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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



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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.

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