BY JANET STEINBERG
"Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer"
That is a question I am often asked by those who don’t. Let me tell you why I choose to travel. Travel is a magic carpet that will take you to far away places with strange sounding names…to places that you read about in story books and geography texts…to places you could only dream of when you were a child. A travel experience is one souvenir that you can bring home that will last a lifetime. It doesn’t rust. It doesn’t bust. And it never becomes obsolete. Hop on my magic carpet and allow me to share with you my favorite souvenirs from 2015.
CRUISE: Starting in Fort Lauderdale, Silversea’s Silver Shadow Atlantic Coastal Cruise sailed me, and 330 passengers from 7 countries, northward to Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; and Norfolk, Virginia. As a bonus, she also threw in the islands of Bermuda and the Bahamas…just to make sure my passport didn’t feel slighted. The cruise was 2454 nautical miles of pure pleasure. Ah yes, la vie est belle…life is beautiful…on a Silversea cruise.
LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL ON SILVERSEA’S SILVER SHADOW
ISLAND: Bermuda is not one island…but a chain of approximately 138 small picture-postcard islands, connected by causeways and bridges. Under a pink cloud of oleanders, the idyllic islands of Bermuda are framed by a shimmering turquoise ocean. Homes painted in pastel colors, and topped with white lime-washed roofs, line the flawless spun-sugar beaches of these breathtakingly beautiful islands.
|A SPUN-SUGAR BEACH IN BERMUDA|
HISTORIC CITY: Savannah, Georgia is Spanish moss dripping from live oaks…stately mansions exuding the charm of the 1800’s…historic Revolutionary and Civil war sites. Classic yet cool, historic yet hip, this “Hostess City of the South” magically melds the old with the new. Savannah immerses visitors in the time and customs of the Old South. Once dubbed “the pretty lady with a dirty face”, Savannah has surely learned what to do with her makeup brush. Little wonder that she is one of the South’s most treasured coastal cities.
|MOSS-LADEN LIVE OAKS IN SAVANNAH|
ARCHITECTURAL TREASURE: Charleston, South Carolina may well be America's most beautifully preserved architectural treasure. Charleston (or “Chucktown”, as some call it) is a city of infinite grace and dignity. There is a bewitching soft-edged beauty to this old city. It is a national treasure where the priceless heritage of the past is preserved for the future.
|CHARLESTON IS AN ARCHITECTURAL TREASURE|
NEW/OLD CITY: Norfolk, Virginia is a nifty and new 320-plus year old city. The lifeblood of Norfolk is the water surrounding it. Located in the heart of the mid-Atlantic, at the crossroads of Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, Norfolk is a bustling international seaport fronting one of the largest, naturally deep, ice-free harbors in the world.
|NORFOLK IS A BUSTLING INTERNATIONAL SEAPORT|
NON-ISLAND ISLAND: Although most people call Nassau an island, it is not an island at all. It is a city on the Bahamian island of New Providence. Yet no one calls the island New Providence. They mistakenly call the island Nassau, which is the island’s capital city. Confusing? You bet!
|PARLIAMENT SQUARE IN NASSAU|
LUXURY HOTEL: The One & Only Ocean Club is the jewel in the crown of Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Paradise Island nestles peacefully along the shore of a delicate white sand beach...a treasured sanctuary of privileged perfection. Under the deep blue of an endless Bahamian sky, wrapped in the turquoise waters of an exuberant sea, the Ocean Club was once the private estate of Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (a.k.a. A&P) heir Huntington Hartford II. Today, this alluring 105-room beachfront hideaway reflects the glamorous ambience and posh exclusivity of a grand colonial manor, welcoming generations of the world’s traveling elite.
|THE GLORIOUS ONE AND ONLY OCEAN CLUB ON PARADISE ISLAND|
SUPER VALUE HOTEL: Year after year, whenever I stay in Ft. Lauderdale, the Emabassy Suites on 17th Street is my hotel of choice. Although it may not be a 5-star luxury hotel like the above hotel, it continues to be one of Fort Lauderdale’s best values. This all-suite hotel, will save you $50-$70 per day compared to other hotels where you just have a single room instead of a suite (with full living room, dining table, wet bar, microwave, and refrigerator.) In addition, this spotlessly clean hotel offers daily complimentary cooked-to-order breakfasts and complimentary cocktails at the daily Manager’s Reception. (A young man named Don Friedman is the hotel’s most competent General Manager who keeps all of the above running smoothly.) Also complimentary, are a business center, a lush pool area with lounge chairs and towels, and a Fitness Center. And, as if that weren’t enough, Embassy Suites' great location is only four blocks to Port Everglades and within wallking distance of over 40 restaurants and shops.
MUSEUM: Nassau’s Junkanoo Museum pays tribute to the street parade that takes place in many towns across the Bahamas on every Boxing Day (December 26). Here you can see many of the costumes, learn of their history, and how they are made. The personable owner will even introduce you to Rake n’ Scrape, the eclectic music of the Bahamas. Percussion instruments, made from household items like a saw and washboard, combine with the beat of the drum to produce an authentic Bahamian sound.
ISLAND DINNER: The historic Waterlot Inn, gracefully nestled dockside on Jew's Bay in Bermuda, offers breathtaking sunsets and proudly boasts both AAA Four Diamond and Wine Spectator Awards. This classic restaurant, a part of the Fairmont Southampton Princess Hotel, serves the finest steaks and chops on the island.
|HISTORIC WATERLOT INN FOR CASUAL, BUT FINE, DINING|
ISLAND LUNCH: The chic Dune Restaurant, perched atop a white sand beach of the Ocean Club on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, was created by famed French interior designer Christian Liaigre. Our lunch was an innovative blend of French-Asian cuisine along with a drop-dead dramatic ocean view. Tuna Tartar Avocado/Radish Ginger Marinade…Bahamian Conch Salad…Lobster Daikon Roll/Rosemary Ginger Dip…Local Grouper/Ginger Chili Vinaigrette/Bok Choy…one of the most memorable lunches ever.
|TUNA TARTAR AVOCADO WITH RADISH GINGER MARINADE|
SCULPTURE: Bermudians have erected a bronze statue honoring their beloved folk hero Johnny Barnes, a living legend in Bermuda. Johnny is at the Crow Lane roundabout every weekday from 6 AM to 10 AM showering passerbys with waves, blown kisses, and a smile that could melt the heart of even the most jaded traveller. You’re sure to leave Bermuda with a bit of Johnny Barnes in your soul…smiling and greeting at all you meet. As Johnny says, “it’s the Bermuda way”!
|BERMUDA’S LEGENDARY JOHNNY BARNES|
JANET STEINBERG is the winner of 41 national Travel Writing Awards and is a Travel Consultant with THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY in Mariemont, Ohio.