Category North America

Photo Friday: Grand Canyon Vista from Shoshone Point

grand canyon genuine journeys

It is certainly a WOW experience the first time you see the Grand Canyon. Sadly, at most viewpoints you have to jostle for views with hundreds of tourists. But there is another way. I took this spectacular vista for Photo Friday from a ‘secret’ lookout at Shoshone Point, which actually is not too far by car from Grand Canyon Village. If you are lucky you will have the lookout completely to yourself.

We were there at dusk in late May and a wedding was about to take place accompanied by haunting tunes from a Native American flute player, whose notes echoed across the canyon.

It feels like you can see every nook and cranny from here…a never-ending series of brightly striated buttes, cliffs and plateaus. You can see parts of the Colorado River in the distance as well as Horseshoe Mesa and the Grandview Trail in the east and the South Kaibab Trail which snakes its way to Skeleton Point.

How to get to Shoshone Point

From Grand Canyon Village, take Desert View Drive (also called East...

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New York’s Greenwich Hotel offers Ultimate Downtown Chic

The  Greenwich Hotel epitomised Downtown cool.

The Greenwich Hotel is a delightful Downtown New York boutique hotel in the heart of a cool entertainment hub in TriBeca. It is owned by New York actor Robert de Niro and other partners who also own Locande Verde, Nobu and the TriBeca Bar and Grill all on the same hipster block.

It is a one-of-a-kind space full of intelligent craftsmanship and design, not to mention great food and wine and a sublime authentic Japanese-style spa.

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A Guide to Telluride: North America’s Coolest Ski Resort

Telluride mfp

Tucked away at the end of a box canyon in Southern Colorado, Telluride – or “to Hell You Ride” – is drop-dead gorgeous and has a terrific personality to boot.

Telluride is not just a spectacular ski resort surrounded by four 14,000 foot peaks (Colorado’s famed ‘fourteeners’), it is also an old silver mining town with a Wild West streak; home to the very first bank Butch Cassidy robbed, right on Main Street.

It’s Aspen without the pretense.

Put simply, Telluride is the whole package, offering a real sense of place in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, fabulous food and wine, and some of the finest skiing and snowboarding in North America.

The Town:

Located on the valley floor, t...

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The Best Oahu Adventures Outside of Waikiki

Swimming with Turtles on Oahu's North Shore

Oahu is Hawaii’s most visited island and it has so much more to offer than the high-rise resorts of Waikiki along the island’s south coast.

Sure the big winter waves on Oahu’s North Shore have a huge reputation in the professional surfing world but there are also many and varied outdoor experiences all over the island for the rest of us mere mortals.

Here is a guide to the best natural adventures. Oahu is actually bigger than you might think and quite mountainous so it is best to group your experiences in the four quadrants of the compass.

Oahu’s West Coast (Leeward side)

Just six of...

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New York Christmas: best trees, windows, shopping and shows

The Rockfeller Center tree is the largest Christmas tree in New York City

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in the heart of New York City

Ah, Christmas in the Big Apple…nowhere does it better. Elaborately decorated trees; ornate department store windows that look like they are right out of a movie set; carolers at every corner; roasted chestnuts from street vendors. And of course, the best place to go Christmas shopping and see the best shows. If you’re lucky, there might even be a dusting of snow for a carriage ride through wintry Central Park.

After living in New York for 12 years, ten of them with little kids in tow, I have the lowdown on the best ways to soak up the Christmas cheer.  Here is my must-do list.

 New York’s Best Christmas Trees

* The Rockefeller Christmas Tree is the crown jewel of New York’s Christmas trees. In fact the 25-meter Norway spruce is crowned with a three-meter Swarovski-crystal star in addition to its 30-000 energy-efficient LED lights...

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How to Find the Perfect Aloha Hawaiian Shirt

VINTAGE ALOHAThere is nothing like a perfectly draped, classically patterned Aloha shirt to put you in an Hawaiian state of mind.

David Bailey has been collecting and selling vintage Hawaiian shirts since 1980 and he now has the world’s largest collection of 15,000 Aloha shirts at his Bailey’s Antiques Store in a pink stucco building tucked away in suburban Honolulu well away from the overpriced tourist strip in Waikiki.

It is well worth making the effort to get here both for a trip down memory lane and to get some real gems in any price range.  You’ll also discover just how Aloha shirts first became popular and what makes them so appealing.

History

For centuries there were no shirts in Hawaii, much less brightly colored Aloha shirts. The original Polynesian Hawaiians wore tapa or bark cloth with simple geometric designs for special occasions. Then the missionaries introduced solid colored work shirts for men and long shapeless dresses called muumuus for women.

The modern Aloha shirt was de...

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How to best enjoy New Orleans music scene

The New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Orchestra has spectacular costumes.

Chanting in a deep rhythmic voice, an African-American Indian chief (yes, I said that right), who is adorned headdress-to-toe in powder-pink feathers, beads and sequins, leaps onto the Louis-Louis stage by the wide lazy Mississippi River. An eight-piece band with horns, saxophone, drums, guitars, fiddle, cello and tambourine echoes his primal call.

The New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Band has me and the rest of the 800-strong audience in thrall, its culture as mysterious as it is hypnotic.

New Orleans French Quarter Festival

Not far away, the Pinettes, the world’s only all-female brass band, is jamming with “Rock the Boat, Don’t Tip the Boat Over”, while on another stage deep in the bowels of the French Quarter, everyone is swinging to the toe-tapping Cajun fiddle tunes of Amanda Shaw and Rockin Doopsie Jr.

A New Orleans virgin, I am here for the four-day, ten-stage French Quarter Festival, the largest free music festival in the South of the United States...

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How to Weekend in the Hamptons: where to stay and what to do

A classic cedar shingled beach house in the Hamptons on Long Island

A classic cedar shingled beach house in the Hamptons

If you don’t have your mansion, summer share house or cottage, it can be difficult to access the Hamptons for just a weekend. Luckily there a few new artful country inns and boutique hotels so now we can all escape New York and enjoy a Hamptons weekend getaway. Here is the rundown on where to stay and what to do.

I checked out a couple recently with my oldest daughter, grown up and living in New York, to see if the weekend boutique hotel experience is all its cracked up to be. They may be a bit pricey but it’s nothing compared to summer house rentals.

Prices in the Hamptons can really take your breath away….Beyonce paid US$400,000 to rent a 14-bedroom mansion for one month; if you were so inclined, you could have bought the same five hectare estate with pool, tennis court, bowling alley, theater and eight-car garage for US$43.5 million. Yet, in spite of its excesses, much of The Hamptons’ appeal is priceless.

Vistas of translucent light over dune grasses to the sea attracted artists more than a century ago to this 50-kilometer stretch dotted with a handful of villages on the eastern end of Long Island. New York Society followed, building grand cedar-shingled mansions on the potato fields and riding horse buggies down its rose-rimmed country lanes to the beach.

In additio...

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Ten Napa Wineries with Great Visitor Experiences

Napa is a short trip from San Francisco

California’s Napa Valley is a Holy Grail for wine lovers yet it can be hard to figure out how to enjoy the best wine touring. Here is the low down on ten wineries with great visitor experiences as well a guerilla guide to making the most of a Napa visit with tips on how to avoid the crowds and engage with the locals.

A guerilla guide to understanding Napa

Just over an hour’s drive north of San Francisco, Napa is tiny…just eight kilometers wide and 48 kilometers long….yet it is home to more than 450 wineries.

Napa is Cabernet country. All the experts agree that it produces the world’s best big, elegant, full-bodied Cabernets with plenty of structure and age-ability. Chardonnay is the second most planted variety, especially in the Los Carneros region. Other grapes include Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc (the classic Bordeaux blending varieties) as well as Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and even the occasional Pinot Noir.

The Napa produce...

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Amangiri Hotel: Sleek Architecture in the Utah Desert

amangiri mfp

Its location is certainly far from Adrian Zecha’s usual hangouts but then Aman is always pushing the boundaries of what defines a great hotel and where it might be located. The multi-award-winning Amangiri, which means ‘peaceful mountain’, is wedged into 600 acres of raw mesa-dotted desert in Southern Utah, not far from the Arizona border.  One of Aman’s most popular properties, Amangiri is all about sleek, minimalist architecture which reflects the drama of the Utah desert. This is only the second Aman property in North America, the first being Amangani in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

In classic Aman fa...

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