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St. Eustatius

K.C. Nash Hunter Publishing ePub

Like Saba, Sint Eustatius (hereafter Statia) is a reminder of what the Caribbean was like before the islands were overrun with tourists and mega-resorts. The small island has a population of only 2,000 residents and a bounty of natural beauty on land and sea. But see it now. Statia reported a 25tel. jump in visitors in 2006 and its secrets are slowly being uncovered by modern day adventurers and day-trippers from St. Kitts and St. Martin.

The major topographic feature on Statia is The Quill, a 1,968-ft dormant volcano with an interior crater that forms a terrarium for the lush rainforest within. The islands volcanic history spawned fantastic beauty above and below sea level, where lava blocks and flows created interesting shapes for coral to glom onto. The dive environment today is rich in sea life studiously protected by the St. Eustatius National Park (STENAPA) system.

Another attraction of this dot in the Caribbean is its history as a lively trading port. It was also the first foreign entity to formally recognize the United States as a country during the Revolutionary War. Because there has not been rampant development, many of the historical buildings and artifacts have remained intact and, fortunately, the powers-that-be recognize the value in preserving and protecting the islands past. The buildings and artifacts provide a look at life in the Colonial period, and ongoing archeological digs are still uncovering the islands valued history.

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Medium 9781588436771

Small Hotels

Blair Howard Hunter Publishing ePub

 
$$$$ Coco Reef Bermuda (formerly Stonington Beach Hotel), PO Box HM 523, Hamilton HM CX, Bermuda, phone 441-236-5416, fax 441-236-9766, www.cocoreefbermuda.com, MAP, BP. Recently renovated, this small resort is perhaps one of Bermuda's best kept secrets. The hotel overlooks the SouthShore in Paget Parish and is only steps away from the world famous ElbowBeach. It has 64 comfortable rooms with half of them ocean front and the rest ocean view, a private beach, a sunken bar, library, freshwater pool and a sundeck.
 
Elements of Bermuda's history are found throughout the property, a fountain here, an exotic statue there, antique furniture accents throughout as well as some period paintings reflecting the days of Spanish colonial rule. Even the elegant, first-rate restaurant Juanito's' is named after Bermuda's discoverer, Juan de Bermudez. The menu is eclectic and there is a large selection of European and American wines.
 
Hamilton is just 10 minutes away by bus or taxi. There are two all-weather tennis courts, a golf course nearby, snorkeling from the hotel's beach and other sports can be arranged.
 
$$ Grape Bay Beach Hotel (formerly White Sands & Cottages), PO Box 174, Paget PG BX, Bermuda, phone 441-236-2023, fax 441-236-2486, www.grapebay.com, MAP, BP, EP. After extensive renovations, this small hotel has finally reopened. The main lobby and all rooms have received a nice facelift; the poolside snack bar was converted to a first class restaurant (Sapori) that serves three meals daily. While the hotel is set in landscaped gardens, the GrapeBayBeach is a short stroll away. There is a large freshwater pool and a sun terrace, all within easy reach of Hamilton and nearby golf courses.
 
$$$ Hamiltonian Hotel & Island Club (Hotel and Timesharing), PO Box HM 1738, Hamilton HM GX, Bermuda, phone 441-295-5608, fax 441-295-7481. Text is in the book already.
 
$$$$ Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort and Spa, 27 Harbour Road, Paget PG 02, Bermuda, phone 441-236-6060, fax 441-236-2296, www.newsteadbelmonthills.com. This resort is currently undergoing major renovations and it is due to re-open as Bermuda's newest boutique hotel in the fall of 2007.  Located right on the picturesque harbor of Hamilton, it will feature one and two bedroom suites, each equipped with kitchen, a large bathroom, a well appointed living and bedroom area, air conditioning, cable TV and wireless internet access. The facilities include two tennis courts, exercise room, 18-hole golf course, an infinity pool and a full service spa.
 
$$$$ Pompano Beach Club, 36 Pompano Beach Road, Southampton SB 03, Bermuda, phone 441-234-0222, 800-343-4155 (USA & Canada), fax 441-234-1694, www.pompanobeachclub.com, MAP, BP.
 
This resort is all around spectacular and it is the only American-owned one on the island. Dramatically situated on a cliff overlooking Bermuda's southwest coast, it offers breathtaking views and magnificent sunsets from every part of the property.
 
The resort has become something of a Mecca for golfers who enjoy the fact that the Robert Trent Jones designed Port Royal Golf Course (which has been ranked among the top public golf courses in the world) is right next door. Tee times at Port Royal can be pre-arranged in advance of your arrival and transportation will be provided. But this resort has much more to offer than golf. At low tide, one can walk out over 400 feet in knee deep to chest deep water from the large private beach, along the resorts spectacular sand bar. Snorkeling is fantastic and perfectly safe, even for young and inexperienced swimmers. Bride's magazine has called Pompano's waterfront the best underwater beach in the world.'
 
The resort's heated fresh-water pool is dramatically situated overlooking the spectacular waterfront. It's interesting to note that the stunning pool deck has been one of the Bermuda Department of Tourism's favorite spots to do photo shoots.
 
There are three restaurants on site, the more formal Cedar Room, the bistro-styleOcean Grill and the casual Coral Reef Caf. All feature gourmet cuisine in a stunning setting with breathtaking views that is imaginatively prepared by a team of international chefs. For those guests that opt for the Modified American Meal Plan, an exchange dining program is offered with two other beautiful Bermuda resorts, namely CambridgeBeaches and The Reefs.
 
Other amenities include water sports and water excursions, fishing, tennis, a fitness center, game room and a full service spa. The treatment rooms have dramatic floor to ceiling windows overlooking the resort's picturesque waterfront. Many different treatments are available and some are rather exotic such as the Moxy-Caviar Facial or the signature Cabernet Wine Bath & Massage for couples. Who could possibly resist that?
 
For travelers interested in scuba diving, Blue Water Divers, one of Bermuda's top scuba diving operation, is located a five minute drive from Pompano; free shuttle service is provided for guests.
 
$$$$ The Reefs, 56 South Road, Southampton SN 02, Bermuda, phone 441-238-0222, 800-742-2008 (USA & Canada), fax 441-238-8372, www.thereefs.com, MAP, BP. The text is in the book already. Insert at * on page 202:  Coconuts deserves a special mention. According to Frommers, there's no finer or more romantic spot in Bermuda for an alfresco sunset dinner than this beach terrace" and that is absolutely true, unless, of course, one compares it to a romantic dinner served right on the beach beneath the stars, complete with tiki torches and accompanied by the rhythm of the waves. This ultimate in romantic dining experience is also offered at The Reefs, but advance reservations are required.
 
$$ Surf Side Beach Club, 90 South Shore, Warwick WK BX, Bermuda, phone 441-236-7100, 800-553-9990 (Canada & USA), fax, 441-236-9765, www.surfsidebermuda.com, EP, BP, MAP. A collection of beautiful suites, cottages and apartments, some carved into the cliff, each with private balcony overlooking Bermuda's SouthShore. Facilities include fresh water swimming pool with large sun terrace, private beach, full service beauty salon. Palms Restaurant and Bar serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as afternoon tea. Convenient to public transportation and Hamilton.
 
 

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Medium 9781588436276

Palermo

Joanne Lane Hunter Publishing ePub

The capital of Sicily is immediately enticing despite its frenetic traffic, pollution and heady markets. It's an exciting, in-your-face and up-your-nose kind of city that's brash, fast and loveable - one of those places that is both loathed and loved in almost the same heartbeat. Jamie Oliver accurately described it as "modern-day anarchy" when he toured in 2005 writing and filming Jamie's Italy (BBC). There is crumbling architectural wealth, the diversity of multi-ethnic communities, an energetic population, tantalizing markets and wonderful coastlines, with the island of Ustica lying just off the coast. You can also retreat to the heights of Monte Pellegrino to the north or to the fine beach of Mondello.

However, don't be fooled by the romantic side of the island capital. The pleasant squares with kids playing soccer during school hours usually signal that it's a low-income area. In the city center there are crime problems and even acts of terrorism. A bomb exploded near the APT in 2005. It's not the safest place in the world.

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Medium 9781588438683

The White Mountains

Elizabeth Dugger Hunter Publishing ePub

With its snowy peak towering to 6,288 feet above sea level, Mt. Washington is the highest mountain in the Northeast. Craggy, unpredictable underfoot, and beset by dangerously shifting weather that includes the highest land winds measured worldwide, Mt. Washington is the symbol of high adventure for visitors to New Hampshire. Cars bearing the bumper sticker "This Car Climbed Mt. Washington" boast about having climbed the winding and precipitous auto road that has brought excursion travelers for more than a century to the windswept summit. Hikers who have climbed the mountain, foot by foot, don't wear the bumper sticker or any other outward notice, but inwardly they are often marked: the experience of walking above the treeline under fierce skies changes many perspectives.

Around this landmark mountain is the White Mountain National Forest, and around and within the forest are adventures that range from waterfall hikes to snowshoe rambles, from whitewater canoeing to wilderness birdwatching, from steep and twisting mountain-bike trails to scenic road tours. New Hampshire residents have welcomed guests since the first farmhouses opened the back bedrooms to travelers arriving on horseback. Accommodations include the grandeur of the Mt. Washington Hotel and Bretton Woods, the hundreds of cozy bed and breakfast inns, and the spartan hiking and hunting lodges tucked into the folds of the mountain range. Whether you're asking directions from your host, or questioning a national forest ranger about the avalanche danger or bears, or discovering treasures in an antique shop owned by a family that's held the same land since it was first settled, you're likely to find a warm welcome.

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Medium 9781588439284

Mazatlan

Vivien Lougheed Hunter Publishing ePub

The city is served by Aero California, AeroMexico, Alaska Airlines and Mexicana Airlines. The airport is 11 miles/18 km south of the city. A taxi (car) to the city center costs about $25. The more affordable taxis, called pulmonias (pneumonia!), cost about $5 and are actually made-over golf carts. There are also collectivos that leave from the front entrance to the terminal. These cost less $7.50 per person.

 

The bus station is three km/two miles north of the city along Highway 15. It is a large terminal with first- and second-class areas. There is a baggage storage desk, a couple of food stalls, some souvenir shops and lots of companies vying for your business.

The Baja Ferry Company, tel.669-622-3390, runs between Mazatlan and La Paz on the Baja California Peninsula, leaving Mazatlan every day at 3 pm. The terminal is at the harbor on Av Carnaval. The cost to bring a vehicle over is $250-$400, depending on size. Passengers willing to sit up all night in fairly comfortable seats pay $30; cabins with private bathrooms are available for about $60 per person. The crossing takes 12 to 18 hours.

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