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Taking in the Best That Nantucket Has to Offer!

October 30, 2014 by  

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When I lived in Boston, we would occasionally zip over to Nantucket although I can probably count only a half dozen or so times over the years we made the effort. We tended to go to Martha’s Vineyard more often, which we skipped this past summer during our August visit since Obama was there at the time and security was through the roof. I always thought of Nantucket is the “older island” when I was in my twenties since it seemed to appeal to the older, wealthier, more established New Englander, many of whom either had a second home there or semi or permanently retired to the island. For those of you not familiar with Nantucket, it’s an island roughly 30 miles south of Cape Cod. Together with the small islands of Tuckernuck and Muskeget, it constitutes the town of Nantucket, Massachusetts and spans across only around 105 miles, so you can easily get around the island in a day.  The feeling of the place is very intimate even in the bubbling summer months, where the population bursts to around 50,000, up from its year round population of only 11,000. We came in by fast ferry from Hyannis…

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Fun Things To Do on Halloween Night in the Big Apple

October 29, 2014 by  

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Hey New Yorkers or those who may be in the Big Apple on Halloween. Since it’s around the corner, here are some fun things to do in the city. halloween-1-parade_650

MANHATTAN

  • Take a ghost tour and learn about Manhattan’s most scandalous tales.  Led by the most passionate ghost gurus you’ll ever meet, these creepy tours meet at dusk and take you through the East Village’s dark, dark past.
  • Visit a haunted house.  With NYC’s surplus of talented actors and actresses who haven’t quite made their Broadway debut, a haunted house in the city promises to hold some of the very best (and creepiest!) talent!
  • Drink a pint at a NYC haunted pub.  There’s something enticing about knowing that the souls of NYC’s past are lurking right behind you as you sip your pumpkin ale, right?
  • Dress up your four legged friend for the cutest costume parade, ever!
  • Dress yourself up for the NYC Halloween Parade, a legendary event that’s the largest of its kind in the nation.  Oh heyyy, NYC!  Grand Marshall this year is Whoppi Goldberg, woo hoo!
  • Sleep No More.  Alright, I know I’m ALWAYS telling you guys about a “must do” that is simply THE BEST EVER, right?


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10 Haunted New York City Pubs To Visit On Halloween

October 29, 2014 by  

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Halloween is nearly here, the time for all things haunted and ghostly!  We’re delighted to welcome NYC’s resident ghost guru, Gordon Linzner, who shared a round-up of haunted pubs perfect for kicking back with a pumpkin ale this month (or anytime!), in the company of past New York souls.  Goosebumps, anyone? Ear Inn 326 Spring Street Built as a private home in 1817, became a saloon in 1890. Haunted in particular by Mickey, a sailor who was killed by a car just outside the bar. He likes to pinch the bottoms of female patrons and staff, drain cell phone batteries, and sometimes play with fire. Landmark Tavern 626 11th Avenue Opened in 1868, it is haunted by several ghosts, most notably a Confederate veteran who was stabbed in a fight and crawled upstairs to die in a bathtub. The tub remains in the upstairs bathroom. An Irish immigrant girl who died of cholera wanders the third floor. This was a favorite location of the actor George Raft, who some patrons have also claimed to see. The White Horse 567 Hudson Street A favorite tavern of the poet Dylan Thomas, who allegedly drank himself to…

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Artistic, Creative & Fun, Provincetown Is Always a Blast!

October 29, 2014 by  

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I loved Cape Cod’s Provincetown when I used to hang out there on summer weekends twenty years ago and I love it today. On a recent trip there over the summer, I discovered how little had changed over the years. Its history dates back to the Pilgrims’ First Landing in 1620 and the Mayflower Compact, no grave surprise give its strategic geographic location and the fact that it’s surrounded by water. As colorful and fun as ever, this heavily touristed town at the very tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, continues to actively throw parties, festivals and other cultural activities that draw the crowds. From the summer to the early fall, they have dozens of events, which range from a celebration of whales, a homemade boat race, WorldFest, the Sea Bike Trek and the Afterglow Alternative Performance Arts Festival to Grape Stomp, Tennessee Williams Festival, Castle Hill Annual Art Auction and the GLAD Summer party. LGBT: the town itself is known for its large gay and lesbian population and because of it, Provincetown continually attracts a fun crowd who seem to want to play hard. I love this about this Cape Cod…

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Discovering the Best of French Calvados in Normandy

October 28, 2014 by  

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If you haven’t been to Normandy in France, then perhaps you haven’t heard of or tasted Calvados, which is a specialty in the region. The taste reminds me of a cross between a brandy and a bourbon, except that it is made from apples. As they say at the Calvados Boulard distillery I visited this past fall, “from the apple to the cider, from the brandy to the Calvados, to the pleasure of tasting….” And…tasting we did. We started with a little Calvados education of course. Below is a sampling of what we tasted at their distillery: Boulard Calvados Pays d’Auge VSOP - toasted apple, but a little harsh on the palette, at least for me. It is the youngest one of their batch (4-8 years) and is often served with a soda water. The color is a gold amber and its nose is rich fruity nose with a light woody touch, toasted nut notes and hint of brioche. The taste is well balanced harmony between vanilla, wood and ripe apple compote purée due to…

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Le Chasse Maree, an Authentic Brittany Experience at Auray’s Port

October 28, 2014 by  

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Unlike further north on most menus in Normandy where calvados is the order of the day, the menu at Le Chasse Maree, a restaurant on the port in Brittany’s Auray is a sheer seafood delight. For drinks, the menu had the traditional Kir of course as you’ll find pretty much anywhere in France, but also rum orange drinks, mojitos, martinis, pina coladas, punch planners, whiskey and local ciders. Ciders are common throughout France and Brittany is no different. I am told the Brittans love their beer much more than their wine, which isn’t surprising given its Britagne influence. While seafood is the order of the day, they had a variety of meat dishes on the menu as well. Unlike most other restaurants I have tried in France (bear in mind that I haven’t visited the Riveria now in many years, so this comment excludes the south), the menu selection overall was generally much lighter, with seafood as it’s core.  Sure they had foie gras on the menu as well as duck, however appetizers included seared salmon and scallops for appetizers as well as 6, 9

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Liberians Response to Rise of Ebola

October 28, 2014 by  

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shutterstock_138477560 With global Ebola panic in full swing, it may surprise you to learn how calm many West Africans remain as the disease continues its deadly rampage in their communities. A recent New York Times piece by Liberian-American journalist, Helene Cooper details the admirable resilience of Liberians as they weather the storm of a ruthless illness. As a child, Cooper and her family left Liberia to escape the horrifying violence that plagued their homeland.  Having endured 14 years of civil war, Liberians consider themselves to be a nation of survivors and many of them have the harrowing stories to prove it. “They came by that resilience the hard way,” says Cooper. Her own sister was kidnapped and narrowly escaped death. Another hid in a remote area for two years after seeing a coworker brutally killed by rebels. On a recent visit to her home city of Monrovia, Cooper was surprised to see how calm Liberians are remaining even with the ever-present threat of disease. But given their painful history, Liberians see Ebola as another problem that must be dealt with. She explains: “[Many] Liberians are treating the disease with much the same resignation as…

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A Private Sacred Organ Concert at Auray’s Basilica Saint Anne

October 28, 2014 by  

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It’s early September and I’m in Auray in the northwest of France where I’m surrounded by some of the most hospitable hosts in France to-date. Cancel the Provence experience I had now twenty years ago, for it was far too long to remember it clearly. Truth be told, I instantly fell in love with the fun-filled and high spirited attitude of the Bretons the moment I set foot on Auray’s soil — they appear to be a little less serious than their Normandy neighbors to the east. Joie de vivre is the order of the day and I learn from Auray’s deputy mayor Regine Fily who was my dinner guest one evening, that Bretons are not shy, they love a good party and they’re keen on dancing, beer and a strong Calvados late at night. It’s ironic to find a community with such passion for living life in Brittany’s spiritual capital. My grandfather would have argued that the two go hand-in-hand however, for if you’re truly living a spiritual life, you’d be more likely to be joyous more often than not. Bretons…ahhh yes, my kind of people. After several fabulous spiritual tours of the…

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