Travel

Cruising the Waters: Barging through the canals of Strasbourg, France

Located near the border of Germany, the charming town of Strasbourg, France invites with its architecture, canals, and streetside cafés. According to TripAdvisor, the number one attraction is the cathedral. Victor Hugo referred to this 12th-century Gothic structure as a “light and delicate marvel.” It is breathtakingly beautiful and the views of the Rhine River from the top of Strasbourg Cathedral will linger in your heart forever. 
Find your favorite scenes casually jaunting through Strasbourg, canal to café on a private barge (captain included), or café to café, indulging in the region’s epicurean delights. 
Quickly becoming the ultimate way to explore, traveling the canals in your private hotel on the water, a luxury barge, is a one-of-a-kind experience. Whether you are seeking wine, culinary delights, hot air-ballooning, or sight-seeing, your 6-star accommodations can transport you to where you need to go. 
Strasbourg is in the region of Alsace, and home to a lovely Crémant, a bubbly produced outside of the Champagne region of France. A private tour of the vineyards is highly recommended. The area is one of France’s exceptional wine regions, producing mostly white wines such as Riesling. Follow the Route des Vins, or Wine Route, through picturesque villages like Eguisheim and Ribeauvillé for a memorable journey.
I had the opportunity to explore the canals of Strasbourg on a privately-owned barge. Upon arriving in Strasbourg, I spent the first night at Régent Petite France, a five-star boutique hotel nestled between the banks of River III and cobblestone magic in the La Petite Historic District. We filled our senses with local food and wine, wandering through cobblestone streets and unsuspecting alleyways to dine and sip at quaint bistro tables, all while feeling transported to a simpler time. 
Afternoons across the canal locks come to life at the French café courtyards serving a selection of French cheeses, foie gras, and French wine. Regional dishes derive from German culture. In Alsace, the most famous dish, choucroute garnie, is a version of German sauerkraut—a fermented cabbage cooked in white wine, beer, or cider and seasoned with juniper berries and black peppercorns and garnished with boiled potatoes and a variety of meats. This is a traditional Sunday meal.
True to Strasbourg’s ambiance, pastries are a popular delight of the area. You will find many patisseries with beautiful éclairs, tarts, macaroons, as well as the traditional kougelhopf, a brioche-type cake, often made with dried fruits and nuts, and baked in a special round, fluted pan.  
Bretzel, a large, freshly baked soft pretzel, salted or unsalted, with options such as melted cheese or accompanying smoked salmon, or even dusted with sugar for something sweet. If you are visiting in the spring, I hear the local white asparagus are something to write about. And Foie Gras d’Alsace is a local delicacy that is often found on menus.
One of my personal favorite dining experiences was in the formal dining room of Buerehiesel, a 19th-century glass atrium. It feels as though you are dining in your own private garden with the comforts of the indoors and fine cuisine. 
Strasbourg is the perfect place to take a stroll and enjoy the moments of life. The influence of German traits remains, and the flowers of Parisian springtime bloom among the storied bridges and historical clock tower. 

Comments

  1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

Vero Beach to Asheville

Meet Elite Airways, the airline bringing weekend flight service between East Coast Central Florida and Western North Carolina. The airline originated to enhance the flying experience. With a goal to make your time flying more personal and hassle free, Elite Airways is bringing Western North Carolina and Florida travelers good news. With a new nonstop flight between Vero Beach Regional Airport (VRB) in Florida to Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) in North Carolina, residents and visitors now have the ability to travel between the two destinations Thursdays and Sundays. 
Elite airways prides itself on customer service. As a pet-friendly airline, they never charge change fees, and the first bag always flies free. Their goal is to provide a quality and memorable travel experience. 

The airline headquartered in Portland, Maine also offers service between the following cities:

Asheville, NC and Vero Beach, FL

Bimini, Bahamas and Melbourne, FL

Bimini, Bahamas and Newark, NJ

Halifax, Canada and Portland, ME

Melbourne, FL and Bimini, Bahamas

Melbourne, FL and Newark, NJ

Melbourne, FL and Portland, ME

Melbourne, FL and Sarasota/Bradenton, FL

Newark, NJ and Bimini, Bahamas

Newark, NJ and Melbourne, FL

Portland, ME and Halifax, Canada

Portland, ME and Melbourne, FL

Portland, ME and Sarasota/Bradenton, FL

Sarasota/Bradenton, FL and Melbourne, FL

Sarasota/Bradenton, FL and Portland, ME 

Vero Beach, FL - Asheville, NC

Vero Beach, FL - Newark, NJ

Chasing a Four-Generation Dream of Traditional Malt Whiskey

In Scotland, whiskey is both an artform and a part of daily life. Distilleries can be found in every nook and cranny of the country. The tastes of this spirit vary with the style and distillation process, and favorite brands are unique to personal likes and dislikes. During a recent visit to the region of Speyside, Scotland, I fell in love with a traditional single malt whiskey.


Benromach’s story is as legendary as its whiskey. A four-generation family ambition to own a distillery came true in 1993, when the Urquhart family of Gordon & MacPhail purchased Benromach to create a true handcrafted single malt whiskey. The passion for this liquid runs deep in this family, dating back to 1898 when John Urquhart started working with Scottish distiller Gordon & MacPhail. In 1915, John was named a senior partner, and the pipeline dream of owning a family distillery was born. 


His son Michael, who joined him at Gordon & MacPhail in 1933, worked hard in perfecting the single malt essence of days past. Benromach opened its doors in 1898, however when the Urquhart family purchased the distillery in 1993, it had sat empty for ten years. It was a clean canvas to create the masterpiece that the heritage of Benromach represents. 


With the use of copper stills and local Romach Hills’ spring water, the family set out to do something unheard of today, making whiskey by hand. At Benromach, they believe in a manual distillery. Every process is done manually by feel, sound, taste, and sight. Nothing happens with the machinery if the distiller does not make it happen. The process is unique to the distillery and instills a sense of pride in the makers and the product. 


Benromach uses the finest malted barley grown in Scotland, along with a combination of brewer’s yeast and distiller’s yeast in their recipes. They took what is known as a classic Speyside whiskey recipe and made it their own.


It’s obvious while touring their facility and conversing over a tasting that whiskey is their breath of life. In speaking with Distillery Manager Keith Cruickshank, his eyes brightened and spirit poured out with his words. The product packaging and the earth floor that stored their hand-filled casks offered simple, classic elegance and a natural feel that tugged at my heart and taste buds. 


Fairly new in terms of Scottish whiskey distilleries, they are certainly making a name for themselves, and were the first to create an accredited organic whiskey. With barley purchased from a local farm and environmentally friendly casks, the soft bourbon-esque whiskey has been a hit. 


My favorite single malt at the tasting was Benromach’s 15-year whiskey. Its maturity, smoky whisper finish, and deep color from the sherry cask offered a bit of dark fruit taste up front. Its sister, the 10-year, offered a stronger smoke in the nose and could be considered a good entry-level whiskey for those trying the Scottish heritage liquid for the first time.

 
Traditional single malt whiskey is not a commonly produced product. Blends can mature faster, offering income to distillers two or three times faster than a single malt. The Urquharts stand by the integrity of the single malt, the process, and their commitment to their values. 
Whiskey is the Urquhart’s calling, their life’s work. Each new generation to join the family business are custodians of the legeacy of their whiskey process. ◊
 

Portrait of Enchantment: Discovering the Curiosity of Bali

Bali. The name alone sounds exotic, yet few will become intimately connected to the magic this island invokes. Google search Bali, and a much different portrait is painted than what you will see when you arrive. If it is purely magical beaches you seek, Bali may disappoint. 
If you have adopted the term “conscious travel,” then you will fall in love with the undeniably breathtaking architectural treasures and the culture this destination provides. 
Think of New York City or a Florida surf shop beach town and Mexico, with some magic sprinkled in. The Hindu-influenced island intrigues with the daily practice of offerings. The Balinese spiritual ritual is a small box filled with flowers, incense, leaves, and often a cracker presented on the steps of entrances to stores, temples, statues, and homes. Representing gratitude or welcoming abundance, the daily offering is a reflection of the culture and simplicity of the island. 
Listed as the number one tourist destination on TripAdvisor, Bali is accepted by the Western world as the place for a yoga or meditation retreat, and to the Eastern world as a tropic holiday. The beaches near the southern half of the island are for surfing and the place the Aussie’s escape to catch the waves. Yet, in my experience, Bali is more culture than postcard bliss. 
Many have seen the movie, Eat Pray Love, and associate Bali with finding love or peace, but the  Bali portrayed in the movies is one you must seek in remote spots. This is not to say the island is not beautiful. Majestic palms and rice terraces are stunning, as is the active volcano Mount Kintamani. And I cannot forget to mention the hundreds of ornate Temples that stir you emotionally, from sheer elegance and energetic attraction. 
Flying into its capital city, Denpasar will give you Bali’s urban perspective. With the island’s rapid tourism growth in the past ten to twenty years, getting around can take some time. Something you need to be aware of when traveling to Bali: keep your New York state of mind, and take it all in, as there is beauty everywhere you look. 

WHERE TO STAY

Seminyak. This vibrant beach town reminds one of SoHo in New York or Brooklyn. From incredible food to boutique shopping and local discoveries it is the “now” hot spot in Bali. 

HOTEL RECOMMENDATIONS

Location and comfort is my philosophy, so here are two very different suggestions:
/ W Retreat and Spa. The pool/beach area is one-of-a-kind, and the restaurant menu selections are divine. Accommodations are top-notch and customer service and security are a level above any other place in this area. 
Travel Tip: If you don’t stay at the W, visit the WooBar for drinks and food and you can use the loungers, pool, and beach access. 

/ Tony’s Villas. There are many Balinese villas in the area. If you are traveling with a budget in mind, they offer private bungalows, pool, and 24-hour room service across the street from the W and the beach. If you want to step it up, stay in their private villa with private pool for an oasis retreat.

WHERE TO EAT

Coffee. Revolver - Known for their coffee, they do serve light sandwiches. They close at 6pm.

Breakfast. The Shelter - Fresh, organic, and hands down my favorite spot. Try the avocado toast. 

Dine on the Beach. La Lucciola - Pasta, fresh fish, salads, good wine list. Try the duck salad. 

Out on the Town. Ginger Moon - Asian-inspired, modern eatery. Try the babi guling (suckling pig) an authentic Balinese dish. 

Rooftop Dining. Moonlite - The view is great and the fish is incredible.

All-Around Great Cuisine. W Resort (any of the restaurants) - From tapas to complete meals and an expansive drink selection, it is an easy go-to if yo u don’t want to travel far. Try the curry at Star Fish Bloo.

DAY TRIPS

/ Ubud. A city about an hour north (traffic time) of Seminyak, Ubud is home to temples, silver and goldsmith shops, and nature. Plan at least a day to see the sights. 
Batuan Temple - For a small donation of $10,000 Rupiah (approximately 75 cents USD), a traditional sarong is wrapped around you, allowing you to enter the elaborate Hindu temple. 
Monkey Forest - A tropical monkey park in the middle of Ubud city center. Monkeys are literally walking, swinging, eating, playing right next to you. Entrance is $40,000 Rupiah (approximately $3 USD). It is worth seeing, however don’t look the monkeys in the eyes, and keep your belongings close, as it is not uncommon to see a monkey escaping up a tree with a new treasure. 
Tegenungan Waterfall - Escape the busy streets to the sound of nature at Bali’s second largest waterfall. It does cost $10,000 Rupiah (approximately 75 cents USD) to visit the falls. 
Bali Zoo - If you enjoy animals and want to see what Asia has to offer, a trip to the zoo may be in store. If you are looking for an exotic experience, it is a safe place to ride an elephant, approximately $50 - $80 USD to do so. 
Tegalalang Rice Terrace - This is one of the most breathtaking scenes in Bali. Take a photo, walk the terrace, or enjoy lunch overlooking the green hills. 

/ Mount Kintamani. One of two beautiful mountain peaks in the active volcano of Bali, this bicycle tour takes you 25 kilometers downhill through the real villages of Bali. Meet a family, see how they live, and enjoy the landscape of original Bali. Anyone can do it, as there is not much pedaling, but don’t forget it is downhill!

/ Hike Mount Batur. If you want to be active (2-4 hour hike) and don’t mind waking up early, do the sunrise hike at Mount Batur. The views are breathtaking. 

/ Uluwatu and Padang-Padang Beach. Uluwatu is famous for its surf. Jump in the big waves and join the many Australian surfers or watch from terraces while sipping a cocktail or enjoying the local beer, Bintang. Accessing Uluwatu can be frightening with its many steps and mysterious scenes, but worth a view and some photos. If you are looking for something more low-key, down the road is the more relaxing Padang-Padang Beach. 

/ Tannah Lot Temple. The Hindu temple is located in the water. Watch or receive a Hindu blessing or shop for a souvenir in the busy market. Sunday seems to be less crowded here.
 

 

Comments

  1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

Vero Beach to Asheville

The airline originated to enhance the flying experience. With a goal to make your time flying more personal and hassle free, Elite Airways is bringing Western North Carolina and Florida travelers good news. With a new nonstop flight between Vero Beach Regional Airport (VRB) in Florida to Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) in North Carolina, residents and visitors now have the ability to travel between the two destinations Thursdays and Sundays.

Elite airways prides itself on customer service. As a pet-friendly airline, they never charge change fees, and the first bag always flies free. Their goal is to provide a quality and memorable travel experience. The airline headquartered in Portland, Maine also offers service between the following cities:

Asheville, NC - Vero Beach, FL

Bimini, Bahamas - Melbourne, FL

Bimini, Bahamas - Newark, NJ

Halifax, Canada - Portland, ME

Melbourne, FL - Bimini, Bahamas

Melbourne, FL - Newark, NJ

Melbourne, FL - Portland, ME

Melbourne, FL - Sarasota/Bradenton, FL

Newark, NJ - Bimini, Bahamas

Newark, NJ - Melbourne, FL

Portland, ME - Halifax, Canada

Portland, ME - Melbourne, FL

Portland, ME - Sarasota/Bradenton, FL

Sarasota/Bradenton, FL - Melbourne, FL

Sarasota/Bradenton, FL - Portland, ME

Vero Beach, FL - Asheville, NC

Vero Beach, FL - Newark, NJ

President of Elite Airways John Pearsall stated, We look forward to providing the service in Asheville and sincerely thank airport and community leaders for their support.

Elite Airways operates CRJ 200s with 50 seats and CRJ 700s with 70 seats, which have an impeccable safety record. Early booking one-way flights start at $179 each way, but can go as high as $229. Round trip fares start at $358.

Nonstop jet service to Asheville is a unique addition at VRB, and one that has been highly sought after by passengers who would rather take a nonstop flight versus a ten hour drive. The airport is pleased to see new markets and travel opportunities open up to the area, and we thank Elite Airways for expanding its service at Vero Beach Regional Airport, said Airport Executive Director, Eric Menger.

Highlights of Vero Beach: The small coastal town is quite charming and offers a quaint main street with boutique shopping, the beach, ceviche at Gloria Estefans Costa dEste Beach Resort & Spa, and dinner at Ocean Grill.

Highlights of Asheville: The impromptu mountain city offers restaurants, craft breweries, and a variety of outdoor activities.

**Elite Airways also charters planes throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America.

Chasing a Four-Generation Dream of Traditional Malt Whiskey

In Scotland, whiskey is both an artform and a part of daily life. Distilleries can be found in every nook and cranny of the country. The tastes of this spirit vary with the style and distillation process, and favorite brands are unique to personal likes and dislikes. During a recent visit to the region of Speyside, Scotland, I fell in love with a traditional single malt whiskey. Benromachs story is as legendary as its whiskey. A four-generation family ambition to own a distillery came true in 1993, when the Urquhart family of Gordon & MacPhail purchased Benromach to create a true handcrafted single malt whiskey. The passion for this liquid runs deep in this family, dating back to 1898 when John Urquhart started working with Scottish distiller Gordon and MacPhail. In 1915, John was named a senior partner, and the pipeline dream of owning a family distillery was born. His son Michael, who joined him at Gordon & MacPhail in 1933, worked hard in perfecting the single malt essence of days past. Benromach opened its doors in 1898, however when the Urquhart family purchased the distillery in 1993, it had sat empty for ten years. It was a clean canvas to create the masterpiece that the heritage of Benromach represents. With the use of copper stills and local Romach Hills spring water, the family set out to do something unheard of today, making whiskey by hand. At Benromach, they believe in a manual distillery. Every process is done manually by feel, sound, taste, and sight. Nothing happens with the machinery if the distiller does not make it happen. The process is unique to the distillery and instills a sense of pride in the makers and the product. Benromach uses the finest malted barley grown in Scotland, along with a combination of brewers yeast and distillers yeast in their recipes. They took what is known as a classic Speyside whiskey recipe and made it their own. Its obvious while touring their facility and conversing over a tasting that whiskey is their breath of life. In speaking with Distillery Manager Keith Cruickshank, his eyes brightened and spirit poured out in his words. The product packaging and the earth floor that stored their hand-filled casks offered simple, classic elegance and a natural feel that tugged at my heart and taste buds. Fairly new in terms of Scottish whiskey distilleries, they are certainly making a name for themselves, and were the first to create an accredited organic whiskey. With barley purchased from a local farm and environmentally friendly casks, the soft bourbon-esque whiskey has been a hit. My favorite single malt at the tasting was Benromachs 15-year whiskey. Its maturity, smoky whisper finish, and deep color from the sherry cask offered a bit of dark fruit taste up front. Its sister, the 10-year, offered a stronger smoke in the nose and could be considered a good entry-level whiskey for those trying the Scottish heritage liquid for the first time. Traditional single malt whiskey is not a commonly produced product. Blends can mature faster, offering income to distillers two or three times faster than a single malt. The Urquharts stand by the integrity of the single malt, the process, and their commitment to their values. Whiskey is the Urquharts calling, their lifes work. Each new generation to join the family business are custodians of the DNA to their whiskey process.

Comments

  1. No comments. Be the first to comment.