Friday, November 18, 2016

Vancouver: The Place to Relax, Rejuvenate and Participate

Written by Cynthia Dial for

At first glance, things seem different in Vancouver. The sky is bluer, the harbor is livelier and the mountains are closer. Beyond these physical attributes, however, is an additional appeal – best described the Vancouver vibe.

 Photo by Cynthia Dial

While the Canadian city is where to go to slow down, draw a deep breath and hit the pause button, it is also a destination for recharging your battery, renewing your interests and reinvigorating your lifestyle. In short, Vancouver represents just about everything to everybody.

An oh-so-stylish base from which to wind down, rev up or both is Fairmont Pacific Rim. Greeted by a snappy looking bellman sporting a black felt fedora and a yellow rose in his lapel, the hotel’s fashionable stage is set from the moment of arrival (especially if it’s courtesy of its BMW car fleet available to guests within the downtown core).

  Photo by Cynthia Dial

Located at the waterfront, near the 2010 Olympic Cauldron and within steps of Canada Place, this Fairmont’s setting alone places it in an exclusive class. Add to the mix its Pacific Rim-inspired architecture, fine collection of original art featured throughout the property and its multitudinous dining options – from the see-and-be-seen Lobby Lounge with its timelessly trendy RawBar (a mandatory stop for the sushi savvy) to ORU, the marble and stainless steel open kitchen eatery of Executive Chef Nathan Brown, known for its locally-sourced Pacific Northwest menu.

 Photo by Cynthia Dial

Said to be designed for the elite, in-the-know traveler, Fairmont Pacific Rim’s new-to-the-scene Owner’s Suite Collection is a grouping of ten 800-square-foot bedroom/living area combos – best described as spare-no-expense accommodations. Perks include the pre-arrival procurement of personally requested vinyls for the suite’s record selection, waiting-in-your-room Fairmont Fit Reebok footwear and workout gear for such activities as runs along the seawall or excursions via the hotel’s BMW bikes (arranged by the hotel’s bike butler, of course) and 24/7 admission to the 20th floor’s Fairmont Gold lounge, complete with outdoor terrace seating (outfitted with wool blankets for cooler weather).

In the food arena, this is a town where favorite spots spill over. With such an abundance of restaurants, everyone has a favorite and it would be remiss not to share recommendations, if only for one day’s three meals. So here goes.

 Photo by Cynthia Dial

Walk no further than the flourishing Library District for one of the city’s most popular breakfast and brunch venues, Café Medina. An alluring blend of Old World charm and a bustling brasserie, its specialties include Belgian waffles (purported to be the city’s best), one of its fricassées (a French stew, served with egg at the Café) and the lavender latte (conceived for the most critical coffee connoisseur).
 Photo by Cynthia Dial

Railtown Café, a favored lunch spot, is situated in a former garage and located in a neighborhood bearing its name. The baby of Chefs Dan Olson and Tyler Day, the restaurant is known for food described as “treated with care and from scratch” – 50 handmade toppings for its notoriously tasty salads, sandwiches and more. Bordering Vancouver’s vogueish Gastown, the community of Railtown – long defined by its warehouses and train tracks – is in a slow but sure conversion process toward becoming a burgeoning “it” neighborhood.

 Photo by Cynthia Dial

Diners need look no further than Blue Water Cafe for dinner, a must-try for seafood lovers and consequent haunt of such celeb clientele as Alicia Silverstone, Uma Thurman and Ben Stiller. One of the restaurant’s most irresistible menu items is Chef Frank Pabst’s seafood tower, a multi-tiered offering of fresh, chilled seafood.

For a nightcap, visit Opus Bar. Repeatedly recognized by Zagat as Vancouver’s top nightspot, it’s found in the small, boutique-style Opus Hotel, another magnet to high profile patrons including Justin Timberlake and Reese Witherspoon.

Tasty tip: If there’s room for dessert, stop in Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Bella Gelateria (whose owner was named 2014 International Gelato Master of the Year) for a toasted maple pecan or lavender gelato – the perfecto meal finale.

Though comparatively small, Vancouver is a self-confident kind of town that overflows with all the activities that come with its geographic blessings. It is additionally enhanced by assorted means of experiencing the city from land, sea and sky. 

  Photo by Cynthia Dial

To get your bearings and the best lay of the land, sightsee from a seaplane. As home to the world’s largest floatplane network, with such options as Harbour Air Seaplanes, it’s possible to soar above the city, head up the Sunshine Coast or even land on a mountain lake for a private picnic.

  Photo by Cynthia Dial

This is an active town – for residents as well as visitors. Every day of the week sea kayakers navigate Vancouver’s variety of waterways, whether it’s paddling in the coastal fiord of Burrard Inlet, through the placid waters of False Creek from Granville Island or along English Bay for its metropolis mix with nature.

 Photo by Saschie MacLean

Biking is the norm in this city of 280 miles of cycle paths and bike routes, a city also known for its variety of negotiable terrain – from Stanley Park’s flat and varied landscape to the North Shore’s challenging mountain treks. For a taste of Vancouver’s cycling life, Cycle City Tours serves up a diversity of options, including such routes as the three-hour Stanley Park ride (a mix of trail riding and seawall cruising) and “Behind the Brew,” a three-and-one-half-hour spin through the city with visits to three breweries. 

In a city with a patent on the pleasurable, what better way to follow-up an active day than returning to the Fairmont Pacific Rim to unwind in its Willow Stream Spa. Consistently recognized as one of the world’s best, this fifth-floor enclave is a composition of two fireplace-adorned relaxation lounges, a men’s-only lounge, a customized hydrotherapy experience shower (fitted with 20 shower heads) and a skyscraper surrounded outdoor deck with a Jacuzzi, infrared sauna, loungers, meditation pods and fire pits. The treatments are too numerous to detail. However, to go indigenous there’s the Coastal Mountain Retreat - a hydrating maple-sugar scrub followed by a replenishing body wrap with Bio-Maple Compound, cocoa and shea butter.

  Photo by Cynthia Dial

Consistently lauded with accolades – “Destination of the year,” “One of the world’s most livable cities,” “Top food destination” – just one visit to Vancouver confirms that the winning streak continues and ensures that your departing glance of this BC city won’t be your last.    

#travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia #VeryVancouver #vancouver #travelpics

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lexington is Much More Than Southern Hospitality & Horses

Written by Cynthia Dial for

It’s been said that of the more than one million passengers who use Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport each year, about 600 of those are horses. Though certainly an unusual stat, this mathematical indicator is illustrative of the region’s love affair with the magnificent mammals. Upon arrival an oversized, gilded-gold and ornately-framed portrait of Big Lex (a Thoroughbred racehorse of the 1800s named Lexington, now the municipal mascot) serves as the unofficial greeter to this city situated “where the South begins.”

Airport greeting, "Big Lex"

Traveling its roads deep into horse country, past acres of green grass and alongside rows of wooden post and rail fencing, a visit to a horse farm here is the equivalent of a tour of Buckingham Palace in London – it’s quintessential Lexington. Of the more than 400 farms, the choices are many. Our choice: Ashford Stud – now home to American Pharoah (the first horse to win the Triple Crown and Breeder’s Cup) – is a spare-no-expense equine estate.

American Pharoah

Described as a “serious, serious industry,” it’s necessary to prearrange a visit to a private horse farm. But though a bit of planning is prerequisite, these behind-the-scene tours are legendary – taking guests into the pampered world of these four-legged studs to see the horses in their lavish digs and learn the ABCs of breeding (fun fact: American Pharoah, whose stud fee is $200,000, is sometimes paired with three mares each day).

Situated at the epicenter of horse country, Lexington is typically defined by a Thoroughbred theme – from its pristine horse farms to its renowned Keeneland Race Course (a National Historic Landmark). “My Old Kentucky Home” is the state song, sweet tea and Benedictine tea sandwiches (cucumber, onion and cream cheese) are considered standard afternoon fare and counted among its one-time sons and daughters are J. Peterman (of Seinfeld parody fame), George Clooney and Ashley Judd. Yet, as soothing and southern as these specifics seem, Lexington is much more.

A prime perch from which to explore Lexington is the city’s less-than-a-year-old 21c Museum Hotel. Situated in downtown’s iconic 1913 First National Bank Building (the city’s original skyscraper), showcasing a distinctive and ever-changing art gallery and named for the 21st century, this cutting-edge boutique property coddles those who cherish tradition and invigorates those who appreciate innovation. However, it’s likely the art best remembered will be its whimsical mascot – the 4-foot-tall blue penguins (think University of Kentucky blue) scattered about the hotel. 

 Art at 21c Museum Hotel

A stroll through Lexington’s historic homes is a walk back in time. Perhaps most famous is Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate – a manor set on a 17-acre wooded plot that played host to such back-in-the-day guests as James Madison and Daniel Webster. The Headley-Whitney Museum – the former home of jewelry designer George Headley and heiress Barbara (Vanderbilt) Whitney – features a shell grotto, a selection of the jeweler’s noted bibelots (small decorative objects without purpose) and elaborate dollhouses. Called “the nation’s first shrine to a first lady,” the Mary Todd Lincoln House, which is walkable from most downtown locations, is the childhood home of the wife of President Abraham Lincoln. 


Lexington’s food scene – from its rich bourbon heritage to its southern-rooted restaurant scene – is a compilation of everything local, everything organic. Here’s a delicious peek into its eateries and their specialties.

Found at 310 West Short Street, Table Three Ten features such addictive dishes on its blackboard-style menu as pecan cinnamon rolls and chicken with waffles topped with peach hot sauce and bacon powder.

Cole’s 735 Main, known for its apple cider braised pork belly, bourbon-glazed Scottish salmon and more than 130 bourbons, whiskeys and moonshines, claims it is “where dining is elevated to art.”

The signature dish of Portofino – an Italian eatery found in a renovated downtown edifice – is ravioli della casa. Thinking it presumptuous to name his restaurant “Portofino” without his chef visiting the Italian town, owner Wayne Masterman sent his chief cook to the Amalfi Coast. 

Lexington's typical Southern fare

Lexington offers a vibrant cultural scene, including an opera house, professional orchestra, two ballet companies and live theater options – ranging from the historic Lyric Theater (past performers have included B.B. King and Ray Charles) to productions performed in such atypical venues as a murder mystery staged in a funeral home and the play “Love, Lost and What I Wore” presented in a consignment store.

To take an art walk, begin at 21c Museum Hotel (staff members can conduct an art tour; brochures are provided for a self-guided tour). Exhibitions typically reflect current events and timely news, change every six to eight months and surpass the imagination. Of its six permanent exhibits, don’t miss “Tomorrow’s Weather,” a colorful, ever-changing piece of art suspended from the dining room’s ceiling and designed to predict the next day’s climate.

"Tomorrow's Weather" art installation at 21c Museum Hotel

When popping into the Downtown Central Library Gallery for its invitational exhibition, be prepared to be mesmerized by the foyer’s Foucault pendulum and world’s largest ceiling clock suspended over artist Terri Pulley’s mosaic floor design, which is comprised of 45,000 to 50,000 tile pieces (note the quarter imbedded into the floor mosaic; it represents Lexington).

While additional stops might be Ann Tower Gallery, Arts Place and New Editions Gallery, for an in-person one on one with an artist, go to the Artists’ Attic – a collection of 21 studios of such professionals as equine artist Cissy Hamilton and Eric Johnson, creator of Norman Rockwell-like artwork.

 Artist at work at Artists' Attic

All Photos by Cynthia Dial

If your visit coincides with the third Friday of the months of January, March, May, July, September or November, participate in the LexArts Hop and sample a selection of approximately 50 city galleries between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m., alongside 600 to 700 fellow art lovers.

With shopping as varied as its eating, opportunities include Artique, a store featuring more than 1,000 American craft artists; Glover’s Bookery, an antiquarian bookstore specializing in Kentuckiana, books on horses and military tomes and Savane Silver, known for its contemporary jewelry featuring such semi-precious stones as the Kentucky agate (found in the state’s east-central creek beds). Then there’s L.V. Harkness. Owned by Southern belle, Meg Jewett, known for her unassuming style and exquisite taste, this in-a-class-by-itself boutique offers such hard-to-find specialties as the Laura Bush Pickard china magnolia pattern she selected for the White House, traditional julep cups and equestrian-inspired everything.

However, Lexington’s calendar of events best illustrates the town’s legendary lures: High Hope Steeple Chase, a race at Kentucky Horse Park over brush and timber (May); Festival of the Bluegrass (June); Keeneland Yearling Sales, an annual auction attracting around-the-world horse buyers (September); Perryville Battlefield Reenactment (October) and Holidays at Ashland, Henry Clay’s home decked out in the grandest of styles with a different historical theme debuted each Christmas (December). 

#travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia #lexington #horses #horsecountry #travelpics

Take a Hike! Around-the-World Hiking Trails

In celebration of National Take a Hike Day (November 17), here are some of the world’s best trails and destinations – all offering the same reward – stunning views for all your hard work and effort to get there. Located around the globe, check out these destinations and their trails.

 Rancho La Puerta
Photo by Cynthia Dial

Rancho La Puerta | Tecate, Mexico
Rancho La Puerta is the original “fitness resort” and spa, which welcomes some 140 guests each week to its 3,000 private acres of gardens, mountains and meadows in Baja California, Mexico. All facilities and land are for the exclusive use of guests who come for an entire week, Saturday to Saturday, or partial-week stays of three or four nights. It's a unique escape for women and men offering over 80 fitness classes including TRX, yoga, pilates and advanced hiking trails, as well as spa treatments and therapeutic sessions. Hiking is a very big part of the Rancho La Puerta guest experience. Most guests do some sort of hike before breakfast each morning. Rancho La Puerta is located in the mountains and the guided hiking trails are a five-minute walk from the resort, offering over 50 miles of hiking trails. Options include a two-mile hike through an oak grove with undulating terrain, a nine-mile mountain hike and everything in between. A few standout hikes include:

Organic Garden Breakfast Hike - A four-mile round-trip trek over rolling hills to La Cocina Que Canta, the Ranch's culinary center and organic six-acre farm. Enjoy a garden breakfast, followed by a garden tour with the resident horticulturist.

Quail Two - A 2.5-mile hike that winds across the meadow and along a stream before climbing up to the base of the mountain. The return is via the oak grove. 

Coyote Hike - A 5.5-mile strenuous hike winding up the mountain between the Pilgrim and the Professor routes and then looping back along the flanks of Mt. Kuchumaa. Elevation gain is 800+ feet. 

Mountain Trek | Nelson, British Columbia
A true backcountry experience, Mountain Trek offers guests a dynamic boot camp vacation while also providing an upscale resort experience at their beautiful lodge in Nelson, British Columbia. Set in spectacular natural landscapes, guests spend time focusing on hiking-based activities in the beautiful mountains of British Columbia. Mountain Trek takes hiking to the next level by utilizing Nordic Trekking Poles, and employing postural ergonomic instruction for a full body workout, that increases cardio and maximizes muscle power. Program Director Kirkland Shave motivates guests with a sense of adventure and wonder, taking them through a new trail each day, offering different environments and views among nature. Some of the premier hiking trails to explore at Mountain Trek include:

Fry Creek Canyon in Purcell Wilderness Conservancy - Explore breathtaking views along the pristine Kootenay Lake, set below the snowcapped Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia. The trail takes trekkers snaking along an old 1920s gold mining mule trail that hugs the canyon above the crystalline glacial run off.

Idaho Peak - Take the trail three grades up the mountain to access the old forest fire lookout, where hikers will find 360-degree views of the shimmering Slocan Lake below, and Kokanee Glaciers and the Selkirk Mountain peaks across the valley. Visit July through September and experience the park's "Sound of Music" backdrop with the most outstanding, rainbow colored array of alpine wild flower meadows

The Mulia & Mulia Villas | Bali, Indonesia
Located on the majestic coastline of Nusa Dua, The Mulia & Mulia Villas, evoke a relaxed yet polished sensibility and offer a sunrise hike up Bali’s most popular volcano, Mount Batur.  Located a few hours from Nusa Dua, guests can trek two to three hours hike for the sunrise view of the volcano's caldera, the majestic Lake Batur, and stunning panoramic views of Bali. After a strenuous day of hiking, guests can enjoy the Hot Springs located near the volcano which is said to have healing properties.

West Coast

Hotel Murano | Tacoma, Wash.
Mount Rainier is the ultimate in American alpine climbing. You can see Mount Rainier from Seattle but you have to come to Tacoma to experience it. Outdoor adventurers have plenty to do at this all-seasons destination and mountaineers love this 14,411-foot climb. Stay at Hotel Murano and experience the many hiking trails, for all ability levels, that lead to many of the most beautiful spots on Mt. Rainier National Park: Crystalline high mountain lakes, cascading waterfalls, meandering streams, sub-alpine meadows carpeted in flowers and peaks offering vistas of the glaciers of Rainier.  The best of the trails is the famous Wonderland Trail, a multi-day journey covering over 93 miles that encircles the entire mountain.

Rancho Bernardo Inn | San Diego, Calif.
Located at Rancho Bernardo Inn in picturesque North County, experience the best of San Diego’s hiking scene just minutes away from the 265-acre destination resort. Soak in the beautiful sunny weather and enjoy local hikes including Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, Mount Woodson Trail where you can find the famous potato chip rock and more, less than five miles away from the property. A hiking concierge is happy to assist describing routes and escorting you to the trail via Rancho Bernardo Inn’s private SUV (upon availability).    

Washington School House | Park City, Utah
Park City is the ideal destination for the adventurous traveler. Stay at Washington School House, the hip town's most exclusive luxury boutique hotel, and book a guided hike and stand-up paddleboard yoga session with Park City Yoga Adventures. Starting with a 1.5 hour hike through the Wasatch mountains range’s Aspen forest along a winding stream, guests will then practice yoga, deep inside the 10,000-year-old crater. The instructor demonstrates yoga poses from the dock while guests move and bend on paddleboards that float in the 90-plus-degree natural therapeutic pool. In the water, tiny effervescent bubbles of CO2 exfoliate and rejuvenate dry skin while the hotel mineral water relaxes muscles and lowers blood pressure. After yoga, a relaxing hike back down the mountain truly ends the day on a fantastic note. 

Tanque Verde Ranch - Tucson, Ariz.
Located on 60,000 acres of stunning desert landscape, Tanque Verde Ranch caters year-round to travelers looking to unplug and reconnect with one another and the great outdoors. There are no TVs at the Ranch, so guests are encouraged to go outside and enjoy daily guided hikes covering miles of scenic trail. Led by experienced naturalists, guests will go deep into the Saguaro National Park and Coronado National Forest, which surrounds Tanque Verde Ranch, to witness desert wildlife, unique cacti formations. species and more. Hikes range from easy to difficult and are generally offered in the mornings or at sunset. Certain hikes even take guests into the mountains, with elevation gains of up to several thousand feet.  

Four Seasons Resorts Lāna‘i | Lāna‘i, Hawaii
With only 30 miles of paved roads on the entire island, Lāna‘i is a hiker’s dream. From beachside paths perfect for a sunrise stroll to more strenuous tree-lined trails that crest mountain tops, the island of Lāna‘i offers hikes to suit every level. Now guests of Four Seasons Resorts Lāna‘i have an even better reason to hit the road, with a series of fascinating hiking routes. The hikes range from 60–90 minutes and are designed to showcase the beauty, history and lore of the island. A few standout hikes include:

Sunrise Pu‘u Pehe Hike - Enjoy an early morning hike to the summit overlooking one of Lāna‘i’s most recognizable landmarks, Pu‘u Pehe, also known as Sweetheart Rock. Immerse yourself in culture and learn the legend behind Pu‘u Pehe, how Shark Bay got its name and why there are so many holes in the ground along the way.  All this, while witnessing what may possibly be the most beautiful sunrise ever, folks on Lāna‘i say.  The moderate hike is approximately 75 minutes, give or take time spent snapping photos.

Kapiha‘ā Trail Hike - A preservation trail with million dollar views along the southern coast line. Once used by the ancient Hawaiians, the Fisherman’s trail as it’s also known, offers a glimpse of life in the past. Watch as one of the largest blow holes on Lāna‘i shoots into the sky, Mother Nature permitting. This adventure concludes as you make your way through the actual ruins of Kapiha‘ā Village, established 600 years ago. The hike averages 90 minutes, and is moderate, but can be challenging in certain areas.  

Lāna‘i also offers a number of self-guided hikes, including the five-mile Koloiki Ridge Hike. Guests can pick up a descriptive trail map from the Lāna‘i Culture & Heritage Center or from The Lodge at Kō‘ele and head out the back to get started. Enter a forest canopy of pine and eucalyptus trees and hike towards Maunalei Valley and Naio Gulch, and maybe catch a glimpse of an axis deer, with Moloka‘i and Maui in the distance.

The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage | Rancho Mirage, Calif.  
Enveloped within the Santa Rosa Mountain range and offering striking panoramic views of Palm Springs and the surrounding valley, two hidden desert trails located directly next to The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage are perfectly situated for the luxury traveler looking to stay fit and active. The Roadrunner / Big Horn Overlook Trail is two and a half miles of awe-inspiring views of deep, colorful canyons and unrivaled sights of natural desert landscape. The Chuckwalla Trail is moderately intense and takes hikers through uncrowded, quiet trails that skirt steep cliff edges.   The guided hikes are complimentary to resort guests and take place daily, offering expertise about wildlife, plants, nature destinations in the area, and the human history of the beautiful lands. For those who prefer to hike on their own, the resort provides maps to stunning scenery perfect for the desert adventurer. 

Surf & Sand Resort | Laguna Beach, Calif. 
The Surf & Sand Resort is directly located in Laguna Beach, offering flawless oceanfront views and a variety of ways to explore the locale. A short 15-minute drive will land you amidst some of the destination’s finest trails. The Aliso & Wood Canyons Regional Park is home to Aliso Canyon, which is an intermediate level hike, stretching on a 20-mile single track with elevation up to 126 feet. For the more experienced hiker, trek through miles of coastal wilderness with resort partner, La Vida Laguna. If you prefer to take on the trails without guidance, the three options include the Laguna Summit, the Dartmoor Loop and Laurel Canyon. The Laguna Summit starts at the downtown Festival of Arts and ascends behind the Water Tank Trail. The climb continues to expand up the ridge line with breathtaking views of the ocean south to Laguna. The Dartmoor Loop is also deemed a vigorous, intermediate hike, climbing from sea level to ridge. This trail offers spectacular views with Saddleback Mountain to the east and Catalina island to the west. The Laurel Canyon trail is regarded as an easier intermediate hike in the heart of the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 

L'Auberge de Sedona | Sedona, Ariz.
One of the most sought after destinations in the U.S., Sedona, Arizona is outdoor enthusiasts dream with a variety of red rock formations that offer endless miles of trails. A beautiful, creekside retreat, L’Auberge de Sedona has recently partnered with The Hike House, creating the perfect opportunity for those looking to get outdoors and explore the famed hiking trails of Sedona. Through the partnership, guests of L’Auberge de Sedona will have access to all The Hike House has to offer - including tailored trail finders, guided adventures, hiking clinics and all the hiking gear one could need. From guided Vortex, individual and group hikes - L’Auberge’s partnership with The Hike House ensures each guest will experience their “Sedona moment.” 

Lodge at Tiburon | Tiburon, Calif.
Nestled at the tip of the scenic Tiburon Peninsula on the San Francisco Bay, Lodge at Tiburon offers plenty of nearby hikes and trails for guests to explore. Trail and hike lovers can enjoy and explore Mt. Livermore, an exhilarating hike that provides visitors with magnificent views of Marin County, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.   

The Mansion at Casa Madrona | Sausalito, Calif.
Located in the seaside community of Sausalito, The Mansion is also right around the corner from one of the most unique areas in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Marin Headlands.  Covering various types hiking and trails, the headlands also offer astonishing views of the Northern California coastline and San Francisco.   

The Marker | San Francisco, Calif.
Escape to the heart of San Francisco for an urban hike up the iconic city’s many hills and steps. Located just two blocks from the city’s Union Square neighborhood, the concierge can guide guests to the best stairways, hills and hiking trails to see the sights and local history that helped shaped San Francisco, including Twin Peaks, Land’s End Trail and Lombard Street.  

East Coast

Craddock Terry Hotel | Lynchburg, Va.
Nestled in Downtown Lynchburg, Craddock Terry Hotel is a 44-room boutique property with easy access to a variety of trails for hiking, walking or biking. One of the most popular trails in the area is Blackwater Creek Trail, built along an abandoned railway bed and traveling through an urban forest. The property is happy to assist guests in mapping out the nearest trails, and guests can even be joined by the hotel’s house dog, a Wirehaired Fox Terrier named Buster Brown, who can act as your very own tour guide. Your reward: dramatic views of the James River, historic downtown Lynchburg or the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Twin Farms | Barnard, Vt.
Twin Farms, the Relais & Chateaux property and only five-star resort in Barnard, Vermont, is situated on 300 acres of lush meadowlands. For the perfect hiking experience, explore the forest, meadows and ponds by foot independently or request a guide with the miles of groomed trails, hills and views that invite moderate or strenuous recreation in the verdant forest. Request to have your lunch packed to enjoy a gourmet picnic while exploring the hidden groves of the property.

Mission Point Resort | Mackinac Island, Mich.
Mackinac Island boasts over 70 miles of hiking and biking on just 3.8 square miles of land. With more than 80% of the island protected as a state park, Mackinac Island offers some of the most beautiful vistas in Michigan. Trails are offered in a combination of both paved roadways and more rugged natural trails for the more adventurous. Hike to one of the most famous and photographed spots on Mackinac Island, Arch Rock. This geological wonder is a natural limestone arch formed during the Nipissing post-glacial period when high Lake Huron levels and wave action created openings in the rock. The views from Arch Rock are dramatic, sweeping vistas of Lake Huron and Canada.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Cruising Solo

Written by Cynthia Dial for Nine Digital, travel portal, Channel 9 TV, Sydney, Australia

There's a big difference in cruising solo and cruising alone. Once reserved for the grey nomad set, cruising has undergone a sort of renaissance of late with solo travelers lapping up the floating hotel experience in ever-increasing numbers.
Photo by Cynthia Dial

If you fear that stepping onto a promenade deck by yourself means your voyage may be sans friends or sans fun, think again. For the rest of the story, go here.

#travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia #cruising #solocruising #cruisingalone

Friday, September 30, 2016

Fashion Week San Diego 2016

From designers Chavon Shree and killemwithchic to Valleau Apparel and Fuseik, San Diego's Fashion Week has it all. Here's a peek of Allison Andrews' 1st night's runway show.

#fwsd16 #travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia