A Perfect 10

Greenwich residents share their inside tips on fabulous excursions—from spiritual journeys in foreign lands to luxurious days tucked away in paradise— and everything in between



Africa

Why You Should Go

“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.” It is hard to say how many safari fantasies have been born from Meryl Streep’s line in the iconic film Out of Africa.

“The Big Five” (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and Cape buffalo), not to mention cheetahs, hippos, gorillas and giraffes, are a powerful draw. Adventure seekers and nature lovers are packing their khakis and cameras—Destination Africa.

Where to Eat

You eat under the stars of the Masai Mara “big sky” in Kenya, with a view of the Serengeti Plain in Tanzania, or near the Okavango Delta.

What to See

There are as many types of safaris as there are native wildlife, from those looking for a rugged Bear Grylls-type experience to others who long to slumber in a luxury tent with high-thread-count sheets.

Chris Combe of Greenwich and his wife turned to Cazenove+Loyd to craft their perfect African safari. Susie Cazenove and Henrietta Loyd started working together thirty years ago in Africa, and Chris felt they could offer unparalleled expertise. Last summer the Combes set out on a trip that combined adventure and philanthropy.

In Kenya they visited a Masai village and saw the Big Five; in the Serengeti they saw wildebeest trekking across the river. In Western Kenya they visited the micro-financing farm One Acre Fund, designed to get families out of extreme poverty. And since Chris is on the board of Malaria No More, an organization responsible for saving nearly half a million lives a year, the family visited the only bed-net factory in Africa.

Chris says that twelve days is enough to see the wildlife and advises, “If someone goes to Nairobi, in addition to the Elephant Orphanage, giraffe sanctuary and the museum and home of Karen Blixen (Out of Africa author), go to the Nairobi Museum—[that showcases] the natural history and political history of Kenya.”


Squaw Valley, CA

Why You Should Go

Squaw Valley is more than just a ski resort in the Sierra Nevadas. It is hallowed skiing ground. Here, the California sun shines 300 days a year on terrain that legends and movies are made of. The Olympic torch from the 1960 winter games still flames at the entrance. If there’s one resort in America that most resembles Mirabel or other Alpine destinations, Squaw is it.

Tom Bagot of Old Greenwich grew up skiing Squaw in the ’70s. When asked for advice on the best runs to hit, he composed a Warren Miller-worthy script. A condensed ski itinerary that hasn’t changed since he was young enough to cornice jump without worrying about knee damage: “Start on Red Dog in the morning for the morning light. After ten or so, take four or five runs on KT-22. Two runs on the west side, two on the east, working your way down into Olympic Lady. If you’re talking noon, you’re talking Siberia and Headwall. Donate what’s left of your body to skiing Shirley Lake and Granite Chief in the afternoon. Then the mountain run back to 6,200.”

Olympian Jonny Moseley plays mountain host and can often be seen showing off his signature “dinner roll” move. In fact Johnny Moseley, Julia Mancuso, and the legendary Steve McKinney all have runs named after them.

Where to Eat

Squaw is more defined by the best après ski locales than gourmet restaurants. Ditch your boots and bibs, slip into something mountain chic and join the beautiful people at La Chamois for post-run refreshments. Regulars call it The Chammy.

Former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsome opened PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn. The art deco PlumpJack is a great place to stay or just enjoy fireside après-ski at the inn’s bar. The recently opened ski-through Starbucks serves up snacks along with your beloved double-shot macchiatos. Even if you’re not a coffee drinker, it’s a photo op not to be missed.

What to See

Perched at the crest of Squaw Valley’s upper mountain, the Olympic Ice Pavilion at High Camp offers unmatched panoramic views of the Squaw Valley Meadow, beautiful Lake Tahoe and the surrounding Sierra Nevada. Ride the aerial cable car to 8,200 feet above sea level where you’ll find not only the ice pavilion, but a huge heated outdoor lagoon and spa, the Olympic Museum and a few fab restaurants. The tubing park is just steps away.

Or just hang out at KT-22. On any given day, you’re likely to see someone do something totally crazy. The KT-22 chairlift could be a resort all its own.


China

Why You Should Go

In addition to being home to the largest population in the world at 1.3 billion, China is also one of the world’s oldest civilizations. While our museums take visitors back hundreds of years, China boasts 3,000 years of recorded history. Visit ancient marvels and modern skyscrapers in a country that could be the superpower of the late twenty-first century.

When Bill King of Old Greenwich decided to take his children Grace and Liam, they did their studying before they left. Bill explains, “Learning about the Chinese dynasties, nothing too deep—name of dynasty, years of reign and important facts—added so much to the kids’ experience, as they were able to recognize the history as we toured historic sites.” They wrapped up their trip in Shanghai, home of the Shanghai Museum. Bill planned to stay for an hour but the kids wanted to stay for three. “Our efforts to learn about Chinese history and touring around the country all came together for them in this incredible museum,” he says.

Where to Eat

Narrowing down where to eat in China is an impossible task, so instead we’ll go up. The Ritz-Carlton recently opened the highest hotel in the world in Hong Kong; we suggest you take a ride to the Ozone Bar loftily perched on the 118th floor for a cocktail and some tapas in the heavens.

What to See

Wonders from the ancient Forbidden City to the iconic Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium all clamor for a visitor’s attention. Those lacking unlimited time and budget need to whittle down their itinerary. James and Priscilla Morphy of Greenwich turned to Abercrombie & Kent for help in organizing their visit.

After Hong Kong, they visited Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai using the itinerary that A&K put together for them. “We saw The Great Wall, the panda bears at the Beijing Zoo, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven and the Terracotta warriors. A number of schoolchildren at the zoo wanted to be photographed with us (much more with my wife than me), so we had our eight seconds of fame,” says James.

 

Casa de Campo, D.R.

Why You Should Go

When you think of Casa de Campo, the Kardashians and Justin Bieber (both recent guests) might come to mind, but this swank Caribbean resort plays host to lots of Greenwich residents. Among them, Muffy Fox and her family have celebrated the holidays there for years. Don’t be fooled by the glitz and glamour, this tropical island has more to offer than just sunshine and umbrella drinks.

Where to Eat

This all-inclusive paradise comes at a steep price if you’re not rolling in celebrity dough. Muffy has some great advice on how to have your filet, and eat it too. She says her best insider tip is to rent one of the villas and hire a chef (not just a cook, which comes with most villas). The chef will prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner. And you can venture off the compound with him to Jumbo, the big grocery store in La Romana, or better yet, “have your chef take you to where the locals really shop for the freshest fish, fruit and vegetables. The prices at the restaurants go up between Christmas and New Year’s, so invite friends to your place for dinner.”

Who wants to stand in the frigid cold of Times Square to ring in the New Year when you can follow Muffy’s lead and “find your way to the marina and jump on a boat. There is always a huge flotilla of yachts rounded up at a place called ‘the swimming pool,’ where the water is warm and people swim from boat to boat for cocktails.”

What to See

Every villa comes with its own golf cart for guests to tool around in. This is a good thing as the resort spans 7,000 acres. In addition to world famous white-sand beaches, guests can take aim at the Sporting Clays Shooting Center, under expert guidance of course; set out on a trail ride from the clubby equestrian center; or even give donkey polo a go. Muffy warns that you’ll “understand completely where ‘stubborn as a mule’ comes from as you to and get your donkey to go in the direction you want.”    


Curtain Bluff, Antigua

Why You Should Go

Perched on a bluff over the sea, this award-winning resort exudes an old-school colonial aesthetic. Babe Paley posing in a caftan for Slim Aarons would not be out of character here. Greenwich families have been returning to Curtain Bluff for decades, drawn by the same familial service that earned the resort “Best Service in the Caribbean” from readers of Travel & Leisure magazine.

Where to Eat

Though you can head to nearby English Harbour for a bite, every time Ann Ogilvy leaves the resort she regrets it. The resort recently added beachside dining to their already fabulous gourmet offerings, including a 25,000-bottle wine cellar, arguably the largest in the Caribbean.

The real surprise might be that all of this luxury is inclusive. Ann says the resort operates more like a club than a hotel; Rob Sherman, the general manager, joins guests for dinner every night, just as the owners have since it opened. Ann and her husband, David, have returned with their family so often they’ve earned their ten-year plate (you need to return each year running to get your commemorative plate). Ann loves how stress-free the vacation is. When asked for her best secrets she says, “the beauty of Curtain Bluff is that there are no secrets.” Though they return year after year, they never feel the need to ask for a certain room. “They are all fabulous.” The intimate resort has forty-nine guest rooms and fourteen signature suites.

What to See

Doug Hurst of Greenwich grew up going to Curtain Bluff; his parents discovered it shortly after the club was created in the early 1960s. Doug now returns with his wife, Lisa, and their children. Nigel and the pro tennis staff who play with his children today are the same staff that played with him when he was a boy. With four ocean-view tennis courts and a calendar of professional tennis camps, the resort draws recreational and serious players alike.


Park City, UT

Why You Should Go

In the time it can take to schlepp to Vermont, powder hounds can hop a jet to Salt Lake and be traversing the “Greatest Snow on Earth” in Park City, Utah. The snow is so good they’ve trademarked the phrase.

Eric and Heather Wise of Greenwich loved skiing Park City so much they took the plunge and bought a home there. For the second year in a row, all three world-class ski resorts—Park City, Deer Valley and The Canyons—were voted in the top 10 Ski Resorts by SKI magazine. There’s a reason the United States Ski Team calls Park City home.

Where to Eat

With more than 100 restaurants and bars, choosing favorites is no easy task. Heather whittled it down to her top few. She recommends taking the sleigh ride up to the Viking Yurt on the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort. Where else can you enjoy a Nordic meal in a yurt? OK, maybe Norway.

Heather cautions that reservations for her favorite eatery, Fireside Dining at Deer Valley, are hard to come by, but worth it. This multicourse affair starts with raclette over a roaring fire and finishes with fondue over yet another fire.

For a girls’ weekend or drinks with friends she suggests the Sky Lodge rooftop bar. The outside deck has a hot tub and incredible views of Park City Mountain. Need we say more?

What to See

In January the historic town of Park City plays host to the world famous Sundance Film Festival. Skiers in boots and fleece jackets are replaced with starlets teetering in stiletto heels not designed for ice and snow. The town also welcomed the Olympics in 2002. Visitors can take a thrill ride in a Comet Bobsled at Utah Olympic Park. It is the only regulation-length bobsled ride for tourists in the United States. The mile-long track offers 80-mile-per-hour speeds and up to five G’s of terrifying force. 

 

Montreal, Canada

Why You Should Go

Born as Ville Marie in 1535, Montreal has come of age as the hippest metropolis north of the Canadian border. The fusion of historic charm, nouveau cuisine and a bustling arts scene make this French-speaking city worthy of a getaway. Greenwich resident and former Montrealite Miranda Plunkett has the inside scoop from where the chic shop to where the foodies dine.

For old-world glamour, Miranda points to Ogilvy’s department store and cautions not to miss the exquisite stationery store. For a taste of Paris, head to Plateau Mont Royal, stroll avenue Laurier, between Boulevard Saint-Laurent and Avenue de l’Epée, you’ll find French boutiques, furniture and accessories shops, and products from the ateliers of young Québécois designers.

Where to Eat

If Michelin gave stars in Canada, they would just string one above Vieux-Montreal, also known as Old Montreal. While foie gras might be illegal in California, it is practically worshipped here. Guests fast all day in preparation for a night at Martin Picard’s Au Pied de Cochon. Here they take poutine (fries with gravy) and up the heart-stopping ante by adding foie gras. When this famed eatery was left off a list of “Canada’s Best,” Anthony Bourdain almost lost his mind. Miranda hints to a rumor that there’s an abattoir in the basement; the name directly translated is pig’s foot after all.

For a night to remember, Miranda recommends Le Club Chasse Et Peche. This hidden gem is like a secret speakeasy of yesteryear, only instead of moonshine you’ll find lighter fare than the dark clubby atmosphere hints at. Le Club is almost hidden from sight on Rue St. Claude. Don’t bother looking for a sign, there isn’t one; you’ll know you’ve arrived by the antler and fish crest hanging outside the door.  

What to See

Churches are on every tourist list, but Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal is so magnificent, folklore says that the architect converted after he designed it. Make a secular stop in the evening for La Lumière Fut (“There is Light”), a sound-and-light show that depicts Montreal’s history and illuminates the church’s artwork.

Next door to Notre-Dame, the hotel Le-Saint Sulpice is well known for celebrity spotting, as well as being an elegant place to rest one’s head after a night of foie gras indulgence. The chic lobby lounge opens onto a courtyard garden that’s one of the rare green spots in Old Montreal’s stony landscape.


Watch Hill, RI

Why You Should Go

While the glitz of the Golden Age was centered in nearby Newport on Millionaires’ Row, the discreetly wealthy were taking up residence in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Once the playground of the likes of Henry Ford and Clark Gable, today it is best known as the backdrop for the Ocean House, which is one of only seventy-six hotels in the world to boast a Forbes Five Star rating.

Originally opened a few years after the Civil War in 1868, this iconic grand lady has been lovingly rebuilt by Greenwich’s own Chuck and Deborah Royce. The Royces were careful to retain the old-world glamour of the original hotel, salvaging over 5,000 artifacts such as the gilded birdcage elevators and original stone fireplace.

According to The New York Times, Watch Hill was historically home to “a select group of wealthy families” whose lives revolved around “golf and tennis at the Misquamicut Club, bathing and yachting at the Watch Hill Yacht Club, and tea and cocktails at Ocean House.”

Greenwich resident and interior designer Carmina Roth and her family have spent many summer holidays at Ocean House. Carmina recommends calling ahead to book your massage at the award-winning Oh Spa. Her favorite masseuse, Christian, is so popular that guests build their travel itineraries around his schedule.

Where to Eat

The resort’s own award-winning Seasons Restaurant sources all of its ingredients from a 150-mile radius. Carmina recommends the chef’s tasting menu, but warns you might want to skip lunch that day; it’s a truly Roman affair. Foodies should book a chef’s experience ahead of time and eat at the counter while chatting with the staff.

What to See

Don’t miss Dean’s Mean Martini Class. Unless you are invited by a club member or staying in a signature suite, taking a class is your entrée to the ultra exclusive members-only Club Room. Trust us on this one. This storied bartender gives the illusion he could have been Frank Sinatra’s mixologist, not surprisingly, he was named for Dean Martin. The newly reimagined Ocean House invites guests to try their hand at croquet on the meticulously manicured lawn (whites required) or take a picnic cruise to nearby Block Island on one of its fleet of yachts. Carmina’s children enjoy sand-filled days on the pristine private beach and trips into town for a whirl on The Flying Horse Carousel, the oldest continuously operated carousel in the United States.


India

Why You Should Go

Deeply traditional, intensely modern and home to more than a billion people, eighteen official languages, 6,000 daily newspapers and every religion known to mankind, not to mention the Taj Mahal, India has earned a rightful place on many bucket lists. Diane Terry of Private Journeys leads women-only adventures and has planned dozens of excursions for Greenwich women looking to experience the beauty and chaos of India.

Dee Hickey recently joined one of Diane’s adventures and when asked why someone should go, she gave the most stunning answer: “India is the spiritual soul to me and Africa is the spiritual mother earth. Everybody should try to get to both places to live a balanced and fulfilled life.”

Where to Eat

According to Dee, “You can eat in beautiful Maharajah’s Palaces; or you can eat at dusk by an ancient water well served by handsome turbanned Indian men; or you can wake up early, head out on an elephant ride and then return to a sumptuous English fry-up breakfast served on an elephant polo field.” She strongly cautions against eating from any street vendors.

What to See

“I loved the floating palace at Udaipur,” says Dee. “And the colors of the buildings in Jaipur, the spices sold on the street, the colors of the flowers, the rickshaws, the tuk-tuks, the processional wedding ceremonies...everywhere you look there is something marvelous to see.” She enjoyed watching “the wonderful Indian children going to school in their school uniforms and on their equivalent of a school bus, a covered wagon pulled by a bicycle.”

Diane recommends visiting Benares (Varanasi). This city on the bank of the Ganges is the holiest of the seven sacred cities. No trip to India would be complete without a visit to the Taj Mahal, but she suggests you “save your pennies and stay at the Oberoi Amarvilas, a luxury hotel with a view of the greatest monument-to-love ever built.” And don’t miss the small state of Sikkim, the views of Kanchenjunga (the world’s third highest mountain) will astound, and the ride up is a thrill in itself.


Washington, DC

Why You Should Go

In just four hours by train or car you can find yourself in our nation’s capital. You can leave your guide books at home because Greenwich’s own Congressman Jim Himes, now serving his third term, gives us his favorite haunts and hideouts inside the beltway.

Where to Eat

Though there are plenty of gourmet eateries in DC, Jim prefers to keep it low key. He recommends the casual Good Stuff Eatery just two blocks up from Pennsylvania Avenue. He promises that “you will never forget the toasted marshmallow milkshake.” Be sure to pair it with one of the Eatery’s amazing burgers. A few blocks away is District Taco, where Jim says “eight dollars and three minutes will give you three of the best and freshest tacos you’ve ever had.” For cocktails, head to POV bar at the W Hotel. “It has the best views in the city, and one of the few chances to look down on the Treasury and the White House.”

What to See

Jim’s Number One “do not miss” recommendation is the Lincoln Memorial at night. “The crowds are gone and it feels like a sacred temple to our finest president. Unforgettable,” he says.

We all know that there is a never-ending list of monuments and museums to visit. But how you see them can be half the fun. Forgo cabs and the Metro. “Rent a Capitol Bikeshare at any one of the stations and tool around the mall, over the bridge to Arlington Cemetery and along the Potomac. It doesn’t cost much, and DC has some of the best bike lanes around.”

A few can’t miss destinations include the International Spy Museum, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the Air and Space Museum. The Spy Museum is the only public museum solely dedicated to espionage. Kids (and grown-ups) can go undercover and complete missions. In addition to the current 007 exhibit, you can view authentic spy paraphernalia, from the lipstick pistol to the Enigma cipher machine. At the Bureau of Engraving, see millions of dollars printed in front of your eyes. And don’t miss the Enola Gay and other historic aircraft at the Air and Space Museum. The lines are shorter at the museum out by Dulles Airport, making it worth the drive.    

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • YMCA of Greenwich Harvest Art Week

    2014.10.18
     @ YMCA of Greenwich

    YMCA of Greenwich Harvest Art Week October 18 - 26, 2014 Join us for a week-long celebration of local art! Showcasing established and emerging...

  • Exhibit Ira BARKOFF

    2014.10.11
     @ Canfin Gallery

    “The beauty of the physical world becomes a metaphor for the capacity of the spirit to reveal itself". Ira Barkoff Evocation of...

  • Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Networking Event

    2014.10.23
     @ Delamar Hotel

    Greenwich Chamber of Commerce will hold its October After Six Networking event. All are invited to exchange business cards, enjoy appetizers and...

  • October After Six

    2014.10.23
     @ Delamar Hotel

    Join us for After Six Networking at the Delamar Hotel

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

    2014.10.23

    Athome Magazine celebrates Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams' fall collection with fabulous vignettes from some of your favorite A-List designers....

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • SPLURGE Matches Scarf Donations for Cancer Patients

    2014.10.01
     @ SPLURGE

    SPLURGE and the Cancer Institute at Greenwich Hospital are partnering to bring comfort and encouragement to cancer patients.  From October...

  • Flower Power

    2014.10.08
     @ SM Home Gallery

    SM Home Gallery show featuring two Greenwich based artists: Margaret Bragg and Penny Putnam. The art show runs thorough November 22nd....

  • Oktoberfest 2014 Greenwich United Way

    2014.10.24
     @ Loading Dock

    Greenwich United Way’s sixth annual “Oktoberfest” fundraiser is set for Friday, October 24 at Stamford’s Loading...

  • IMAGINE CANDY- SWEET TASTINGS!!!

    2014.10.24
     @ Imagine Candy

    Imagine Candy located in Scarsdale Village- Winner of 2014 Best West of Westchester by Westchester Magazine- holds a Belgian Chocolate and Candy...

  • The Food Network Open Casting Call for Home Cooks

    2014.10.25
     @ My Cooking Party

    FOOD NETWORK’S TOP CELEBRITY CHEFS ARE SCOURING THE NATION IN SEARCH OF AMAZING HOME COOKS! You’ve watched them on TV, bought their...

  • Greenwich Hospital Gala

    2014.10.25
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    It will be a Gala worthy of a doge when retiring Greenwich Hospital president and CEO, Frank A. Corvino, will be presented with the...

  • The Wilton Fall Antiques Market

    2014.10.26
     @ Wilton High School Field House

    Barnstar Productions and the Wilton Historical Society will present the Wilton Antiques Market. More than 80 exhibitors are expected to...

  • La Soirée d’ Automne at Bistro Versailles

    2014.10.27
     @ Bistro Versailles and Patisserie

    Wine dinners at Bistro Versailles are entertaining social events held on a regular basis. Socialize with friends and mingle with other attendees...

  • Explore the Bruce Museum

    2014.10.28
     @ Stamford JCC

    Join us at the Bruce Museum for a private tour of the inaugural showing in the U.S. of “Northern Baroque Splendor: The Hohenbuchau Collection...

  • Educational Seminar - Effective Resume Writing & Interviewing Skills

    2014.10.29
     @ Greenwich Library

    Are you sure you are putting your best foot forward in your job hunt?  What will make employers pick your resume and ask you for an interview?...

  • Flinn Gallery Art Opening

    2014.10.30
     @ Flinn Gallery 2nd floor

    FLINN GALLERY Opening Reception 'IN FOCUS' Thursday October 30, 6 - 8pm Seven artists share their visions - Carolyn Conrad,...


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