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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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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.


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.