2020 Holiday Travel
Welcome to September! It feels just like yesterday we were gearing up for summer. However, Labor Day is here to close off the summer season and we turn towards autumn.
Dating back to the late 1800’s in Key West, Key Lime Pie is a hallmark of island life and stands the test time. While you might not be in Florida, by the first bite the tropics will be right in your backyard.
Lime Filling Ingredients:
Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients:
For the full recipe and directions on how to make the pie, read on here.
No matter where in the world I travel to, I always have a go-to carry-on packing list. Whether I am taking a 2-hour domestic flight or a 12-hour transatlantic flight, packing all the essentials is necessary to keep traveling a breeze and put myself at ease.
With the travel rules and regulations constantly changing due to COVID-19, I have had to add a few more items to my packing list. Here is a guide on what I pack in my carry-on to help you on your next travel.
Face masks are the most important item to pack for your travel journey during the pandemic. While not all airports are mandating passengers to fly with a face mask, your final destination may require you to wear them as soon as you disembark. From cloth masks to plastic face shields, wearing a mask will be one of the most effective ways to keep yourself protected.
I recommend bringing a few extra masks. When you get to your destination, put the mask you wore in the airport into a Ziploc bag in order to wash it later, and put on a fresh one to ensure you aren’t exposing anyone around to possible germs
FOOD & WATER
Many airports across the country have been taking extra precautions in protecting their flyers. They have been reducing the number of stores and restaurants that are open throughout the terminals, leaving one main concession and newspaper kiosk open per terminal. Even more important is that the water fountains are roped off, resulting in longer lines at the concessions which limits the availability of food and beverages.
To avoid having to wait in a line just to get a nosh and a drink, plan in advance. Packing non-perishable food in a separate bag will let you bypass the line and improve your airport experience. Additionally, though the water fountains are closed, the water bottle refill station is still open. Bringing your own refillable water bottle will let you stay hydrated and contact-free.
Along with face masks, hand sanitizer with at least 62% alcohol is essential for my carry-on kit. Due to how necessary hand sanitizer has become, TSA has changed their restrictions on the container size of liquid hand sanitizer. TSA is allowing one container up to 12 ounces per passenger in carry-on bags. Keep the container in reach though. With the new size change from 3.4 ounces, the containers larger than the standard allowance will need to be screen separately. This will add some time to checkpoint screenings, so plan in advance.
Still also keep in mind that all other liquids, gels, and aerosols brought to the security checkpoint continue to be the standard limit of 3.4 ounces or 100 mL carried in one quart-sized bag.
While airlines have been upping their sanitation methods, just to take extra precaution, I highly recommend bringing wipes to clean your seat on the plane. TSA recently announced that pre-moistened wipes are allowed in carry-on bags without size restriction or packing requirements. No need to pack a travel sized container! If you’re like me, pack tube of Clorox Disinfecting wipes to clean all surfaces you might touch in the aircraft.
HEAD REST COVER
An item often overlooked, a head rest cover is quite important to make your sanitation travel kit complete. While you can sanitizer the seat with disinfecting wipe, there are many head rest that aren’t made of leather, making them harder to clean. In order to be less susceptible to germs from past flyers, pack either a pillow case or a small towel to cover the seat’s head rest. Just like the face mask recommendation, bring a Ziplock baggie to put the used head rest cover into once you disembark the plane.
(Above) A cheat sheet on the TSA’s packing regulations.
Hotel companies won’t be cutting any corners when it comes to hygiene, safety, and cleanliness. In the past two weeks, almost every major luxury hotel brand has announced new procedures and protocols for adhering to government-mandated social-distancing guidelines and keeping guest rooms and common spaces clean.
Waldorf Astoria and Conrad Hotels & Resorts have employed the use of electrostatic sprayers with disinfectant mists and other high-tech cleaning solutions.
As for Hilton, they have teamed up with Lysol and the Mayo Clinic on a program that features a ten-point deep-cleaning procedure for guest rooms. Once each individual room is cleaned, housekeepers will place seals on doors signifying the room has been disinfected.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts announced a partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine International to launch a new global health and safety program. Every Four Seasons property will have an on-site hygiene officer, public spaces will be cleaned hourly, restaurants will have digital menus, and employees will undergo new training.
Around the world, every property will have spaced-out tables at restaurants and staff training to ensure the cleanliness protocols are taken seriously.
“Perhaps Travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all people cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends”
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom! This is our world today – a virtual reality. Zoom workouts,
Zoom book clubs, Zoom Master Classes; where you can learn anything from perfecting your poker game to learning how to take portraits like Annie Leibovitz, perfecting your cooking skills with Wolfgang Puck.
Zoom happy hours, Zoom meetings, Zoom bridal showers, and weddings!
It is a virtual lifestyle nowadays. But I must say sometimes it seems surreal, these “get-togethers” are a way for us to stay connected.
One of my favorite virtual get-togethers lately has been virtual wine tastings! Three just this week…from Portugal to South Africa and Italy.
I for one, am ready for a real-life wine experience, aren’t you? As we are beginning to hit the road, by car, van, or RV, here are some wineries in the US you may be interested in visiting. Beginning with of course Napa Valley, there may some areas that will surprise you. Salut!
Today wine is produced in all 50 US states with vines planted in more than 30 states. You may not have to go far from home to spend some quality time with your favorite beverage, wine country spans from coast to coast.
Nature meets wine in the heart of New York’s scenic Finger Lakes wine country region. Finger Lakes comprise the largest wine-producing region and accounts for 85% of New York’s production.
The surrounding area has varying grape-growing conditions and is recognized as separate viticulture areas. Here, with a climate akin to Germany’s, Reisling and Cabernet Franc do well.
Most Finger Lakes wineries don’t require a tasting appointment. And for a nominal fee, you can taste an array of wines and purchase those that you like best to enjoy at home. After your wine tastings, not far from wine country is the Corning Museum of Glass, the world’s largest collection of glass art.
Throughout the Texas Hill Country, there are over 50 independent local wineries. While in the same region, each winery has its own personality, terroir, and style of winemaking.
One thing about Texas that is for certain is their warm southern hospitality. Whichever winery you decide to visit, it is guaranteed you will be taken care of.
For example, Becker Vineyards welcomes its guests to explore its hand-crafted array of wines at private tasting rooms. For over 25 years of viticulture and winemaking, Becker Vineyards practices a hands-on people-centered philosophy so the focus will always be on you and the wine.
Having a DIY wine tasting has honestly been one of the highlights over the past few months because it is just so much fun.
Either hosting one at home with your family or on Zoom with friends, DIY wine tastings are quite simple, and you don’t have to break the bank.
The key is in the variety of wines you chose. Depending on how big the wine tasting is going to be, you want to have a mix of wines that will contrast while complimenting each other.
Generally, tastings have two reds, two whites, and a fun varietal of sparkling or dessert wine. Total Wine or your local wine store is a great place to find what you are looking for. Or you may know that special sommelier who can offer their expertise.
Some tips on food pairing:
Don’t forget to the four S’s to guarantee a successful wine tasting: See, Swirl, Sniff, and Sip.
Wine is now produced in nearly every state in America as well as in many parts of Canada. There are plenty of good wine regions in other less famous parts of the country.
Domaine Drouhin in the Willamette Valley in Oregon and the Breaux Vineyards in Northern Virginia are just two of the many independently owned vineyards scattered around the U.S.
Piled high with cured meats, cheeses, crackers, fruit, nuts, and more, charcuterie boards are essential to any wine tasting.
Make it for two or for ten, a charcuterie board can be any size and have anything you want.
Curate your board to your taste and to complement the wines. These guidelines may help.
1. The Board – No need to buy any special board, any flat surface will work. Fun options are a wooden cutting board, slate board, or serving tray.
2. The Substance – Dried fruits, fresh fruit, breads, cheeses, meats, and olives. The bread or cracker is just as important as the cheese and meats themselves. Never have anything be the same color, each element should stand out.
3. Fill Up Space – Making the board look full is the key, less is more. Maximize all visible space to make the board seem more decadent, you’re indulging, aren’t you?!
4. Smart Pairings – Have a variety of flavors: sweet, savory, crunchy, earthy, buttery. Fresh cheeses for white wine and aged cheeses for reds
Personal Favorite: bouchon de chèvre (aged goat cheese) and candied pecans
From May to September, it’s grilling season.
Poolside with a refreshing drink in hand and an open flame cooking the season’s most vibrant produce and proteins – here are a few tips to make your grilling game even better.
1. Take the chill off. Let your proteins come to room temperature before you grill as cool food will likely burn faster before the inside is done.
Fall into the sunny West Coast lifestyle on your private beach or desert hideaway in the mountains or romantic wine tour of your choosing.
With villa locations in Lake Tahoe, Napa Valley, and Palm Springs. Here is a sample.
Surrounded by top-notch ski resorts and national forests and parks, Colorado is a nature-lovers paradise.
Imagine coming home from exhilarating day on the slopes to a roaring fireplace and Jacuzzi under the stars. Colorado’s luxury villas meet breathtaking scenery with heavenly indulgence the whole family will enjoy.
Cozy Colorado Villas:
The Sunshine State is home to the world’s most popular theme parks, finest golf courses, and tons of outdoor attractions.
At the United States’ #1 villa destination, experience all the fun Florida has to offer in their luxury villas. Florida’s villas also come with loads of in-villa amenities like private home theaters, themed children’s bedrooms, game rooms, private spas, and of course, a pool.
Refreshing Florida Villas:
Does this sound like your kind of vacation? I know….me too! Gather your friends and/or family and start exploring! Travel is much more fun when you travel with those you love and a Villa just might be the perfect solution for your next journey!
Now how exactly are you going to get to your villas? Well, private jet charters are here at your service. While you might not want to purchase a jet of your own, chartering a private jet for certain flights and trips, especially with a group of friends or family, is increasingly more possible than ever before. Flying via private jet offers several advantages over commercial flights, including a few that you might not have considered.
Unlike commercial flight, chartering a private jet allows you to set you to fly at your own schedule, at a time that suits you best. There are also hundreds of dedicated private jet terminals around the country to choose from to avoid the lengthy check-in process and security line at public airports.
Traveling on private jets you will be reassured by the industry’s highest safety standards catering to all your air travel needs.
In recent travel news, the U.S. passport services have announced citizens should expect “several months” of delays for renewing their passports.
The U.S. State Department is only focusing on those who need a passport for a life-or-death emergency for immediate international travel. For those who have already applied for a new passport or plan to, expect delays for potentially months.
Though processing might be delayed, many passport agencies, apart from Connecticut and New York, remain open and are accepting applications.
To continue reading more about travel for you and your loved ones, enjoy a complimentary special edition of our on-line version of May/June Virtuoso Life Magazine . You will find their top 50 reasons why we all should keep exploring. Read Virtuoso’s Magazine here.
Always remember to keep in the know about the latest facts on COVID-19:
Amid the uncertainty, this is our constant: we’re going to keep talking about travel because this too shall pass. The fact is that the travel and tourism industry supports one in ten jobs worldwide, generating 10.4 percent of the global GDP. And the power of travel to support local communities and to unite and forge connections across borders and cultures continues to inspire us even in unsettling times.
We look forward to your thoughts on our updates or if there is anything you are particularly interested in, let us know. We are here for you and look forward to the time when we can discover again our wonderful world.
Just can’t wait to get back on the road again!…..Just like in Willie Nelson’s song, I am ready to hit the road! How about you?
I remember as a child our yearly road trips. In our ’54 Ford convertible…what an experience. From Jersey to Florida; up to Canada, across Route 66 to the West Coast and of course Pacific Coast Highway. Great memories indeed.
Once we have the green light, why not hop in your car, SUV or perhaps RV and explore! Venture a Highway…..This week I thought I would share some armchair travel doing just that!
Experience the All-American dream of road tripping cross-country from the comfort of your home! Enjoy the spectacular views of Scenic Byway 12 in Utah or California’s Pacific Coast Highway.
It’s no secret that California’s famous Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) which began in the 1930’s, remains a marvel of human effort that hugs over 600 miles of California’s rugged and beautiful coastlines. It is one of the most astoundingly scenic roads in the world.
Among the 63 national parks in the United States, 13 are also World Heritage sites. A few—Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite—have the spectacular landscapes, unique biodiversity, and cultural significance to make them clear contenders for the double crown, while others are less obvious choices such as Everglades National Park.
What does it take to be a World Heritage site? According to UNESCO, there are 10 criteria for natural and cultural sites – a site must meet at least one of the criteria. Qualifications range from “a masterpiece of human creative genius” and “exceptional natural beauty”. Read on to discover the baker’s dozen of these elite parks and a few of the reasons they gained their UNESCO distinction on the National Parks Service website.
“Guard it well, for it is far more precious than money…once destroyed, nature’s beauty cannot be repurchased at any price.” – ANSEL ADAMS
From Pacific Coast Highway to the Southernmost Point in Key West and all roads in between, there are amazing sights to see. Not sure where to begin? Here is a guide that may be of assistance on which route(s) to include on your very next road trip. Road Trips USA does a great job of detailing the highlights of 11 different cross country routes that go any direction.
The best part of a driving journey is you can combine as many of these roads as you’d like if you think ahead and map it out.
The Overseas Highway, the southernmost leg of U.S. Highway 1 and sometimes called, “The Highway That Goes to Sea,” is a modern wonder. The road, that follows a trail originally blazed in 1912 by Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railroad, stretches from Miami to Key West
With May in full swing, it is starting to be perfect outdoor weather and that means…BBQ! This recipe teaches you how to make show stopping BBQ Baby Back Ribs.
However, if you don’t eat meat, these BBQ sides will equally satisfy your taste buds:
While working hard in the heat, any BBQ tender has to have something to drink. Strawberry Summer Sangria is here to the rescue!
Loaded with fresh strawberries, peaches, and citrus, this cocktail is easy, light, and refreshing.