22 hot tips for summer

May 29, 2011

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Learn Italian in Sardinia, sail Newport Harbor on a 12-meter yacht, sample oysters in Ireland and elk jerky in Texas. Whether near or far, these escapes are sure to warm up your summer.


On Majorca, away from the madding Palma crowd, British barrister Vivian Read turned a derelict estate in Santa Maria del Cami (a waypoint for excellent wines since the Crusades) into Read’s Hotel, a discreet spread with a working vineyard and resplendent mountain views. A complementary Giant road bike is key to a weeklong stay in the countryside. An hour pedaling the Sierra Tramuntana foothills is enough to know why Spaniards on the mainland are snapping up Mallorca properties, not on the coast, but in the interior. But why put down roots? Bike or hike a course through old villages with breathless views: Pollenca, Batalla, Selva, Sineu. Did I say a week? Make it three. Doubles from $368 a night. Four-day cycling package $1,386. 011-34-971-14-02-61,


Did you find a scallop shell? Did you see a “gingerbread’’ cottage? Did you smell low tide? These are just some of the questions in the new Funhunters Martha’s Vineyard Scavenger Hunt, a laminated, foldout brochure designed to encourage children to explore all the Vineyard has to offer. Gerry Moriarty, a retired educator and island resident, modeled the game after the neighborhood scavenger hunts she loved as a child. “In our electronic age, we don’t pay enough attention to the natural wonders around us,’’ she said. Once children find 59 Vineyard treasures, they are invited to log their accomplishments online and receive a personalized Funhunter certificate. Available at island stores, $10. 413-335-5770,


Picture a vacation out West and you probably imagine fly-fishing or learning to ride, rope, and wrangle. In the heart of the Montana Rocky Mountains, the Feathered Pipe Ranch offers an alternative vision: one of yoga and meditation, relaxation and renewal. A half-hour drive from the capital city of Helena, the ranch hosts weeklong workshops (all levels welcome) from mid-June through mid-September led by some of yoga’s most celebrated teachers, including, this summer, Sherri Baptiste, Erich Schiffmann, Lilias Folan, and Baxter Bell. Accommodations range from plush log cabins to dorm rooms, tepees, yurts, and, for the true budget traveler, tents. The mostly-vegetarian fare is prepared with organic and locally-grown ingredients. Tuition: $1,295-$1,995 a week, with lodging, meals, and instruction. 406-442-8196,


Head to Greece’s Cyclades Islands and the village of Oia (pronounced ee-ah) on Santorini for a stay at Perivolas. The minimalist but luxe whitewashed houses here were restored by Costis and Nadia Psychas from a neighborhood of ancient fishermen’s caves hewn from the cliffs. Hours can be spent in the pool staring into infinity as water and sky seem to merge and spill into the Aegean blue. If you must stir from your private stone terrace, try the massage room carved into layers of earth, where treatments are tailor-made. Studios from $601 a night. 011-30-22860-71308,



Anyone heading to the rugged west coast of Ireland must stop at Moran’s Oyster Cottage for a pint of Guinness and some Galway Bay oysters. Dating over 200 years, this thatched roof cottage is located near the tidal Dunkellin River not far from Galway City. Michael Moran, the seventh generation to take the helm, knows a thing or two about shucking oysters: He’s a five-time Irish champion, twice European champion, and world champion in 2006. After a convivial afternoon at an outdoor table, this wall inscription might ring true: “After all these Oysters and the Whiskey you drink here, You might see mermaids gently swimming in the Weir.’’ The Weir, Kilcolgan, County Galway, 011-353-091-796-113,


ITALIAN FOR TRAVELERS “Allegramente.’’ Ah, the sweet lilt of Italian, the musical language. AllegraMente, a one-week, 10-hour conversation course for travelers, takes you from the classroom to the medieval, cobbled streets of beautiful Alghero on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. Learn the basics of Italian in shops, restaurants, and bars and interact with people whose deep-rooted culture makes this island one of the most fascinating European destinations. Pintadera, the small and intimate Italian language school, also offers intensive courses for adults and children, cooking lessons, and wine tastings with a sommelier who looks like George Clooney. Perfetto! Tuition: $200.,


CHIC CORNER OF FRANCE Pack a picnic basket and trudge 150 steps to the top of the Dune of Pyla, Europe’s tallest sand dune (350 feet) and gem of France’s southwestern Atlantic coast. The panorama includes pristine blue waters leading to Arcachon Bay, a swirl of a sandbank, Cap Ferret, the Landes forest, and the 1.8 mile-long dune. If you want the view but no sand on your feet, follow the “It’’ crowd a few miles up the coast to LaCo(o)rniche. Perched on a cliff, the hotel-restaurant reopened last year after a chic makeover by French designer Philippe Starck. Plan ahead: Terrace tables are coveted at sunset. LaCo(o)rniche, 46 Boulevard Louis Gaume, Pyla-sur-Mer, 011-33-55622-7211. Starters $21-$32, main courses $31-$52. High-season rooms from $372. Dune of Pyla, 33115 Pyla-sur-Mer, SUSIE WOODHAMS

HIGH TIME IN UTAH Everybody knows Park City, Utah, as a skier’s paradise and headquarters for the star-studded Sundance film fest. But come June, this 9,000-foot-high destination morphs into a hiking, mountain biking, and golfing paradise. Clip your bike onto the town lift and head up to the top of Summit Mountain, where you can pedal for miles along the (relatively) flat ridgeline or take a thrilling downhill spin back into town. There are 150 miles of bike trails, plus alpine coasters and ziplines. Another reason to visit this summer: Hotel rates plummet by 50 percent or more, making properties like the luxe Stein Eriksen Lodge a bargain at $115 per person, double occupancy. That includes a three-course dinner for two in the Glitretind restaurant, gratuities not included. 435-649-3700,,


RED SAILS IN THE SUNSET Already one of the most beautiful harbors on the East Coast, Newport looks even better at sunset from the deck of a 12-meter yacht that once competed for the America’s Cup. In addition to charters, the seven retired contenders in the America’s Cup Charters fleet operate ticketed sails daily from the Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina. Help sail one of the 68-foot maritime greyhounds on a spin past Castle Hill Light and Rose Island and out into the straits of Narragansett Bay, or just lie back on deck and let the wind riffle your hair. 401-846-9886,


The 250-mile stretch of Interstate 45 that links Dallas and Houston is low on aesthetics and high on billboards advertising pecans, fried pies, and fruitcakes. Hungry? Stop midway — in Centerville — home for 30 years to Woody’s Smokehouse, the self-proclaimed “jerky capital of the world.’’ A butcher since he was 18, Dudley Wood has evolved his gas station-convenience store business to reside on both sides of the highway, offering sit-down or take-out ribs, brisket, and German sausage, among other hearty fare. Prepare to linger over long cases of jerky (21 varieties including elk, venison, and buffalo); daily made fudge; and canned Texas specialties, from cobblers to pickled okra. Interstate 45 and Highway 7, exit 164, 903-536-9663,


PADDLE WITH EYES OPEN Scope cormorants and snowy egrets while cruising the brackish waters on the Bay State’s South Shore. From Scituate’s driftway, it’s a short paddle on the Herring River to “the spit,’’ a stretch of pristine beach by the mouth of the North River and a bird-watcher’s paradise. On hot, sunny days, this spot becomes an impromptu beach barbecue, so pack a picnic and make a day of it. For a longer voyage, paddle south with the tide onto the North River. Pass historic former shipbuilding sites, gaze at the gorgeous real estate, and enjoy the quiet. Wait for the tide to turn before you head back, or have a friend pick you up at the Union Street Bridge in Marshfield. North and South Rivers Watershed Associations, 781-659-8168,


SUMMER AT THE LAKE Inspired by George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, Manoir Hovey in North Hatley, Québec, goes the original one better with a third of a mile of shoreline on pristine Lake Massawippi in the spruce forest just north of Vermont. Indolence never felt better than lounging in the heated pool set into a rock garden, though the lake could seduce you into rising early to paddle a kayak or canoe across its glassy surface. A pioneer of the farm-to-fork movement, executive chef Roland Ménard makes every meal a gastronomic revelation of just how good Québec cuisine can be. 800-661-2421 or 819-842-2421,


MAINE ESCAPE Impeccably restored in 2004, Chebeague Island Inn, perched above the shores of Casco Bay’s largest island, never seemed to catch on with mainlanders. That was until last summer when Mainer Casey Prentice and his family purchased the circa-1920 estate and instilled the property with a dose of youthful enthusiasm. Word spread quickly about Chef Justin Rowe, who trained at the White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport and knows how to create tasty dishes from local catch. Now Portlanders think nothing of taking the 15-minute water taxi or ferry to Chebeague for cocktails on the wraparound porch, dinner, even an overnight stay in one of the 21 rooms in the three-story home. Rooms from $222 a night.


CHAPS AND SPURS Windswept prairie 52 miles west of Yellowstone National Park, Cody, Wyo., “The Rodeo Capital of the World,’’ lives up to its claim with a rodeo season that stretches through summer. Staged nightly at 8 o’clock June 1 through Aug. 31, the family-friendly Cody Nite Rodeo is a lively scuffle between bulls, broncs, and local cowboys. The highlight of the season is the Cody Stampede Rodeo, July 1-4, a world-class competitive event that features bareback and bull riding, steer wrestling, roping, and barrel racing by top competitors. All events are held at the Cody Stampede Grounds. 800-207-0744, 307-587-5155,,


A WYETH WORLDVIEW See a “world’’ through the eyes of its painter in “Andrew Wyeth, Christina’s World and the Olson House,’’ on view at The Farnsworth Museum’s Wyeth Center, June 11-Oct. 30 in Rockland, Maine. The exhibition marks the 20th anniversary of the museum’s acquisition of the Olson House, the Cushing homestead that is expected to be named a National Historic Landmark this year. The show comprises 50 watercolors and drawings depicting Alvaro and Christina Olson and their home, including 38 from a Japanese collection that have rarely been seen in the States. Although “Christina’s World’’ is not part of the show, a dozen preparatory drawings and drafts of it are included. $12 adults Rockland campus, $17 including Olson House, free Wednesdays 5-8 p.m. and the first Friday of the month. 207-596-6457,


SLOW FOOD IN ITALY Hungering for a taste of the real Italy? Nibble, sip, and savor through Piedmont/Italian Riviera or Tuscany/Umbria on one of Perillo Tours’ new Italian culinary and cultural adventures. Both itineraries were developed with Slow Food Italia to celebrate the regions’ traditional and sustainable foods and beverages. Highlights include visits to vineyards, wine cellars, wineries, farmsteads, and artisan producers of cheese, chocolate, sweets, and cured meats; cooking classes; and meals at restaurants listed in the “Osterie D’Italia Slow Food Guide.’’ Since man does not live by bread alone, also scheduled are visits to museums and historical sites housing world-class art and artifacts, ancient villages, and UNESCO World Heritage sites. The 12- or 13-day small-group tours are scheduled between June 17 and Oct. 21. Prices from $4,290 per person/double). 800-431-1515,


WATCH, LIKE THE HAWKS Bird-watchers flock to eastern Pennsylvania’s Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton during the annual migration from late summer through fall of some 18,000 birds of prey. Bird lovers spot hawks, vultures, eagles, and falcons soaring along the Appalachian Flyway. Hike to the outlooks. The easy, wide, 100-yard stroll to South Lookout is wheelchair-friendly, while the 1 1/2-mile, round-trip hike to North Lookout has a stone staircase and gains 300 feet in elevation. A visitors center has exhibits, a gift shop, hosts year-round programs, and features a native plant garden. Adults $5, seniors $4, children ages 6-12 $3; autumn weekends (September-November) and national holidays $7/$7/$3. 1700 Hawk Mountain Road, 610-756-6961,


GET THAT PACIFIC FEELING Nothing says “romantic summer getaway’’ better than a bungalow near the beach. In this case, the beach is in Santa Monica, Calif., with its sweeping cliffs to the north and the iconic pier and Ferris wheel to the south. The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows offers summer specials that include a nighttime carousel ride and strawberries with champagne. After a day of lolling near the ocean or poolside, it’s a short walk to restaurants and boutique shopping along the pedestrian-only Third Street Promenade. Doubles from $349; online packages, 101 Wilshire Blvd., 866-540-4470,


DINING IN ASHEVILLE With farm-to-table dining practically de rigueur, farmers are starting to share the menu with foragers. In what is billed as a “forest-to-table’’ dinner series, “No Taste Like Home’’ in Asheville, N.C., shows guests how to reduce their food miles to the ground under their feet, and a bit beyond. Diners, led by veteran wild crafters, will stalk the Appalachian woods and meadows for such ingredients as sunchokes, chickweed, and even the much-maligned kudzu. After a few hours of hiking and hunting, foragers will retire to the kitchen, where a visiting chef will whip up earthy delights that might include chickweed salad with persimmon vinaigrette, stinging nettle pesto, and morel and ramp ragout. Sounds wild. Held monthly on a Saturday from 3 to 9 p.m., $125 includes foraging, cooking demo, live music, and five-course dinner with local wine. 828-774-1922,


EATALY TAPS INTO BREWS The largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace in the world, New York’s Eataly, fronted by Mario Batali and Joe and Lydia Bastianich, has been a runaway success. Featuring full-service restaurants, a cafe, wine shop, and bakery, Eataly this summer adds a beer-focused rooftop restaurant. With awesome views of the Manhattan skyline, La Birreria, a 300-seat space, will feature beer from Italian brewmasters Teo Musso of Birrificio Baladin and Leonardo Di Vincenzo of Birra del Borgo, and Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, as well as three Eataly-exclusive cask ales. A menu of Eataly-inspired fare rounds out the experience. 200 5th Ave., 212-229-2560,


BUBBLING WITH ACTIVITY The country’s oldest continuously operating theme park, Lake Compounce Family Theme Park in Bristol, Conn., is the perfect summer day trip. The 427-acre property offers 50 rides and attractions, including 12 water-based activities. Boulder Dash, one of three roller coasters, consistently ranks among the top wooden coasters in the world. New this year is “The Rev-O-Lution,’’ which rocks, rolls, and spins a full 360 degrees on a half-pipe-shaped track up to five stories tall. At Splash Harbor Water Park, visitors will find water slides, fountains, tube slides, a wave pool, a 60-foot lighthouse, and an 800-foot lazy river. Soda is free throughout the park — but not the fried Oreos. Adults $36, children under 52 inches tall $26, seniors $18, age 3 and under free. 822 Lake Ave., 860-583-3300,


HIP ENOUGH FOR ALL With an exquisite backdrop of Lake Geneva and the French Alps, the town of Montreux, Switzerland, transforms itself into a hip European party scene on July 1-16 for the 45th Montreux Jazz Festival. A thousand artists perform Latin to hip-hop, R&B to rock, and of course, jazz. While pricey tickets have already sold out for Carlos Santana’s opening night, Sting, and B.B. King, remaining concerts at Auditorium Stravinski and Miles Davis Hall are just as star-studded (Diana Krall to Deep Purple), and 10 of 12 venues are free. Passing through for the day? Soak up the scene on a grassy hill or buy a pass to dance, dine, or drink on a jazz boat or train.