Archive for the ‘girls getaways’ Category

Volunteers Rebuild Nepal, Brick by Brick

nepal travel

One year has passed since the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in April last year. While Nepal is doing everything it can to recover and rebuild, the country is still in need of significant aid and resources.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, Projects Abroad initiated a Disaster Relief Project to assist with the recovery process. Since the project began in June 2015, hundreds of Projects Abroad volunteers have made incredible progress in helping with the organization’s goal of restoring a safe learning environment for children in the Kathmandu Valley. Currently volunteers’ efforts are focused on reconstructing Yashaswi Gurukul English Secondary School, the sixth Disaster Relief site to date. Their help has been invaluable.

volunteer nepal

When the work at Yashaswi Gurukul is completed, the new building will also serve another purpose. As aftershocks continue even nine months later, and the fear of another large-scale quake remains, the school building will be able to serve as a safe gathering space for the local community, in case of further disaster. Projects Abroad staff estimate that work at this site will conclude in the next month or so, and then volunteers will move on to the next site where they are desperately needed.

Projects Abroad has made a commitment, not only through Disaster Relief but also through Teaching and Care Projects, to restore stability to the education of young students. In working with dedicated local experts and volunteers, the organization is striving to get Nepalese communities back on their feet, brick by brick!

For more information on how to get involved yourself with Disaster Relief work in Nepal, have a look here:

www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/building/disaster-relief/volunteer-nepal

 

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Experience Queensland at Its Best

Brisbane

Brisbane

The Land Down Under certainly offers countless explorations and possibilities, and Queensland is becoming particularly interesting to numerous globetrotters. Some of them are eager to see a whole different culture from the most distant part of the world whereas some others are searching for the adrenaline rush and different adventures related to the ocean. No matter what, Queensland is definitely a very desirable destination for anyone who cherishes exciting vacations and natural wonders. Here are some top destinations everyone should visit. Enjoy!

Brisbane

Being the third largest city in Australia, Brisbane indeed has very much to offer. Some of the top places are City Botanic Gardens and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which is one of the top ten zoos in the world. As its name says, it features the largest number of koalas in the world. This zoo also offers tourists the option to be a “keeper for a day” – to take care of all the animals and interact with them. On the other hand, the City Botanic Gardens is the most amazing place to relax. Take a long walk and learn about its history, or just sit and relax in one of the garden’s shaded areas. For the best view of the city, visit Mount Coot-tha Lookout. It offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the whole city as far as Moreton Bay.

Gold Coast

Gold Coast

Gold Coast

Gold Coast and Surfers’ Paradise are known as true havens for surfers all over the globe. 70 magnificent kilometres of fabulous beaches, together with four point breaks, are the main reasons for that claim. These are appropriate for both beginners and professional surfers – there are limitless possibilities for everyone! If surfing is too extreme – try Zorbing! This activity consists of basically riding down a massive hill in a huge transparent ball, which is appropriate for kids as well.

Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

Being the largest living structure on Earth, the Great Barrier Reef can even be seen from outer space! It is composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands, which make this structure very impressive. Its crystal clear waters and incredible diversity of sea life are the main reasons for numerous people from all over the globe to explore it. Scuba diving is definitely a must, simply because it allows visitors to see interesting underwater creatures and the rich sea life first-hand.

Noosa Biosphere

Noosa Biosphere

Noosa Biosphere

The hills and valleys that surround Noosa are just perfect place for a spiritual retreat in the Land Down Under. It offers unforgettable sunrises and sunsets, which contribute to the overall feeling of blessedness. Its diverse wildlife makes it perfect for a getaway from the everyday life, which largely contributes to mind, body, and spirit rejuvenation. Numerous spa treatments here are very refreshing and relaxing, and they will definitely pay off.

Whitsunday Island

Whitsunday Island

Whitsunday Island

This fantastic island is best known for its exquisite beaches, and the best way to explore it is to go sailing and snorkelling on a catamaran. The gem of this island is certainly Whitehaven Beach, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It is secluded and everyone will be stunned with the peaceful simplicity of this gorgeous place. White sand and a turquoise sea will make everyone feel at peace.

Harvey Bay

Harvey Bay

Harvey Bay

This place is certainly unique for one good reason – humpback whales come to it regularly to play and enjoy themselves! This is exactly why tourists love visiting it – such a fabulous experience should not be missed. Experience the marine life at its finest by booking a tour that seems the most interesting to you. Experienced guides will provide a breathtaking adventure by getting as close as possible to these marvelous creatures. Of course, what is very important, neither the whales nor the tourists will be in danger.

A trip to Queensland definitely means making memories that lasts a lifetime, everyone should know that. It is up to you to choose what type of destination you would like to explore. Queensland indeed has it all, and you will certainly not regret if you decide on visiting it.

By: Nicole Noel

Nicole Noel is an avid traveller. She enjoys discovering different cultures, exploring new things, and sharing her ideas with others. You can find her on twitter and FB.

In Need of a Zen Retreat? Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, the Oldest Zen Monastery in the US, is Your Spot

A Yurt on the Tassajara Grounds

A Yurt on the Tassajara Grounds (c) David Silva

We have a thing for yurts. And, when you take a yurt and throw in some yoga, tasty vegetarian cuisine, and coursework with spiritual leaders helping you on the pathway to mindful living, what’s not to dig? To that end, every year, most people don’t know that the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center opens its doors to the general public for an annual guest season from May 1 – September 14, 2014. Zen and meditation seekers, yoga lovers, artisan foodies, and everyday people looking to unplug and rejuvenate are invited to experience a truly serene environment at Tassajara, the most remote and oldest Zen monastery in the United States, located 25 miles southeast of Big Sur, CA.
The Stone Room

The Stone Room (c) Ben Guevara

For the 2014 guest season, the Tassajara Program Schedule 2014 will offer up retreats in six specialty areas, all led by some of today’s leading teachers: Body and Mind, Mindful Living, Creative Expression, Engaging Earth, Spiritual Practice, and Zen Study & Practice.
Fine vegetarian cuisine

Fine vegetarian cuisine (c) Margo Moritz

This includes sessions/retreats that focus on all or some of the following: yoga, healing, culinary arts, and reawakening your wellspring of creative action by letting gifted artists help you become more open, confident, daring through words, movement, sounds, images, or the surprisingly powerful traditional ink brush.
Calligraphy (c) Mitsue Nagase

Calligraphy  retreat (c) Mitsue Nagase

Standout retreat leaders for the 2014 guest season include Zoketsu Norman Fischer (Poet, Author, Zen Buddhist Priest), Jane Hirshfield (Internationally Renowned Poet), Dale Kent (Author, Tassajara: Dinner and Desserts), Andrew Mellen (Author, More Love, Less Stuff), Marc Lesser (Google Meditation Workshops, CEO of Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute), Sessei Meg Levie (Google Meditation Workshops, Zen Buddhist Priest and Life Coach), Janet Stone (Celebrity Vinyasa Yoga Instructor), Donald Moyer (Founding Director, The Yoga Room, Berkeley, CA), and many others.
So go zen, mini-gurus.
 
Weekend rates for shared dorms start at $121 and private cabins and yurts from $267.

What’s New in Napa 2013

Calistoga Spa & Hot Springs

Relax in the Pools at the Calistoga Spa Hot Springs

Napa Valley’s upcoming grape harvest will bring with it a crop of new restaurants, lounges, organic-focused spas, major hotel renovations, and festivals.

Sleep

  • Chanric Inn, Calistoga
    The Chanric Inn re-opens after a renovation by new innkeepers Joel Haddad and Jim Dollard. The owners’ backgrounds as designers, art curators, and leaders in hospitality are reflected in the property’s makeover, which features modern platform wooden beds, an outdoor pool surrounded by Provencal-style gardens, spa services, and a gourmet brunch prepared by the owners.
  • Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, Calistoga

The focal point of the 18-month, property-wide renovation is the four geothermal- heated mineral pools that draw water from Calistoga’s natural springs. The guest rooms were redesigned with Italian porcelain tile showers and kitchenettes.

Harvest Inn, St. Helena

The Bucolic Harvest Inn, St. Helena

  • Harvest InnSt. Helena
    The new “Healthy Living in Napa Valley” package offers guests the best of Napa Valley’s outdoor adventures, food, wine, and relaxation. Included is a cycling excursion with Clif Family Winery at Velo Vin  followed by a post-ride wine tasting.  A 60-minute rejuvenating massage, $100 gift certificate to Cindy Pawlcyn’s Wood Grill and Wine Bar, and complimentary breakfast are also included. Available for travel now through November 15, 2013. Rates start at $575 per night.

Spa

The recently opened Spa at Napa River Inn is the only downtown Napa spa to exclusively offer organic, wild-harvested, hand-milled, and local spa products – including the inn’s custom-created Napa Valley Organics product line. All treatments are signature and exclusive to The Spa at Napa River Inn.

Napa River Inn

Take in the Views at the Napa River Inn

See

A celebration of film, food and wine, the Napa Valley Film Festival shows over 100 new independent films at 12 venues across the Valley. Over 300 visiting filmmakers will be present at screenings and intimate events.  For more information or to buy passes year-round, visit www.napavalleyfilmfest.org or call 707-226-7500.  

Savor

  • Mercantile Terrace, AndazNapa
    Downtown Napa’s new hideaway lounge features a sprawling California-style living area with comfy seating, communal tables, and outdoor crackling fire pits. A selection of artisanal wines, craft beers, cocktails, and small plates are on offer.
  • Napkins (website coming soon), Napa

Opening in September, Napkins will be downtown Napa’s newest destination for grabbing a late night dinner or cocktail. The restaurant will feature American cuisine with a global twist with menu items like, sandwiches, chops and pastas.

  • Flavor! Napa Valley (Nov 20-24)
    The third annual star-powered Flavor! Napa Valley wine and food festival will return November 20-24, 2013. This year, the five-day festival is adding new chefs, new sommeliers, new seminars, and more hands-on workshops. As always, participating chefs must have a restaurant in the Napa Valley or be graduates of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the beneficiary of the festival.

For more information visit www.visitnapavalley.com

Maui Wowie… Yoga-Style, Brah

The grounds of Lumeria Maui

The grounds of Lumeria Maui

We’re a little obsessed with yoga retreats… we know, we know. And, since we’re also Kama’aina (local Hawaiian, bradah), we wanted to share Lumeria Mauis latest. Lumeria Maui is Hawaii’s newest luxury retreat for yoga, well-being, and personal growth, if you must know, and they’re presenting Symphony Of The Senses with four retreats in 2013.  These retreats integrate yoga, music, movement, sensory awareness, nature, and gourmet organic cuisine (check!)  in, as they say, “a nurturing, supportive, holistic, and vibrantly energetic environment.” Certified Anusara teacher, Skeeter Tichnor, plans to facilitate the movement of energy in participants’ bodies through the practice of yoga.

The goal?

To guide attendees in accessing and experiencing beauty, peace and compassionate awareness. As a leading innovator of contemporary healing and transformational music, Peter Kater will also provide the soundscape to a deeper experience of our emotional bodies and a heightened awareness of our essential selves with music created specifically for these retreats.

A room at Lumeria

A room at Lumeria

The first retreat will consist of a four night and five day stay from April 27 – May 1, 2013 and starts at $1,500 per person based on double occupancy.  In addition to the retreat, this package includes three meals per day at Harvest Café as well as all classes, sessions, and on-property activities. The second immersion is a five night and six day retreat from July 20 – 25, 2013, which starts at $1,700 per person based on double occupancy. Dates and details on the last two Symphony of the Senses retreats are soon to be announced on Lumeria Maui’s website.

Lumeria encompasses six ocean- and mountain-view acres between the seaside village of Paia and the upcountry paniolo (that’s “cowboy”, for all you city slickers) town of Makawao. In addition to its 24 luxury guest accommodations, the retreat also features a spacious yoga studio, 900-square-foot outdoor yoga platform and 8,000-square-foot lower terrace suited for group activities. The Harvest Café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week with menus featuring local, organically grown produce.

Relaxing at Lumeria. Not too shabby, eh?

Relaxing at Lumeria. Not too shabby, eh?

Daily instruction in yoga and meditation are included with accommodations. Further education is made available through customized programs in therapeutic healing arts, water sports, personal growth and transformation, and the history and practices of indigenous Hawaiian culture. Located just 2.5 miles from the Maui’s famed North Shore, Lumeria Maui’s adventure experiences include surfing, kite-surfing, stand up paddle board and windsurfing sessions, all led by world-class athletes and instructors.

The property is a restored historic site, originally constructed in 1909, and features classic Hawaii-style neo-colonial fusion architecture. We love. In light of its adaptive reuse, the project is also listed in the National Registry of Historical Places, and was an honored recipient of a 2012 Preservation Award from the Historic Hawaii Foundation.

Now that’s da kine.

www.lumeriamaui.com

Stowe Mountain Lodge

Stowe Mountain Lodge

Stowe Mountain Lodge

Looking for a little winter retreat or Christmas ski specials? Look no further than Stowe Mountain Lodge, long known for being one of the top ranking ski resorts on the East coast. Located at the base of Stowe Mountain Resort, it was also just recently named “#8, Top 50 Ski Hotels In North America”  by the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler magazine.  We think this is important because this award is chosen by readers who are distinguished and experienced travelers, many of whom have stayed at the most revered hotels in the world. In fact, the Reader’s Choice Award is one of the most sought after in the travel industry due to the detailed selection process and esteemed reputation of the voters.

The Lobby - Stowe Mountain Lodge

The Lobby – Stowe Mountain Lodge

With ski-in/ski-out access to the best lift-accessed skiing and snowboarding in the East, the six-story, 312-room lodge features rustic grand architecture, luxe guest rooms, a 21,000 square-foot spa, award-winning-dining, a year-round heated indoor/outdoor pool and a two story lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows and oversized wood-burning fireplaces. With  majestic Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak, it’s also filled with activities for every season: golf, tennis, hiking, fishing, skiing, snowboarding, world-class dining, shopping, spas and more. Stowe’s historic village combined with Vermont’s most spectacular landscape creates the quintessential New England getaway.

What’s not to love?

A One Bedroom Suite at Stowe Mountain Lodge

A One Bedroom Suite at Stowe Mountain Lodge

There’s also their signature Alpine Concierge and a $4.7 million investment in snowmaking improvements this winter, so, the overall snow quality at Stowe Mountain Resort is the best it has ever been. Topped by the new slope-side community at the base, Spruce Peak Village, Stowe looks like it’s going to continue to be the preeminent luxury mountain destination in the Northeast. In celebration, Vermont’s Stowe Mountain Lodge is offering guests a special Ski & Stay package so check it out below:

Ski Stowe Package

·         Discounted overnight accommodations

·         One discounted lift ticket per adult, per day

www.stowemountainlodge.com

 

A Romantic Weekend in Upstate New York

hudson river hotels

Recently, we’ve become a bit obsessed with the Hudson River Valley. We’ll admit that this obsession is, in part, due to a trip upstate to visit a friend in Rhinebeck and another friend who moved to Hudson to get out of the city grind. So these days, when looking for a quick romantic weekend outside of New York City, the Hudson River Valley is the place for us.

One place we’re keen to check out is the Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa. An eco-chic retreat owned by Robert Pollock, the founder of Soho’s Great Jones Spa. With a view overlooking the Hudson, you can take in the crisp clean breezes in an Adirondack chair on the grounds while sipping an equally crisp glass of white in a setting that was originally a trading post in the 17th century.

hudson river valley

Insert: You sittin on the banks of the Hudson River 

 

With only ten rooms and seven carriage houses, each has wooden floors and fireplaces. Add to that, awesome nature hikes, complimentary breakfast in the main house’s enclosed sun-drenched porch or on the adjacent patio overlooking the river. There’s also a solar-powered spa’s sauna, steam room and 40-foot indoor pool with scenic floor-to-ceiling glass panels while you swim.

buttermilkroom

A quaint little room at the Buttermilk Inn 

A day pass is $35 (couple $50), if you don’t want to stay the night. Choose from  seven types of massage ($60-$155), exotic body wraps ($155-$175) and organic facials ($100-$140). Nearby is also the 70-acre Millstone Farm where you can check out achickens, alpacas and llamas. For those like us who like some great vino: Try Stoutridge Vineyard and Benmarl Winery, both just 15 minutes by car.

Rates start at $250.

www.buttermilkfallsinn.com

Hint: Mention TONY to receive 30% off Mon–Thu and Sun through May 31, plus 10% off spa services and meals at Henry’s Farm to Table on the property where you can sample a selection of cheeses ($11) from the area, including nearby Coach Farm, or try the duck breast ($25), which comes from La Belle Farm, located an hour from the restaurant.

 

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