatforms and bejeweled jelly sandals are among its selection handmade in Italy and Spain.

 

Raizado: The Latinx House Festival

Another sign that Aspen is constantly evolving for a more inclusive era is a new Latinx event premiering at Aspen Meadows resort and conference center from August 30-September 1.Raizado: The Latinx House Festival, Cultivando Nuestro Futuro will be a meeting of the minds to celebrate the Latinx community through art exhibitions, live music, film screenings, panel discussions and cuisine to empower one another with power, culture and truth. It’s even more meaningful to me since three women founded Latinx House. They named the festival after the concept of “deeply rooted” to emphasize how deeply rooted the Latinx community is within the fabric of our nation. I’m excited to see how their events grow and what they accomplish.

 

Thaw Out

By | Culture, Florida Finds, Travel, Wellness

Escape winter’s chill with a Florida holiday at one of these hot hotels.

When there’s even a nip in the air in Miami, you know it’s freezing up north. I thought you’d like to know about some wonderful new resorts around the Sunshine State to book your next holiday. You may fall in love with Florida and just have to get a place of your own here. It’s been known to happen!

Closing in on its centennial, The Boca Raton reopened after a $200-million makeover that included the breezier name change and reverting to the original, cream-colored façade chosen by its legendary Florida architect Addison Mizner. The property’s sheer size—five distinct hotels set on 200 waterfront acres with a private beach spanning a half mile—and abundance of amenities will pique the interest of seasoned hotel hoppers worldwide. It will take several repeat visits to experience everything from the four-acre Pool Club to the 50,000-square-foot Spa Palmera to restaurants such as the Flamingo Grill and Sadelle’s by New York-based Major Food Group. There’s even an old-fashioned supper club for dinner and a show. Other perks are golf, pickleball, a 32-slip marina, two Michelle Farmer boutiques (love her stuff!), and fitness partnerships with Orangetheory and Hydrow. Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or multigenerational family, everyone is going to have a ball here.

Rich and I often head over to his neck of the woods on Florida’s west coast. We’re huge fans of its laid-back lifestyle and breathtaking sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. You really feel like you’re getting away from it all without giving up creature comforts such as great restaurants, services and activities from golf to yoga. One of our favorite spots is The Gasparilla Inn & Club, having stayed there during our courtship. Among its many room types, I suggest reserving a private cottage at the new Beach Club designed by Kemble Interiors. Beach Club guests also have their own pool and personal golf cart. No matter where you stay here though, you’ll relish the nostalgic appeal of playing backgammon, sipping potent punch at BZ’s bar and rocking on the front porch.

If you fall in love with Gasparilla like I did, you may want to check out a new luxury residential and resort that’s just over the bridge from Boca Grande. Set on 16 acres of secluded waterfront with a 75-slip marina, Banyan at Gasparilla Sound recently launched preconstruction sales for nearly 200 decorator-ready residences and fully furnished condo-hotel suites. I’m beyond excited about this project since there’s really nothing like it in the entire area from its modern design to its wellness-minded lifestyle. I also like how it honors the area’s heritage as a fishery that still lures world-class anglers to this day. Integra Investments development firm, whose projects includes St. Regis Residences Miami and Boca Beach House, commissioned SB Architects and Exteriors by Koby Kirwin for landscape design naturally centered on the namesake banyan tree. If you’ve ever been to the spas at Auberge du Soleil, Hotel Jerome or the Miami Beach Edition, among so many incredible properties around the world, you understand spa consultant Tracy Lee’s immense expertise. For Banyan, she’s creating the 11,000-square-foot Sea Salt Spa that extends to the outdoors with a serenity garden and yoga lawn. Dining at Blue Waters restaurant is like having a personal chef, while the Light House juice bar serves quick healthy fare. After lounging by the pool in a private cabana and partaking in water sports, owners and guests can end the day around fire pits. I’m so proud of Rich, whose Gulf to Bay Sotheby’s International Realty has been selected to represent sales and marketing for this magnificent addition to the area.

The Venice of America finally receives the Four Seasons Hotel & Residences Fort Lauderdale that it deserves. Slated to open in March, developer Fort Hospitality’s fourth Four Seasons property in South Florida features yacht-inspired architecture by Kobi Karp, interiors by London-based Tara Bernerd and New York-based Martin Brudnizki, and landscape design by Fernando Wong. Nearly 200 guestrooms, suites and private residences also mimic the city’s signature boating lifestyle from marine décor to Honey Fitz coffee and cocktail bar named after the Kennedys’ presidential yacht. The Ocean Terrace pool deck perches above A1A for ocean views and two horizon-edge pools. In addition to spa treatments with Tammy Fender and Pietro Simone products, guests can dine at Evelyn’s, which honors one of Fort Lauderdale’s first ladies who gifted the nearby Bonnet House Museum & Gardens to the people.

 

Fresh Beginnings

By | Art, Family, Florida Finds, Travel, Uncategorized, Wellness

My big and small goals for the brand-new year.

Happy new year, and hope it’s off to a good (and healthy!) start. At the beginning of every year, I like to reflect on the road ahead. Building my business, raising my family and supporting my circle from colleagues to community dominated my life for so long. When we give and give, it takes its toll on us. Self-care has received a lot of attention in the media during the pandemic. It forced people to take a break from the rat race and focus on how they were really living. Many of us weren’t happy with what we saw. I’m reassessing what makes me happy and how to grow as a person. It can be challenging, even scary, but I know from my previous accomplishments that there’s no easy way to create change. I’d like to share my to-do list for 2022 from simple, everyday fixes to once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I’ve always dreamt of doing.

 

Move More
It’s all about movement for me this year. That may mean a brisk walk outdoors with the bonuses of vitamin D and fresh air, or more rigorous workouts that keep me on my toes so I don’t get bored. Consistency is key if you really want results. I hope to discover some new fun ways to keep my weight in check, strengthen my bones and core and glow from within. Dancing is one of the best ways to burn calories and improve mental health, so I definitely would like to incorporate more dancing into my exercise routine. Though you can certainly dance solo anytime, anyway, it’s also a great way to connect with your partner and friends. I just may get my grandkids to join me in a dance-off, too.

The Great Outdoors
I’d like to spend more time outdoors regardless of the activity. I’m going to listen to our ancient ancestors and benefit from nature’s healing powers, a practice that the Japanese refer to as forest bathing. Simply by living in Florida, we’re lucky to have close contact with the ocean and healing salt air, as well as its towering trees, wildflower-filled meadows and freshwater rivers and springs. I also hope to visit more places that offer outdoor activities with a wellness component like hiking and biking. It can be somewhere in my backyard or a faraway destination.

Bucket List Trips
I would love to take my family on an unforgettable vacation this year, such as Florence and its surrounding Tuscan wine country with stops along the Italian seaside too. Exploring this rich region’s nature, culture and history with loved ones has always been a dream of mine. After a long hiatus from my initial visit to St. Barth, I’m excited to vacation again in this piece of paradise. The Bahamas are one of my greatest loves, and their waters in surreal shades of blue are a continual source of rejuvenation and wonder for me. I take this image everywhere with me.

Creative Spark & the Pursuit of Knowledge

For many people, a bright spot in the pandemic has been picking up new hobbies or rediscovering old ones. I’d like to get back to my photography. I find the whole process very calming and rewarding. It makes you see the world differently, and there’s always room for improvement and the next amazing shot. It’s something I can do as I age too. It’s important to have a mix of activities that include those you can do more long term. I’d like to make time to read and review my books about art and photography for inspiration, and listen to podcasts especially on the subjects of wellness and self-improvement.

Setting Boundaries & Me Time

I won’t feel guilty about taking time for myself and focusing on my inward journey. When I’m at my best, I benefit those around me most. It’s also important to se boundaries for myself with people who zap my energy or don’t bring me joy. It’s okay to let go and live my best life!

Following Fall

By | Travel

Touring the country in its autumnal glory.

Despite our sub-tropical geography, Floridians love fall colors and traditions. Like reverse snowbirds, we hop on a plane and head north for destinations that promise a quintessential fall experience. Some of us even follow fall, making our way down the East Coast for peak color, or going out west for the gloriously golden aspen trees. Here are some ideas for where to spend a long weekend this season and partake in one of nature’s greatest shows.

 

The Point/Adirondacks, N.Y.

Everyone I know who’s stayed at the Point resort in the Adirondacks can’t stop talking about it. They become obsessed and count down the days until they can return. Once owned by the Rockefeller family, the remote, 75-acre property with a historic great camp (the regional term for a grand lodge) in northern New York is a member of the Relais & Châteaux collection. Each of its 11 uniquely-decorated guest rooms with private baths features lake views, a wood-burning fireplace and porch to listen to the loons. The all-inclusive hospitality concept is also known for its old-fashioned charm, such as scenic boat rides on antique watercraft and regularly scheduled black-tie dinners. You can see why it’s a timeless hit.

Pickering House Inn/Wolfeboro, N. H.

Every fall, leaf peepers descend on New England. The region has so many gorgeous historic inns and resorts, but I chose Pickering House Inn near Lake Winnipesaukee’s Wolfeboro Bay, because it was just rated the top hotel/resort in New England by Travel & Leisure. Local residents Peter and Patty Cooke spent two years renovating the early 19th-century tavern turned private residence for the Pickering family who were instrumental in Wolfeboro’s prosperity. They offer traditional bed-and-breakfast packages in 10 unique guestrooms with gourmet breakfast in Pickering’s Kitchen and priority dinner reservations at Pavilion, their sister restaurant next door. It’s the ideal place to set off for fall adventures like hiking, strolling town and visiting Moulton’s Farm for wagon rides and treats from cider doughnuts to pumpkin whoopie pies.

The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection/Newport, R.I.

Also making T&L’s top 10 list for New England, the Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection is shaking up Newport’s hospitality scene. Nationally renowned design firm Swoon is charged with reinventing a Vanderbilt scion’s historic, Georgian-style mansion-turned-resort. The original owner’s love of adventure and travel, as well as Newport’s Colonial heritage are among inspirations for the new lobby and library lounge with a fabulous, old-fashioned portrait gallery.

Patrons of the Spotted Pig are delighted that the defunct New York gastro-pub’s British chef owner April Bloomfield has resurfaced at the Dining Room at the Vanderbilt to curate a seasonal selection of her signature elevated tavern fare. In addition to several savory dishes, it’s worth a reservation for her spin on clam chowder.

The abundance of fun common areas welcomes fall delights. Cozy up with a book in the Living Room, dine in the Conservatory, watch the sunset from the Roof Deck, and pamper yourself in the spa. Come early 2022, its 33 guestrooms will be fully renovated too.

Primland/Blue Ridge Mountains, N.C.

Famous for its breathtaking mountain views and luxury amenities, Primland also began as a private retreat. The family built a towering resort and 18-hole, Audubon-certified golf course (designed by Donald Steel) on their 12,000-acre property, which joined Auberge Resorts Collection this year. Among a choice of 62 rooms, one can stay in the lodge or in several types of standalone cottages including a trio of intimate, modern treehouses with romantic baths and ample decks. There are many dining options like Elements whose farm fare (honeyed quail, mixed beet salad, potato and truffle gnocchi with kale) is overseen by a chef who worked at Daniel Boulud and Soho House in New York. In between fine meals, visit the spa and try activities from kayaking to archery. Another major draw is stargazing from one of the largest observatories on the East Coast.

The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch/Avon, Colo.

Located at the gateway to Beaver Creek in the Rocky Mountains, the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch is wonderfully restorative. Its mountain setting bursts with fall color, and the luxury spa’s exclusive treatments alone are worth the trip. The Miner’s Mineral Mud Wrap, whose detoxifying charcoal mud uses ore sourced from nearby mines, combines a rose quartz scrub, mud wrap, Vichy shower, and full body and scalp massage with amethyst oil and shea butter. Named for its glowing results, the Alpenglow includes a shea butter scrub, honey and avocado wrap and full body massage. Along with plunge pools, steam rooms and saunas, relax in the stone-lined coed grotto before and after treatments. Multiple, onsite restaurants specialize in different cuisines from Sakaba’s sushi to Wyld’s seasonal, locally-inspired ingredients. End the day with a glass of wine or whisky at the outdoor Fireside Bar.

 

Savoring Summer

By | Dining, Fashion, Florida Finds, Travel

Rather than rush into fall, enjoy the last month of summer to the fullest.

Many of us are back from summer break and getting the kids ready for school. But truth be told, we still have nearly a month left of summer to go. I thought it would be a nice to explore summery tips to squeeze out the last bit of this sweet time before the daily grind begins again. I hope you make the most of it!

Get Out of Town

Maine is known for its many grand hotels, but the Claremont stands out for its proximity to Acadia National Park. A Kennebunkport Resort Collection cofounder bought and refurbished the 19th-century property that had been owned by different families over the years. Thanks to his redesign’s thoughtful balance of the old (the beloved croquet greens) and new (transforming one of the greens into an outdoor swimming pool, which is heated for my fellow Floridians, with chic cabanas), it delivers the quintessential Maine experience.

In addition to croquet and swimming, a typical day might involve taking a yoga or pilates class on the lawn with sweeping views of Somes Sound, visiting Botanica Spa for a treatment with Osea products and winding down with a Berry Smash made with Maine’s famous seasonal fruit at Harry’s Bar. Among other drinking and dining options, Little Fern offers duck, steak and local seafood delicacies without overlooking vegetarians through dishes like sweet potato stew with hints of coconut and lime.

I also like all the choices for accommodations. The main hotel’s 24 guestrooms come in three types and three colorways. For more privacy, book the Ocean View and Woodland cottages. Larger parties appreciate the Phillips and Summer houses; an interesting note about them is that they were originally built by separate families as summer homes and were acquired by the hotel as its demand grew.

Improve Your Health

Many of my clients have home gyms, but Anatomy is a terrific alternative. The upscale boutique gym with locations in Sunset Harbour, 1 Hotel South Beach and Midtown Miami expanded to Coconut Grove’s new waterfront development called Regatta Harbour. Its advanced fitness concept is built around integrative wellness and personalization, not to mention making workouts interesting and fun. Tremble, just one of its popular classes, packs in all the necessary components in 50 minutes. Anatomy’s owners understand their clientele’s busy schedules by creating a one-stop, seamless hub. Beyond premier equipment and exclusive classes, members have access to healthy dining, child care services, vitamin infusions, a hair salon and spa amenities.

Devour a Good Book

We are so blessed to claim one of the most incredible bookstore chains in the world. Books & Books has several locations around Miami, but out-of-towners can also order its vast inventory online, including a nice selection in Spanish, online and partake in year-round, virtual literary events. Two authors who are speaking in September particularly inspire me. On September 12, tennis legend and women’s equality activist Billie Jean King talks about her new autobiography with Katie Couric. FIU’s Cuban Research Institute co-hosts “Cuba: An American History: An Evening with Dr. Ada Ferrer” on September 14.

Eat Light

One of my favorite things do to with my fiancé Rich is to have a delicious sushi dinner with just the two of us. Miami’s sushi scene has exploded with newcomers, but one that you should definitely try is Uchi. It began in Austin, Tex., of all places, and opened its first East Coast outpost here in Wynwood. Once you’re inside, you don’t feel like you’re in Wynwood though. The décor is chic, the crowd is mature and professional, and the service is impressive. But most importantly, the food is melt-in-your-mouth good. Each piece of sushi is created as a perfect bite, so you can skip the wasabi and soy sauce (though they’re happy to bring you some). There are elevated versions of Japanese hot dishes, too. Just in writing this, I’m already craving dinner here.

Wear Something Summery

One of the best things about Miami shopping is that it’s always summer—I think that’s why visitors love to shop here! On top of the latest runway looks, including fall and winter collections to wear in colder climates, clotheshorses can find resort looks any time of year. We have so many great resortwear boutiques like En Avance, Beach and Curio at Faena Bazaar. They have great dresses in all lengths that go from beach to night, caftans and adorable matching sets with tops and shorts. Throw on a wedge sandal, and you’re good to go.

 

Aspen Summer

By | Art, Culture, Dining, Travel

It’s that time of year when my Aspen reveries turn reality. After Florida’s busy season (that seems to get longer every year!), I like to escape to the mountains with my family and fiancé Rich for some well-deserved R & R. The majestic views alone instantly relax me, though I also look forward to getting out in nature and experiencing all the shops, restaurants, culture and events. Here’s a list of new places and fun activities to explore when you’re in town.

Stay

Ideal for personal and corporate events of all kinds, the family-owned Aspen Street Lodge is available for full buyouts only. Accommodations offer a lot of variety, from a two-bedroom penthouse with a full kitchen to nine traditional hotel rooms with a mix of bunk beds, double queens and single kings. Guestrooms feature smart-tech systems and connect to at least one other guestroom for families traveling with small children and other needs. The extensive array of amenities—rooftop, heated pool and hot tub, fire pit, terraces with Aspen Mountain views, game room and outdoor grill and pizza oven—leaves nothing to desire. Sounds like heaven.

Attend

Aspen Art Museum’s annual summer gala ArtCrush takes place August 3-6. Along with AAM’s new director Nicola Lees, co-chairs Amy Phelan and Jamie Tisch, and 2021 Aspen Award for Art honoree Mary Weatherford, the benefit includes silent and live auctions by Sotheby’s. Bid on more than 45 artworks by artists such as Oscar Murillo, Rita Ackermann and Weatherford; Sotheby’s senior international contemporary art specialist Michael Macaulay conducts the live auction of eight lots during the gala at Aspen Skiing Company’s Buttermilk ski area on August 6. Panel discussions, a classical music art performance, tastings and a Pine Creek Cookhouse hike are also part of this year’s extended festivities.

Eat

New restaurants focus on several types of cuisine from the Basque Country (Joonas) to surf and turf (Catch Steak). Italian imports are also making their mark. Based in the West Village, Dante NYC returns for a second collaboration with the Surf Lodge. The partners had such a great time with their winter pop up at the Snow Lodge, that they relocated to the Chefs Club at the St. Regis Aspen Resort through next spring. While Surf Lodge books live music acts, Dante helms the menu’s seasonal fare. Items like whole grilled branzino and a peach, heirloom tomato and goat cheese salad lean to the lighter side. Complete your al fresco repast with a summery spritz within Dante’s famous cocktail collection.

I’m also delighted that a familiar name from South Florida is opening soon—hopefully by August! After running their super successful Casa D’Angelo locations in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Aventura, restaurateurs Angelo and Denise Elia are expanding to Aspen.  The couple brightened up the space formerly occupied by Piñons with white oak interiors and Western décor. In addition to signature Italian dishes, the menu increases specialty items (caviar, bison, crudos) that appeal to the Aspen palate. Known for sourcing the finest ingredients, they also plan to celebrate Colorado’s excellent meats, dairy and produce.

Shop

Aspen is as famous for its galleries and designer boutiques as its ski slopes. Balenciaga’s year-long pop up debuted in July, while Prada’s traveling, experiential activation “Prada Outdoor” comes through town from July 29 to September 7. The interactive shop encompasses mountain-friendly gear (tents, frisbees, stainless steel water bottles) and men’s and women’s activewear and accessories (shorts, backpacks, sporty sandals).

While Peri.A devotees wait for its new Los Angeles store to premiere later this summer, they’re hitting the Aspen outpost in droves. Owner Peri Arenas stocks her pint-sized space with coveted labels for women’s fashions and fine jewelry. Her roster features Casablanca, Ikkim’o, Marni, Peter Cohen, Colville and Marie Lichtenberg, among dozens of gems. Don’t hesitate if you fancy something, since it will be gone in a flash!

After popping up in South Florida and the Hamptons during covid, international art galleries next followed their clientele to Aspen. Paris’s Almine Rech operates here through September 12. Catch its back-to-back shows “Genesis Tramaine: Worship Works” and “Wes Lang: Endless Horizons.” Los Angeles-based Honor Fraser displays a meta solo show of Richard Pettibone’s replications of Andy Warhol’s iconic soup can series. London’s White Cube pops up in a 19th-century building through September 5. Works by Tracey Emin, Magnus Plessen, Anselm Kiefer, Antony Gormley, Theaster Gates and Isamu Noguchi, among several established artists, are exhibited throughout its summer program titled “Correspondence.”

Pack Your Bags

By | Dining, Travel

It’s time to start traveling again and visit new spots and old favorites.

Now that places are starting to open up, and people are on the move again, many of us are excited to resume traveling in some form. It may just be a quick staycation in Florida, or somewhere within the U.S., but it will feel like a true luxury regardless. Here are some resorts that I hope will inspire you to book a trip. We all deserve to have a little wanderlust these days.

Western North Carolina’s cool mountains and streams have always been a refuge for Floridians come summertime. Under new ownership by several families, including the Bealls behind Tennessee’s ultra-luxe Blackberry Farm, High Hampton resort and club in Cashiers, N.C., has been fully renovated and upgraded. The once private hunting lodge, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, transitioned to an inn during the early 20th century. Its recent makeover preserved or meticulously replicated its beloved, historic details like the shagbark siding, while adding modern conveniences such as central heating and air (making it able to operate year-round for the first time).

Dining is elevated too. More spacious outdoor dining areas highlight stunning views of the lake and mountains when dining at the Tavern for casual fare and the Dining Room, whose elegant cuisine is helmed by husband-and-wife chefs formerly at Blackberry Farm. Beyond local ingredients from trout to farm produce, guests of the inn’s 12 rooms and the resort’s 47 cottages can partake in a summer camp’s roster of activities. Golf the Tom Fazio-designed course, take a dip in the pool, hike 15 miles of trails, learn the latest court craze, pickleball, or meander the gardens and arboretum. Relaxing is highly encouraged as well, so don’t feel guilty having a spa day or reading a book on the front porch.

The Reform Club in the Hamptons hamlet of Amagansett invites guests to discover its indoor and outdoor vignettes like one would explore a friend’s countryside manor. You might come across its tea house, billiard room or orchard designed by Marders, one of the East End’s premier nursery and landscaping services. There’s so much to see and do without leaving the property, though you’re within walking and biking distance of Main Street should the mood strike.

Choose from three cottages, seven unique suites with private outdoor seating areas, or the 21 House with four en-suite bedrooms, multiple fireplaces, a gourmet kitchen and its own sprawling yard.

The wellness concept promotes healing and winding down. Along with a spa, it offers regularly scheduled workouts by well-known instructors such as the Agdal Method and Skyting Yoga in its sunken garden. The hotel staff is also happy to arrange private catering by local chefs or pack a picnic for the beach.

People absolutely fall in love with the Mayflower Inn & Spa, Auberge Resorts Collection, in the Connecticut countryside. The impeccable grounds, décor and spa, a partnership with the Well, are just a few reasons why guests return season after season.

This year’s big news is the arrival of April Bloomfield, an English chef and winner of the James Beard award for Best Chef: New York City who spearheaded the gastro-pub movement in America. The hotel selected her to pioneer its “Friends of the Mayflower” series, which invites creatives from various disciplines to participate in onsite residencies. The chef-in-residence oversees farm-to-table fare for the Inn’s dining spaces, the Tap Room and the Garden Room, a whimsical, greenhouse-inspired wonderland designed by Florida girl Celerie Kemble. Casual dishes include deviled eggs, burgers and New England clam chowder, but Bloomfield also prepares four-course tasting menus based on seasonal bounty.

High Hampton
Reform Club
Mayflower Inn

Miami, Mi Amor

By | Art, Culture, Events, Fashion, Florida Finds, Interior Design, Real Estate, Travel

An ode to our vibrant city’s many charms and its new chapter.

Miami is my home. It’s where I grew up, received my education, discovered my career, built my business, raised my family and invested my time and energy into the community. I’m not alone. People have been seduced by its charms going back to early settlers at the turn of the 20th century. They love to vacation here, too, and attend tony events like Art Basel, but many are just discovering our best-kept secret—that it’s also a great place to live and work. Florida has been one of the fastest-growing states for years, and the pandemic has compounded the trend, especially in South Florida.

Every day I hear about a new company, celebrity or mogul relocating to Miami, or at least strongly considering it. Mayor Francis Suarez has been very vocal about collaborating with big tech and startups to establish headquarters or open satellite offices here. He even exchanged words with Elon Musk, who’s already put down roots in the Sunshine State with his SpaceX program.

Goldman Sachs is also scouting South Florida to potentially relocate its asset management arm. The firm’s openness to leaving Manhattan makes sense with the shift to WFH, which should continue post-pandemic for reasons beyond saving significant costs in leasing office space. Other factors for saying, “Yes,” to Florida are our residents’ tremendous wealth; tax incentives including no state taxes, and gorgeous weather to cater to clients on the golf course. It’s really kind of a dream situation for Goldman Sachs.

As an entrepreneur, I can also vouch that Florida offers a favorable climate for businesses of all kinds. Miami attracts a lot of people who are company founders and work for themselves. I always enjoy hearing my clients’ stories about how they worked hard and would like to enjoy the good life now but still stay in the game. The city was built on this independent spirit from visionary developers to the large population of Cubans who came here to be free and flourish.

Besides Miami’s professional opportunities, people are pleasantly surprised about how family-friendly it has become. There are numerous private schools to nurture every child’s personal needs and interests, and several of our neighborhoods offer coveted, A-rated public schools that parents strive to enroll their children.

Local institutions foster our young minds, too. In addition to the new Frost Museum of Science, our plentiful art museums, botanical gardens and even shopping districts provide regular kids’ programming. Sports and an all-around active lifestyle are very accessible to all ages. Indoor and outdoor soccer fields, skating rinks, private and public clubs for sailing, swimming, rowing, tennis and golf, and abundant parks and nature preserves are available to our kids.

Healing nature is just one key element in our growing wellness scene. New residents soon learn that Miami shed its party stereotype a while ago. They partake in yoga and meditation classes and dine on plant-based cuisine at stunningly beautiful wellness centers like The Sacred Space in Wynwood; run and bike Miami Beach’s lengthy beach path, and grab paddle boards and kayaks for a day on the water. Being outdoors is rejuvenating, especially now, and Miami excels in this advantage.

These are only some of my brief initial thoughts on why we’re a hot spot now. And I didn’t even touch on all of our incredible culture. There’s so much to love.

 

Feeling Florida

By | Florida Finds, Travel

I’ve always felt blessed to live in a state that has so much to offer. We have culture and nature in spades, and how fun is it to jump in one’s car for a quick road trip when the mood strikes? The quieter months are a great time to get out and explore this beautiful part of the country. Here are a few spots that top my list, and make sure to say hi to our Sotheby’s friends if you go. (I’ve included links to affiliates’ web sites here.)

Boca Grande

The legendary Gasparilla Inn & Club reopens for its 107th season in October. Multi-generational families return year after year for its old-fashioned charm from the front porch’s rocking chairs to pastel, preppy décor. Its current stewards are doing a tremendous job in ensuring its placement within the Historic Hotels of America and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

As if one of my favorite West Coast getaways couldn’t get any better, its Gulf-side accommodations debut in winter. The Beach Cottages’ spacious residences feature full kitchens, elevators and two to four bedrooms. A new fitness center opens beforehand. Doubling its size makes room for a yoga studio and exercise pool as well as a Zen garden and pickleball courts to meet demand for the fast-growing pastime.

Visitors can still dine at the inn’s multiple venues in the meantime. The Pink Elephant serves dinner nightly and lunch on weekends. Popular items are Thai-spiced, tempura-fried grouper and signature, rum-laced ice cream cocktails for an after-dinner drink and dessert in one. The Outlet restaurant and Inn Bakery are more daytime options.

https://the-gasparilla-inn.com/

Bonus Tip: If you want to know where the tarpon are biting, call captain Tommy Locke. The champion fly-fishing guide and sixth-generation Floridian also helps clients catch good eating species such as snapper, grouper, pompano, redfish and trout from his ultra-nimble Chittum skiff. I’m hooked.

http://www.tommylockeoutdoors.com/

Pop by Gulf to Bay Sotheby’s, too.

https://www.gulftobaysothebysrealty.com/eng

Marco Island

Another fantastic destination on the Gulf of Mexico with big news is the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. Its $320 million renovation premiered last year for a much more luxurious experience in line with Florida’s elevated hospitality scene. The top-to-bottom revamp introduced an adults-only tower, Paradise by Sirene, with 94 rooms and suites, rooftop pool and beach butlers. Its exclusive Tesoro restaurant’s spacious deck overlooks the Gulf for a Greek Isles vibe.

All guests are welcome at the new 10K Alley, a mega-entertainment zone with games for kids of all ages. The property also offers two nearby golf courses and is in the midst of replacing the turfgrass at its 36-hole Hammock Bay Golf Course designed by Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy. The $4.8 million project wraps up in October. The Robert Cupp, Jr.-designed Rookery at Marco course is available to play now.

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/mrkfl-jw-marriott-marco-island-beach-resort/

Pop by Premier Sotheby’s, too.

https://www.premiersothebysrealty.com/

Florida Scenic Highway 30A

Dotted with new urbanist developments like Seaside and Rosemary Beach, this stretch of the Florida Panhandle wins accolades for its chic design mixed with laidback lifestyle. Home rentals range in all sizes, and every good and service are within walking distance to ditch the car upon arrival. Grab a beach cruiser and your beach chair and spend quality time with family and friends on one of the world’s most gorgeous swaths of sand.

In Seaside, browse the latest titles at Sundog Books, try on new swimsuits at Ophelia and share a bottle of vino and tapas at 45 Central Wine & Sushi Bar. In Rosemary Beach, sip stiff punch drinks on Pescado’s rooftop deck, shop Southern tastemaker Ashley Gilbreath’s home selection at Parish, and play tennis on the Racquet Club’s green clay courts. Both communities have outposts of Amavida Coffee & Tea for a caffeinated pick-me-up.

https://seasidefl.com/

https://rosemarybeach.com/

Pop by Scenic Sotheby’s, too.

https://www.scenicsir.com/

Paradise Found

By | Florida Finds, Travel | No Comments

 Little Palm Island Resort & Spa reopens with the rest of the Florida Keys for the ultimate tropical escape.

Adorable Key deer, epic sunsets and some of the world’s best fishing are just a few reasons why the Florida Keys remain a top travel destination decade after decade. Closed to non-residents during the pandemic shutdown, the tropical archipelago reopened June 1. As a South Floridian, I’m grateful to have this healing haven in my backyard. There are so many exquisite resorts to stay from Key Largo to Key West, but Little Palm Island Resort & Spa stands out at this particular moment.

Not only did the four-acre luxury property owned by Noble House Hotels & Resorts debut its multimillion-dollar renovation in early March, but its very nature is tailor-made for social distancing. One must take a boat or floatplane to access the private oasis a couple miles off of Little Torch Key. The resort’s ferry can fetch you, or there’s complimentary dockage for 10 yachts. In addition to checking into one of 30 new thatched-roof bungalows, the entire resort is available for rent for extra-safe precautions—talk about the perfect setting to celebrate a wedding, graduation, family reunion and other milestones. Rates start at $250,000 for a 3-night minimum stay.

Though it’s tempting to bring the whole crew, Little Palm is known for couples’ getaways. The new dreamy décor picks up a West Indies thread, while some suite categories feature outdoor copper soaking tubs. It also gets a lot of points in the romance department for SpaTerre. Being shuttered since 2017 gave the spa team extensive time to research innovative treatments. Their new menu touches on beneficial discoveries in the wellness industry such as CBD-infused products and rose quartz stones. Several types of massages further include the Madrugada, where guests are submerged in water at sunrise. Facial fans can try the Biologiqué Rechérché Experience, which uses Cryo Sticks and microcurrent therapies.

With the redesign, the owners brought on Daniel Ganem as executive chef. Miami gourmets will recognize his name as formerly with the Betsy, an elegant boutique hotel in South Beach. He’s already become best buds with local farmers and fishermen for an eclectic, healthy menu that touches on the region’s international roots with Latin and Mediterranean influences. If you can’t visit quite yet, he shares the recipe for the resort’s signature welcome drink below. One sip of the Gumby Slumber, a refreshing summer cocktail anywhere, and you’re transported here in your mind until the real thing.

Little Palm Island’s Gumby Slumber

Ingredients: 

  • 1 part pineapple juice
  • 1 part cranberry juice
  • 1 part orange juice
  • 1 part Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
  • 1 part Parrot Bay Rum
  • Fresh coconut