Category Archives: Leisure

Travel Destinations: The Nikko Kanaya Hotel Is A “Glorious Relic From A Lost World” In Japan

From a Wall Street Journal online review:

Nikko Kanaya Hotel Japan HistoryFINICKY WESTERN EATERS would still be relieved to find filet mignon on the French menu of the hotel, now known as the Nikko Kanaya, a 90-minute drive from Tokyo. The dining room itself looks much as it did when it first opened, in 1893 and eagle-eyed diners might notice that the wooden pillars are decorated with flower carvings that echo those of the nearby Toshogu shrine. The views from the guest rooms are likewise unchanged—forest-covered mountains in the background, the same fastidiously manicured gardens in the foreground that the Einsteins strolled in 1922. Other parts of the hotel feel mildly haunted, like a Japanese version of “The Shining.” The wood-paneled lobby is well worn, stairwells creak noticeably and a shadowy cocktail bar features fading black-and-white photos of forgotten ’20s parties, with men in tuxedos and women in frocks smiling at the camera. 

THE 19TH-CENTURY FOREIGNERS who first ventured to the Japanese mountain town of Nikko came away enchanted by the scenery: ornate Shinto shrines set among rivers, forests and waterfalls. But those same visitors were less impressed with the lodging options. Many griped about the local inns, furnished with futon-beds set on the floor and paper walls that offered no privacy. And the food? Overly exotic at best. British traveler Isabella Bird offered a typical review: “The fishy and vegetable abominations known as ‘Japanese food’ can only be swallowed and digested by a few, and that after long practice.” In 1873, in an attempt to cater to Western sensibilities, Zenichiro Kanaya, a 21-year-old temple musician, opened rooms in his family house, serving guests simply-prepared poultry, rainbow trout and eggs.

To read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/this-japanese-hotel-is-a-glorious-relic-from-a-lost-world-11571314355

Top Camping Sites: Sandy Pines Campground In Kennebunkport, Maine Added “Unique Retreats”

From an Inhabitat.com online review:

Sandy Pines Campground Kennebunkport, Maine sitesTo kick off the 2019 season, Sandy Pines installed some new glamping units that offer the best in luxurious camping. For guests looking for a trip back in time, there is a decked-out Airstream or two beautiful Conestoga wagons. Additionally, there are a few tiny cabins on site, including a minimalist A-frame with a fully opened facade. For stargazers, the transparent Oasis Dome or the Glass House would make for great stays. Most of the sites are for two people, with the exception of the family cottages, which can accommodate two adults and two children.

Located in the idyllic coastal region of Kennebunkport, the campground is surrounded by pristine forest on one side and salt marsh on the other. Designed to be a relaxing retreat, the site offers a variety of interesting accommodations.

Each glamping unit is tucked into a site overlooking the marsh, just steps away from the beach. All of the lodgings come with bed linens, bath towels and beach towels as well as private seating areas and fire pits.

To read more: https://inhabitat.com/kennebunkport-campground-offers-tiny-cabins-airstreams-and-more/

Top-Rated Resorts: “Sunset At The Palms – Jamaica” Is Eco-Friendly, All-Inclusive (And Affordable)

From the Sunset at the Palms website:

Sunset at the Palms Jamaica photos…one of the top all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica as selected by Trip Advisors Peoples Choice for 2018 and 2019. 

Sunset at the Palms was the first hotel in the world to receive certification for Environmentally Sustainable Tourism by the U.K.’s Green Globe. The resort also won the prestigious Governor General’s Award for overall architectural design as was recognized by TripAdvisor.com as one the “Top Ten Most Romantic Resorts in the Caribbean” in the 2018 Traveler’s Choice hotel list. In 2015, received the Trip Advisor Hall of Fame Award for earning the Award of Excellence five years running.

Website: https://www.thepalmsjamaica.com/

Top Hotel Bars: “Everdene” At The Virgin Hotels San Francisco Has “Standout” Rooftop City Views

From a New York Times online article:

Everdene Bar San Francisco rooftop barA more recent addition to San Francisco’s rooftop bar scene is Everdene, a standout which opened this April atop the new Virgin Hotels San Francisco. Besides taking its name from the heroine of Thomas Hardy’s “Far from the Madding Crowd,” Everdene has a lush, garden party vibe that feels far removed from the crowds below in SoMa. The drinks program consists of brightly colored, flora-heavy sippers (tequila-based “Her Majesty’s Pleasure,” with cucumbers and sugar snap peas, is an early favorite), courtesy of the lead bartender Tommy Quimby, another Trick Dog alum. 

To read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/travel/san-francisco-hotel-bar-cocktails.html

Boomers Hobbies: 75-Year Old Dave Hinz Of Michigan Spent Ten Years Building His 1936 A.J. Speciale

From a Wall Street Journal article by A.J. Baime:

Dave Hinz 1936 A.J. Speciale Interior Photo by Erin Kirkland for the Wall Street JournalI built a frame out of ash wood. Then I hand-formed and welded body panels onto the frame. I re-engineered the brakes, the steering and the clutch system to fit properly, and I hand-formed the grille out of aluminum. The seats I built out of plywood, foam and vinyl that looks like leather. When I started, I had no idea how to do any of this.

Dave Hinz, 75, a retired former software company co-owner from Harbor Springs, Mich., on what he calls his homemade 1936 A.J. Speciale, as told to A.J. Baime.

After I retired in 2005, I found a photo of a beautiful Bugatti online. I made the mistake of telling my friends that I was going to build a car just like it. I had no experience in metal forming. I knew nothing about car mechanics. But I had made this statement, and I was the butt of so many jokes, I had to try.

To read more click on the following link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/its-not-an-alfa-romeo-or-a-jaguarits-a-tribute-to-both-11566914306

New Books On Hiking: “50 Hikes In Eastern Massachusetts” Lists Boston & Cape Trails

From a BarnesandNoble.com listing:

50 beautiful trails around Boston and the Cape

In this first-edition guide, Madeline Bilis shares her years of outdoors experience in the Boston area, providing 50 hikes for people of all skill and experience levels. While the Berkshires tend to get all recognition when it comes to hiking in Massachusetts, the eastern part of the state is packed with treasures for lovers of the outdoors.

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary 50 Hikes in Eastern Massachusetts book

From the rocky ledges of the Blue Hills Reservation to the sandy stretches of the Cape Cod National Seashore, incredible trails and vistas abound in this varied region. In addition to stunning natural views, you’ll delight in discovering dozens of small towns, cultural attractions, and historical sites during your adventures around Boston and the Cape.

Hikes include:

Noanet Woodlands

Myles Standish State Forest

Great Island Trail

Middlesex Fells Reservation

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/50-hikes-in-eastern-massachusetts-madeline-bilis/1130420101?ean=9781682683521#/

Top RV Campgrounds: Silver Falls State Park In Oregon Is “A Standout Scenic Treasure”

From the Oregon State Parks website:

Silver Falls State Park RV CampingPeople call it the “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Parks system, and once you visit, you know why. Silver Falls State Park is the kind of standout scenic treasure that puts Oregon firmly onto the national—and international—stage. Its beauty, boundless recreational opportunities and historic presence keep it there.

Waterfalls:  Where else can you walk behind a waterfall? Check out the famous South Falls and see what a 177-foot curtain of water looks like from behind. It’s part of the Trail of Ten Falls, a spectacular, nationally recognized hiking trail that weaves through a dense forested landscape. The trail passes a series of breathtaking waterfalls along a rocky canyon, and descends to a winding creek at the forest floor. This 7.2 mile loop is considered to be a moderate hike, with an overall elevation change of 800 feet.  Several connecting trails with separate access points make shorter routes. For everyone’s safety— absolutely no pets allowed on the Canyon Trail.  Pets on leash are allowed on all other trails.

Silver Falls State Park RV Camping map

Boots, bikes, paws, hooves: The park offers more than 35 miles of backcountry trails for mountain biking, hiking or horseback riding (see guided ride info below).  Bears and cougars live in the more remote park areas.

To read more click on the following link: https://oregonstateparks.reserveamerica.com/camping/silver-falls-state-park/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=OR&parkId=402235