NONSTOP FUN

Things you should worry about when planning your next getaway: picking the perfect hotel, sussing out the hottest eatery, uncovering the hidden gem not listed on TripAdvisor. Things you shouldn’t have to worry about: missing your flight due to a too-tight connection, spending all day in an airport so you don’t miss that connection, losing your luggage halfway to your destination. Whether you are dreaming of a tropical getaway, a European adventure or an excursion right here in the good ol’ US of A, there are plenty of interesting and unique locales that you can get to in one flight. And that means more fun, more sun and less running through airports.

 

EUROPEAN ADVENTURES

DUBLIN, IRELAND
7 HOURS; MULTIPLE AIRLINES

WHY VISIT: Dublin possesses over a thousand years of history, yet the recent tech boom has ensured this city is decidedly twenty-first century. Explore the cobblestoned streets, the soaring towers of Trinity College, and the many charming squares of Ireland’s capital city.

WHERE TO STAY: The Merrion is a timeless favorite, and one of the best city hotels in Europe. Divided into two wings, the Georgian Main House is the place to stay. It is like stepping back in time, but everything is completely updated as you would expect of a five-star hotel.

WHERE TO EAT: Ireland has one of the hottest food scenes in Europe; seafood practically jumps into the chef’s pots from the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea. Dubbed the “Best Fish and Chips in Dublin,” Leo Burdock’s boasts a celeb visitor list that includes Mick Jagger, Bobby Flay and Snoop Dogg, all who wait in line with the regular folk for some fried goodness and malt vinegar.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH: Try the quintessential Irish game of hurling. A heady mix of field hockey, baseball and lacrosse, the “ball” in this sport reaches speeds of 100 mph. (They claim it can be enjoyed by any level of athlete—or even non-athlete.) Experience Gaelic Games is centrally located in Dublin and allows visitors to give the game a go. If an adrenaline rush isn’t for you, take a tour of the Guinness Storehouse. The black stuff is practically the national drink and the tour is followed by a free pint.


EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND
7 HOURS 20 MINUTES; UNITED AND LUFTHANSA

WHY VISIT: The Scottish government has declared 2015 “The Year of Food and Drink.” As if we needed more reasons to add this timeless and historic destination to our list. There’s more to Scotland than golf and bagpipes; explore a castle, lochs and cliffs all within the city limits.

WHERE TO STAY: No. 1 Princes Street —where the Old Town stops and the New Town begins—is Edinburgh’s most prestigious address. Here you will find Rocco Forte’s The Balmoral, the grand railway hotel with kilted doormen and the storied clock that defines the city’s skyline. Since the day the hotel opened in 1902, the clock has run three minutes fast to ensure travelers never miss their trains.

WHERE TO EAT: When asked for his favorite eatery, Sir Rocco Forte pointed us to The Scran & Scallie Public House. This rustic but charming gastropub has not one, but two Michelin-starred chefs in the kitchen. The menu focuses on farm-to-table with a fresh twist on Scottish classics and some forgotten traditional dishes such as Sheep’s Heid Scotch Broth. The beef tartare and bone marrow toast are a must-try to start. And of course all Scottish meals must end with a dram (drink).

OFF THE BEATEN PATH: A hike up Arthur’s Seat is not an unknown activity, but locals recommend taking the journey at dawn when you’ll have the striking view of Edinburgh laid out before you. This collection of hills is a relatively easy walk near Edinburgh Castle and described by Robert Louis Stevenson as “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design.”


LISBON, PORTUGAL
7 HOURS 40 MINUTES; UNITED, TAP PORTUGAL

WHY VISIT: Lacking a long list of tourist “must-sees,” Lisbon frees up visitors for unfettered hours of wandering the squares, or pracas, rummaging through the boutiques on the cobblestone streets and enjoying the sounds of fado, the centuries old folk music that drifts through the walls of Fado Houses.

WHERE TO STAY: Though the LX Boutique Hotel verges on being classified as “budget,” this smart little hotel punches above its weight class. Located just south of Bairro Alto, within walking distance of the Tagus River and other attractions, this artsy, chic hotel is worth the stay.

WHERE TO EAT: Hit the classic Restaurant Oliver for a fabulous meal. Many diners go for the menu de degustação of nine starters, or the smaller version of five. Or treat your inner hipster to the best wine bar in the city, Chafariz do Vinho, an eighteenth-century stone aqueduct that’s been transformed into one of Lisbon’s hottest wine bars. It prides itself on offering wines from small, unknown producers, changing the list often and charging rock-bottom prices. The accompanying tapas menu is fresh and inventive.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH: Take a ride on Tram 28. This vintage tram is a ride back in time over hills and medieval streets. These iconic “yellow boxes” have survived the rise of the automobile by being the best way to squeeze through the narrow streets and corners of the older districts. Hop on and off as you please—another will arrive in fifteen minutes.


COPENHAGEN, DENMARK
8 HOURS; SAS

WHY VISIT: For starters, it was long crowned the “World’s Happiest Country” (this year it dropped to number 3 behind Switzerland and Iceland), and Copenhagen is its crown jewel. Bike to Langelinje Pier where you can see the famous Little Mermaid sculpture or spend an evening in the most enchanting of amusement parks, the indefinable Tivoli Gardens. You’ll fall in love with this city, which manages to be timeless yet sleek and modern all at once.

WHERE TO STAY: The hotel d’Angleterre has stood watch over the most prestigious square in Copenhagen for more than 250 years. Having just completed an elegant renovation, the classic now features every modern amenity. With just ninety rooms and suites, bespoke service and the only pool in the city, this iconic property is the place to stay when visiting Copenhagen.

WHERE TO EAT: Noma has earned a reputation as one of the best restaurants in Copenhagen. This eatery raises mere cooking to the level of performance art, with dishes like fermented wild plums and wild beach roses or a dessert of bitters and walnut oil. It’s difficult to get a reservation at this unassuming little restaurant on the docks, but absolutely worth it. For a more experiential meal Torvehallerne at Israel Plads is a foodie’s dream come true. Visit the sixty-plus food vendors that inhabit two long halls sandwiching a cobblestone plaza. The shops offer every delicacy (be sure not to miss the award-winning duck confit sandwich).

OFF THE BEATEN PATH: Ferry to Hven (tiny Swedish island near Copenhagen—no passport needed). Get off the ferry, rent a bike and pedal all around this untouched gem for the day.


DUBLIN
Dublin has the youngest population in all of Europe. Nearly 50 percent of the population is under 25.

EDINBURGH
Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, was born in Edinburgh.

LISBON
According to 1811 records, Lisbon is the first city to have bought Guinness from the United Kingdom.

COPENHAGEN
just outside of the city center, there is a self-governing town called Christiania. visitors are welcome. cameras are not.


 

TROPICAL GETAWAYS

GRAND CAYMAN, CAYMAN ISLANDS
4 HOURS; JETBLUE OR CAYMAN AIRWAYS

WHY VISIT: Grand Cayman is more than a place for the wolves of Wall Street to stash money offshore. Hop a morning flight and you can be on the beach with a drink in your hand by lunchtime. Grand Cayman once had so many turtles that Christopher Columbus named the area Las Tortugas. Though the population has dwindled, you can still see green sea turtles in their natural habitat. The real draw is, of course, the beach. Famed Seven Mile Beach is actually a five-and-a-half-mile stretch of soft coral sand that was just named the Best Beach in the World by U.S. News & World Report.

WHERE TO STAY: There are plenty of budget options on the island, including Sunshine Suites, a charming and well-priced boutique hotel on the beach. However, there is no substitute for the luxe rooms and impeccable service at the Ritz Carlton. Who doesn’t want to enjoy a frozen drink while floating in a water hammock?

WHERE TO EAT: Inspired by the classic beach movies of the ’50s and ’60s, Duke’s, on the non-beach side of Seven Mile Beach, is a local favorite. Enjoy some of the island’s best smoky BBQ. Try the Cayman jerk chicken, which is rich and flavorful, or the short ribs braised in local beer. Everything here is made in-house. One of the best-kept secrets on the island is Sunshine Grill at the low-key Sunshine Suites. Next to the pool you’ll find cheerful painted furniture and a large Cuban kitchen staff turning out intensely flavorful dishes for rock-bottom prices.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH: Take a hike on the 200-year-old Mastic Trail that winds through a native mangrove swamp and a two-million-year-old woodland area. This trek is easy enough for beginners; all you need are a few hours and comfortable shoes. Some things are touristy for a reason. A trip to Grand Cayman should include a swim at Stingray City, where you can get up-close and personal with the magnificent creatures. Even children can join in on the sandbar where the water is only three feet deep and dozens of rays glide by.


ST. THOMAS, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
4 HOURS 10 MINUTES; MULTIPLE AIRLINES

WHY VISIT: Forgot to renew your passport? St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands is the perfect Caribbean destination for a last minute trip. With world-class sailing and easy access to St. John and the BVI’s (British Virgin Islands), this laid-back tropical destination is so popular most airlines offer a direct flight from the New York area.

WHERE TO STAY: The Ritz Carlton is the only luxury hotel on the island; but if you are looking for more space and access to hotel amenities, rent a Ritz club residence through VRBO. Catch the ferry to St. John and spend a day snorkeling with sea turtles or go upscale and charter the hotel’s fifty-three-foot catamaran Lady Lynsey.

WHERE TO EAT: Visit the Old Stone Farmhouse and dine in a 200-year-old restored stable with the original stone walls and hardwood floors. Originally built for a nearby Danish sugar plantation, this fine-dining restaurant is ingredient-driven and the menu changes seasonally. For a more relaxed meal, hit the Caribbean Fish Market. Just walking distance from the Ritz, this relaxed oceanfront eatery serves up fresh seafood along with bottomless mimosas and Bloody Mary shrimp cocktails. Guests describe it as a nice antidote to the nearby glitz.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH: Rent a boat for the day to visit the famous Soggy Dollar bar on nearby Jost Van Dyke Island. This iconic bar is the birthplace of the BVI’s signature cocktail, the Painkiller. There is no dock for boats so guests must swim in, thus arriving with pockets full of wet money. There is actually a clothesline behind the bar to hang the wet bills to dry.


ANTIGUA
4 HOURS; UNITED AND AMERICAN

WHY VISIT: If you’re looking for archetypal Caribbean beaches, Antigua is said to have 365 of them—one for every day of the year. This inviting little island is alternately sun dazed and sleepy or bustling with mega yachts. This is the spot where the über wealthy come to pretend that they’re not.

WHERE TO STAY: If you had a fabulous family friend who just happened to own a tropical mansion and would invite you down for lazy days of sunbathing, tennis and waterskiing, that friend would be Chelle Hulford at Curtain Bluff. When the government wouldn’t allow her and her late husband to build a private home on the point where the Atlantic and Caribbean meet, they built a small resort instead. Since 1962 it has operated as an extension of her home (until last year there weren’t even room keys). Here, you make no reservations for meals, for waterskiing or really anything. All food, drink and activities are included and every night Chelle greets each guest in the dining room like the renowned hostess that she is.

WHERE TO EAT: Catherine’s Café Plage on Pigeon Beach is the ultimate “in-the-know” lunch destination. Located on a sunny stretch of sand near Falmouth Harbour, it’s a quick cab ride from Curtain Bluff. Here the drink of the day is always rosé, the food is French and the crowd is fabulous. Hosts Claudine and Guillame add to the St.Tropez feeling of this open-air eatery.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH: Hop a ferry to Antigua’s sister island Barbuda. This sparsely populated island has few hotels and fewer people—it is almost untouched by tourism. It is well worth a stay at the beautiful Coco Point Lodge (which has its own chartered flight service).


GRAND CAYMAN
Famed seven mile beach is actualy 5.5 miles long.

ST. THOMAS
In the 1700s the island served as a refuge for pirates.

ANTIGUA
Carbon dating shows that antigua was inhabited as early as 3100 B.C.


 

STAYING STATESIDE

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
6 HOURS; MULTIPLE AIRLINES

WHY VISIT: Seattle has a secret. It gets less rainfall annually than Connecticut does. And from June until August you almost won’t find a cloud in the sky. A summer getaway to the Emerald City calls for a suitcase packed with sunscreen and a taste for the outdoors. Enjoy a canoe ride on Lake Union past the houseboats made famous by Sleepless in Seattle, walk along Alki Beach or enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Elliot Bay from a seaplane.

WHERE TO STAY: The only hotel with an outdoor pool and a view of the bay and Pike Place Market just also happens to be the best hotel in the city, the Four Seasons. Guests are just steps away from the oldest working farmer’s market (be sure to stop by Pike Place Fish Co. to watch the fishmongers famously toss their catch) and the impressive new Great Wheel (an oversized Ferris wheel ride much like the London Eye).

WHERE TO EAT: Shiros in Belltown has turned sushi into high art. According to Zagat’s they “set the bar that others aspire to.” Here, much of the fish is flown in fresh from Japan and chefs use the centuries-old tradition of Edomae, a preparation method that uses a variety of techniques (from marination to special cuts) to maximize flavor. Order from the creative menu or better yet, try Omakase (“Chef, I’ll leave it to you”) for a personalized sushi meal. You will not be disappointed. And more than likely, will never be able to eat sushi anywhere else again.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH: For the best view of the city, you’ll need to get out on the water. The ferries that glide past the waterfront hourly are ideal for city viewing and quick day trips to the nearby islands. Hop a boat and head to Bainbridge Island for lunch (no car needed). Wander around the picturesque town and then return at dusk when the city really sparkles.


CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
1 HR 45 MIN; JETBLUE OR DELTA

WHY VISIT: No other Southern city drips with the charm and history of Charleston. It holds the honor of being named the No. 1 City in the U.S. for four years running by Condé Nast Traveler. While the history here is steep (the Civil War started at nearby Fort Sumter), this coastal town is a heady mix of gracious hotels, tree-lined streets and top-shelf shopping.

WHERE TO STAY: Several drafts of the U.S. Constitution were penned at the John Rutledge House Inn. This former home of the chairman of the drafting committee now welcomes guests with some serious Southern charm. Perfectly situated in the heart of downtown Charleston, this nineteen-guest-room landmark has played host to George Washington, and offers breakfast in bed each morning and a genteel tea every afternoon.

WHERE TO EAT: Don’t be fooled into thinking Southern cuisine is all ribs and grits (not that those aren’t tasty). Charleston is a serious foodie haven; even the local cuisine known as “low-country” has gone decidedly upscale. You can’t leave the city until you’ve eaten at Husk. Here, James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock only cooks with ingredients found south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The story goes that he wouldn’t even allow olive oil in the kitchen until one of his staff procured some from Texas. What does a new take on classic southern food taste like? Think deviled eggs with pickled okra and trout roe, and new classics like South Carolina shrimp and chopped okra stew.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH: A trip to the antebellum South calls for a long afternoon at Boone Hall Plantation. Just minutes from Charleston, this voyage to the past starts with the meandering drive through stands of centuries-old oak trees dripping in Spanish moss. Tour the former home of Major Boone, which has been growing crops for the past 330 years.


BOZEMAN, MONTANA
4 HOURS 40 MINUTES; UNITED, DELTA (SUMMER ONLY)

WHY VISIT: Big Sky Resort, just outside of Bozeman, is the perfect base camp to explore nearby Yellowstone National Park, the wilderness that moved early explorers to declare it “the greatest marvel we have yet met with.” It’s the oldest national park and draws more than three million visitors a year who come for the wildlife—bear, bison, elk, bighorn sheep—and, of course, the natural geysers.Visiting Yellowstone can seem daunting. To stay inside the park, you need to plan at least a year in advance. The easy and last-minute option is to tuck into luxury mountainside accommodations and enjoy the park with day excursions.

WHERE TO STAY: Big Sky Resort offers a variety of options from luxury hotels to cozy condos to swank mountain homes. The Summit Hotel has played host to both President Obama and Vice President Biden. In addition to trekking through Yellowstone, guests can explore the mountain ranges, fish in the nearby Gallatin River or spend a day exploring by horseback.

WHERE TO EAT: Wild game has to be on the menu for any eatery to be considered a real Montana restaurant. But Chef Scott Mechura at Buck’s T-4 brings more to the table than just game; the menu offers hand-cut steaks and mega-sandwiches. And the wine list has been the recipient of Wine Spectator’s prestigious “Award of Excellence.”

OFF THE BEATEN PATH: Technically everything in Montana is off the beaten path. A trip to Yellowstone naturally includes a visit to Old Faithful. The west entrance of Yellowstone Park is just fifty miles from the resort, and another thirty miles in will get you up close to the iconic geyser that erupts every hour. Along the way there are lightly marked paths that will lead you to stunning vistas and dramatic waterfalls. With over 2 million acres to explore, there are hidden gems around every corner.


SEATTLE
Not only does seattle get less rain than connecticut, it gets less rain than houston. and its residents buy the most sunglasses per capita.

CHARLESTON
Charleston’s beaches make up nearly 90 miles of the atlantic coast.

BOZEMAN
Yellowstone national park has 290 waterfalls and 300 geysers.

 

 

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