Archive for the ‘new york travel’ Category

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.


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.

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.


Eco-Friendly Vacations in Upstate New York

The View from Saratoga Springs Farmstead B&B

The View from Saratoga Springs Farmstead B&B


I have family in upstate New York so when I came across some information about Saratoga, I wanted to spread the word. A great place to be green, the city has bike rentals like Blue Sky Bicycles and Elevate Cycles, as well as natural mineral springs to take a therapeutic dip at Saratoga Spa State Park, a 2,000 acre oasis. Accommodations include quaint B&B’s to well-known chains. We love the quaint B&B’s ourselves so take a look at the link below for some great suggestions and start planning your trip!

Eco-Friendly Vacations in Upstate New York

Starwood’s Excellent & Eco-Friendly Element Hotels

Element Hotel's Lexington Studio Suite

Our friend recently stayed at one of Starwood’s Element Hotels in New York City (soon to open its 10th hotel in Miami), and I was impressed by both the eco-friendly touches, as well as the comfort and convenience (she had a stovetop and fridge in the room so she could cook and save some money while working in the big apple). With the average room rate starting at  just $125.00 per night, affordability is also a priority. Here are several unique design amenities keeping Element ahead of the curve:

·         Use of recycled tires for flooring and art mountings – an eco-friendly choice that is invisible to guests

·         Bathrooms that feel spa-inspired yet feature a low-flow oversized rain shower showerhead, as well as amenity dispensers to cut down on plastic bottle waste.  Dual-flush toilets also reduce water consumption.

·         Soy-based fabrics throughout that are soft and comfortable

·         Fully equipped kitchens with energy-efficient appliances

·         Environmentally friendly “Do Not Disturb” door magnets

Element Hotels is also the only major hotel brand to mandate that all properties pursue LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for high-performance buildings.

A New York Treat for Families

New York City Rugrats Riding the Streets of the City

On July 1st, The Plaza invited you to connect with your inner child. That’s right, get back to the days when lemonade sales were you’re biggest worry. Get this: the landmark hotel just re-launched a 1956 original – the Tricycle Garage! City dwellers and hotel guests will be able to rent Radio Flyer tricycles, bicycles and scooters to celebrate summer in Central Park and explore some of the city’s most popular sights. How cute (and eco-friendly) is that?

Following the success of Kay Thompson’s book and the upsurge of Eloise fans everywhere, the Tricycle Garage was originally instated in May 1956 and housed children’s’ bicycles and tricycles in a whimsical, candy-store inspired setting. Bike racks and numbered license plates were available for a nominal fee of $.15 a day (that’s $3/month!) and Plaza guests were allowed to use the garage gratis. Today, The Plaza Boutique’s Tricycle Garage will offer kids of all ages and families the same exciting New York City experience.  Rental fees will range from $20/hour to $40/day (2011 NYC city prices, of course), but it will promise to be that bicycle in the city experience you and your little ones will never forget.

The Plaza Hotel's Eloise Suite (compliments of Betsey Johnson)

Want to go even further with the whimsical theme? Me too. The Plaza, along with Betsey Johnson, also happened to team up to design an Eloise suite! J’adore.

In addition to all that, with Central Park Conservancy’s premier historian and photographer, Sara Cedar Miller, the adults can have their own enlightening experience. They’re offering exclusive, private tours of Central Park as a part of a new summer package.  Tours can be customized to the guests’ interests and passions, making this New York city deal ideal for families, couples and girlfriend getaways.  Package details are as follows, but contact the hotel for more info (because if this doesn’t tickle your fancy, The Plaza will certainly have something that might):

  • Luxurious overnight accommodations in a Suite
  • A private, customized tour through one of New York’s most fabled attractions
  • A signed copy of Central Park, An American Masterpiece; Seeing Central Park, The Official Guide to the World’s Greatest Urban Park; or Strawberry Fields: Central Park’s Memorial to John Lennon by Sara Cedar Miller
  • Champagne toast for two in the Champagne Bar at The Plaza

Tofu Fa in Chinatown

Tofu Fa

While perusing The New York Times Travel section, we came across Peter Meehan’s piece on New York’s Chinatown and saw a mention of tofu fa that got us salivating. So, we thought we’d share the goods with our loyal flock ‘a seagulls.

Tofu fa is a super-soft and slippery tofu that often comes in a light and sweet gingery syrup. His recommendation is to hit up the northeast corner of Grand Street and Bowery. Though Meehan isn’t as much a fan of the “sweet” tofu fa, he says, ask for the tofu fa “salty” and they’ll spice it up with two kinds of soy sauce mixtures, scallions, minced pickled turnip and peanuts.  Sonds amazing and, for less than $2, it’s a fast healthy lunch that could be a great staple. He also suggests the rice noodle sauced with bottled condiments similar to the same dish served at the little cart parked outside the shop on Grand Street.

Other tofu recipes and nibbles? Diver scallop-size plugs of light and airy fried tofu served with pickled turnip stuff (if you ask for it).

You don’t go here for the ambience, but, as Meehan explains, “You can fill up on something delicious and not break a Lincoln dwindle.”

New York Getaway: The Lodge at Woodloch, PA

Everyone thinks you have to go to the Hamptons for a quick getaway from the stress of the city, but little do they know about a secret gem Jaunt Magazine uncovered only 90 miles (that’s two hours) from NYC in the beautiful lake region of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Surrounded by 75 acres of scenic woodlands and a private 15 acre lake, we’re talking about the Lodge at Woodloch.

Inspired by Adirondack and Western lodge architecture, The Lodge at Woodloch features stunning lake views, walls of windows, an internationally recognized destination spa, four fitness studios, and soaking pools with hydro-massage WaterWalls. Just what you need to momentarily forget about that VC deal or a boss that won’t stop breathing down your neck.
The Indoor Pool

The Lodge’s philosophy of ‘awakening’ teaches guests to listen to their inner wisdom through fitness classes, delicious healthy cuisine, chef’s cooking classes, art and watercolor classes in their studio, meditation by a fire circle and taking in the beauty of nature.

There’s hiking, kayaking the Delaware River, antique shopping in Hawley, and even championship golf if you want to get your tee on. Innovative five-star spa cuisine comes from award-winning chef, Mark Timms, who places emphasis on flavor and real-life choices while their restaurant, Tree, offers live music every night and an impressive wine list. Oh, and each of The Lodge’s 58 guest rooms has its own private veranda with beautiful views. Check it.

So what are you waiting for? Your boss to suddenly become enlightened?
You better get on it first.

$350-$450/per person, per night

NYC: Xanadu & You

Remember the days when you were a beautiful bouncy blonde with a voice like Olivia Newton and long coltish legs that skated into some shiny hot pants? Me neither, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

XANADU, an all-out freewheelin’ party on wheels, is still going strong; thrilling audiences with it’s hilarious take on the 1980 Olivia Newton-John flick, a veritable must see for anyone stressed out in New York City and in need of a good laugh. Now that all those strikes are over, you need Broadway and she needs you.

Told by master Broadway playwright, Douglas Carter Beane, Xanadu is about a muse from ancient Greece sent to Earth to inspire a struggling artist. And you know Jaunt… we adore anything relating to ancient Greece, a muse, and struggling artists. Particularly if there’s singing and roller-skating involved. Plus, Kerry Butler plays the lead and she’s about as close to Olivia as anyone’s gonna get, right down to that sweet Aussie accent.

Her hunky co-star, Cheyenne Jackson, appropriately dubbed by the NY Post as “The Sexiest Man on Broadway” brings a set of acting and singing chops, proving, once and for all, that a man really can have movie star good looks and exceptional stage skills. When he sings “Don’t Walk Away”, shivers just might roll up your spine and set off a string of fireworks.

The best part? The music of Xanadu. All Top 10 hits from the 1980’s written by ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) and John Farrar. The New York Times calls it “Heaven on Wheels”, the Daily News “90 minutes of hilarity” and New Yorker Magazine… “The Most Fun You Will Have on Broadway!”

How’s that for the perfect weekend matinee? A certifiable party, complete with glowsticks and dancing in the aisles. It’s more fun than making out with a hot co-worker in a storage closet at the company Christmas party. And everyone knows how much fun that is (until Monday morning, of course).

Xanadu. It’s guilt-free fun entertainment. Sort of like Snackwell’s… with a little ice-cream on top. Let’s face it, you could use a good dose of roller party after busting your hump all week. You’ll feel like a kid again.

For tickets to Xanadu at the Helen Hayes Theatre:

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