Life & Leisure
HIKING IN IRELAND: WILDERNESS IRELAND
April 27, 2017
For those who like to navigate the great outdoors until it's time to hit a pub, the Wilderness Ireland wants to seduce you into adventurous vacations linked to guided tours.

Hiking the Ring of Kerry Mountains: Hikers summit some of Ireland’s highest peaks in Killarney National Park, Corrán Tuathail and Mount Brandon, and take lost pilgrimage paths along the sea cliff’s edge to white sandy beaches. Travelers uncover the legend of Cú Chulainn and the giant as they explore the stories of the Dingle Peninsula. Evenings are enjoyed in cozy inns with traditional live music and the finest local fare.

Hiking the Mountains of Connemara and Mayo: Following in the footsteps of Saint Patrick, hikers will conquer three of the highest mountains in the west of Ireland. Guests explore the spectacular mountain and bog wilderness of Connemara, home to Ireland’s only true fjord, Killary Harbour. Watching wild dolphins play in the nearby surf makes the Mayo Coastal Trek one of Ireland’s most memorable.
For more information about Wilderness Ireland, visit: WildernessIreland.com.

SHADY LADY TOURS
April 26, 2017
Although this might sound like a piece of immersive theater, it's a four day tour of Parisian arts, architecture and culture that celebrates the seductive women who rose to the top of French society, from royal mistresses like Madame de Pompadour and Madame du Barry to courtesans like the Lady of the Camellias. This was a time when women, in their own way, ruled the boudoirs and lawmakers. Guided by Professor Andrew Lear, world-renowned scholar of sexuality and art, Shady Ladies of Paris introduces tour-goers to the powerful women of France from the Renaissance through the Belle Epoque. This sweet little excursion takes place from Thursday July 20 to Monday July 24, the tour takes travelers to sights and museums across Paris and the Loire Valley to reveal the lives of the many shady ladies of Paris.

In case this isn't enough to convince you, know that the tour includes Musee D'Orsay, Maxim's Arts Noveau Museum and so much more related to the courtesans and their riches.

The Shady Ladies of Paris tour is available for $2,450. Price includes five nights accommodations (July 19-24, including one complimentary pre-tour night) at Hotel Edouard VII, all transportation inside France, the services of professional tour guides, all museum and attraction admission fees, all breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners. Reservations can be made now at www.shadyladiestours.com/shady-ladies-paris/. For more information, please visit www.shadyladiestours.com/paris-faqs/, email shadyladiestours@gmail.com, or call 646 201 4848.

KINGSMILL RESORT
April 26, 2017
It might be billed as a family adventure, but in truth, anyone would enjoy this dip into the historic center of Williamsburg, VIrginia. Here's what's being promoted for those closest and dearest to you: Kingsmill Resort, the only AAA Four Diamond Condominium Resort on the James River, is pushing forward its summer agenda of trailing behind lazy rivers, absorbing living history, feeling the breeze in watersports and outdoor soft adventure.

The Ultimate Family Fun package includes three nights accommodation in a in condo or guest room, breakfast each morning, and tickets to area attractions, including Water Country USA and Busch Gardens Williamsburg and one-day tickets to Colonial Williamsburg. Complimentary shuttle service to and from Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Colonial Williamsburg is provided by Kingsmill Resort. Complimentary use of bikes, fishing poles, kayaks and tennis court is also included in the Ultimate Family Fun package. With availability from May 26 until Sept. 4, families can also enjoy Kingsmill Resorts' amenities such as kids camp, lazy river, golf clinics, and indoor/outdoor pools.
For more information, visit www.kingsmill.com for specific details or call (800) 832-5665.

MADESCASSE CHOCOLATE
April 18, 2017
Panicking over holiday items that translate into fine gifts for family members or colleagues? Then consider gift baskdets from Madecasse chocolates located in Brooklyn, NY.
Founded by two young men who traveled through Africa as Peace Corps Volunteers, Brett Beach and Tim McCollum formed a company that sells excellent chocolate (Best in Show award/NYC Chocolate Show) while generating jobs for poverty-stricken areas. But none of this would matter is the produce were not clean, full-bodied and memorable.
For the holidays, there are a couple of baskets of particular interest to weekend bakers: Baking Set ($39.99) includes Madagascar Vanilla extracts (very fragrant), beans, powder and sugar The Baking Set can be combined with: 8 Chocolate Gift Basket ($49.99) consisting of 8 bars of dark chocolate of varying cacao percentages.
The Madagascar Collection ($69.99) mixes the vanilla and chocolate selections in one basket. In case you haven't heard, eating chocolate and pepper makes for a provocative combination and so, you can order Madagascar Peppercorns. Besides the ecologically and economically correct timbre of the company, they have found a simple, elegant way to transport the flavors of Africa around the world in eye soothing packaging.
Orders take 2-5 days with UPS. For more information go to: info@madecasse.com
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

KOHLER WATER SPA FIVE STAR AWARD
April 17, 2017
Here's an announcement from an innovative company that looks to hydro-therapy as a natural energizer.
"The American Club Resort in Kohler, Wisconsin, will usher in 2012 receiving a most distinguished gift – five sparkling stars – as Kohler Co. announced that both The American Club hotel and Kohler Waters Spa were awarded the prestigious 2012 Forbes Five-Star Award in its 54th annual listing of Five-Star and Four-Star hospitality establishments worldwide.

They are also the first and only Forbes Five-Star hospitality establishments in Wisconsin to earn the organization’s highest rating that recognizes superior service and guest satisfaction. The American Club hotel is one of only 57 hotels worldwide with this distinction, while the Kohler Waters Spa is one of only 30 spas worldwide. The resort’s fine dining offering, The Immigrant Restaurant, was honored with the 2012 Forbes Four-Star Award – an impressive honor it has now received three straight years.

The Kohler Waters Spa opened at the resort in 2000 and quickly secured itself as a leader and innovator in the spa industry. Specializing in restoring and replenishing the body, Kohler Waters Spa focuses on treatments that emphasize the therapeutic benefits of water. Based in Kohler, Wisconsin, the spa has two additional locations in Burr Ridge, Illinois, and St Andrews, Scotland “The Kohler Waters Spa team is extremely proud of this recognition. We know it takes the entire team to maintain a consistent high level of service for every one of our guests, said Jean Kolb, Director of Wellness for Kohler Co. “After providing outrageous Five-Star service for nearly 11 years, we are honored to know that our flagship property has reached a new pinnacle of excellence.”

For a detailed explanation of how Forbes Travel Guide compiles its Star ratings, visit www.startle.com, the new interactive website of Forbes Travel Guide. Follow Forbes Travel Guide on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ForbesInspector.

Built in 1918 by Walter J. Kohler, The American Club was commissioned to house immigrant workers – “single men of modest means” – who came to work at Kohler Co. Here the men, most of whom spoke very little English, could live in clean and comfortable surroundings while beginning life in their new country and becoming American citizens. Hundreds of workers called The American Club home over several decades. In 1981 it was refurbished and reopened as a luxurious hotel in the heart of the Midwest. Today, the building is recognized by the Historic Hotels of America and pays homage to its historic beginnings with photos and memorabilia throughout the resort.

Learn more about The American Club Resort at www.AmericanClub.com or 800-344-2838. Stay up to date on resort happenings on facebook, facebook.com/americanclub and on twitter, www.twitter.com/theamericanclub."
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

IL PALLADIO HOTEL & SPA
April 10, 2017
For those who tramping around Vencie for the annual art shows and glamour events, here's a tip: rejuvenate and reenergize your body and mind with a spa treatment at THe BAUERs Il Palladio Hotel & Spa.

Il Palladio just reopened for the season with a new and exciting addition to their facilities: The opening of the first Hair Spa in Venice, which offers a variety of enriching, healing and revitalizing treatments for both scalp and hair. This new dream therapy includes a scalp mask followed by a Feng Shui massage, designed to achieve total harmony between body and soul.

Many of the Spa’s luxurious rooms have private working fireplaces, Jacuzzis and steam rooms, in which guests can pick among treatments that offer champagne, fresh fruit and live musical accompaniment. Word has it, the spa is painted in soft and soothing pastel tones, and the architecture retains many of its original and historic features, in keeping with the rest of the hotel’s style.

Il Palladio Hotel & Spa inhabits a palazzo designed by world-renowned Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio in the 16th Century, and is today one of the stunning properties of The BAUERs group. Located on Giudecca Island, across the Grand Canal from St. Mark’s Square, Il Palladio boasts private gardens in full bloom each spring, contributing to the calming scenery that makes this estate an ideal retreat away from the bustle of Venice and the crowds of the Biennale.

Not a bad way to spend a few hours--or a week. SPECIAL SPA EXPERIENCES Upon request, Il Palladio offers treatments in their gorgeous SPA’s relaxation room that looks out on the breathtaking view of Piazza S. Marco. It is also possible to receive a private treatment in the beautiful garden gazebo, surrounded by lush vegetation and singing birds.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA
January 31, 2017
Perched on a bluff, the Culinary Institute of America majestically overlooks the Hudson River. Once a Jesuit Monastery, the gracious campus in Hyde Park, NY houses hundreds of students, faculty members and associated professionals.

A nonprofit organization dedicated to the educational advancement of culinary skills, rooms are packed with animated students, swinging from classes on cooking for hundreds to the sensual act of baking and making chocolate (the only air-conditioned kitchen). My favorite image was a bank of brightly colored glass rolling pins suspended on a pastry kitchen wall. Donated by Julia Child, the hollow insides are filled with ice to keep the pastry dough cool. Really, how cool!

Physically demanding, students work against the clock. Their intense focus is evident when walking through the halls, and peering through the enormous windows into the various kitchens. Cooking is followed by cleaning and serving and on occasion, eating the spoils. At once an exhausting and exhilarating routine, the public tour delivers a behind-the-scenes look at the essentials of being a food professional.

Students can acquire a 21-month Associate Degree and then move on to a three-year Bachelor’s degree. The food industry offers many opportunities beyond the act of cooking, and those related fields are addressed at CIA—from nutrition to restaurant management.

If you go to CIA, I highly recommend you take the tour that costs $6 per person. Reservations are a must and the information is clearly stated on-line.

After the informative tour, many take the opportunity for a relaxing lunch, dinner or quick bite at the tasty Apple Pie Bakery run by former French Laundry chef Francisco Migoya. This doesn’t require reservations, but you will stand in line. However, odds are you will eagerly waiting your turn with the students, and it’s a treat overhearing their conversations about a dropped egg or stupendous soufflé. By the time we got to the bakery late in the afternoon, the only bread left was a whole grain loaf. The bread’s rich texture and full flavor lasted for a week--with a little freezer action. Later in the afternoon, we had lunch in the Caterina de’ Medici room. Well-spaced tables ring a series of large, arched windows. Students overseen by supervisors are in charge. Our server was delightful. Her clear description of the food and personal assessments of the wine options guided our choices. Well-timed service was prompt, but not rushed. Although some dishes like the thinly sliced lamb and sautéed zucchini and grilled octopus with garbanzos fared better than others, all the ingredients were fresh and the menu was well executed.

If your visit excites dreams of culinary mastery, review some of the fascinating options available for public consumption.

Food enthusiasts program break down into two modes. You can opt for Culinary Boot Camp that runs anywhere from one day to five days in length. Professionals and amateurs join to sharpen their skills or tackle a favored aspect of food whether it’s baking, grilling and barbecuing, dry heat or moist heat cooking and so much more.

For the budding kitchen cook, these immersion classes make a terrific gift (866-242-7787). Consider a “no expiration date” gift certificate to a $250 weekend class. If you opt for the $325 Meat course, participants take home all the cooked and remaining uncooked meat. Twenty-five different classes are repeated throughout the year at all three campuses.

Although CIA does not provide sleeping accommodations, delightful Bed and Breakfast options as well as old inns and small hotels blanket the area.

With the brilliant fall foliage approaching and holidays just around the corner, a trip to Hyde Park will lift the spirits and inspire culinary visions.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

NORTH CAROLINA BECKONS
January 30, 2017
North Carolina came to town to trumpet a summer of hospitality. Known for its blue-ribbon barbecue and dramatic coastline, North Carolina is stretching beyond normal fare and dishing up some enticing cuisine, local wine, spas, mountain reveries and colonial escapes.

Winston-Salem straddles the past and the future. Designated a National Historic Landmark, old Salem's Moravian community breaks out the bands during Easter pitching an all night musical celebrating the resurrection. Happily for all, festivities are fueled with the local wines, like the one I tasted -- Cabernet Francs (warm, well balanced red) to Viogners. Where tobacco leaves once grew, grapevines spread across the fertile soil on the Yadkin Valley. Yes, wine is the up and coming commodity from North Carolina.

From the looks of it, local growers and restaurants are creating memorable signature dishes as well like smoked beef belly, foie gras, sweet potatoes, onion marmalade, and pine glaze by Chef Scott Crawford, Herons Restaurant. Despite initial assumption, the combination produced a subtle and rich taste sensation. which I tasted and was surprised by the subtlety of favors -- by Chef Scott. Some other products on display included award-winning cow's milk cheese from Chapel Hill Creamery called the “Calveander” -- which I did not taste, and an assortment of sensational hearth breads that I munched on baked by the most enthusiastic Lionel Vatinet of La Farm Bakery. His mantra is back to traditional methods using unprocessed grains and homegrown starter. For those bread enthusiasts, his bread book is coming out in November “Passion for Bread.”

After all that eating and drinking, head to Grandfather Mountain for some fine cool breezes, a family style vacation and some winning events like the Highland games—the second weekend in July—when the gentlefolk from Scotland descend decked in kilts with all manner of folk music, dance and ritual events.

If you are looking for a little less drama and a lot of restorative relaxation, consider the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Carey, North Carolina. Lathered with awards, the Unstead features a glass sculpture by the famed artist Dale Chihuly as well as pottery by local potters with national reputations. In the midst of a transformation, the Unstead will unveil its renovated hotel and spa in the summer and it will surely tantalize all the senses.

Known as an area hospitable to artists of all kinds, I was the lucky recipient of a raspberry pink iPhone wallet by Holly Aiken. A slip pocket on the outside of the wallet serves as a perfect spot for my MTA Subway card.

North Carolina holds many pleasures for all. For more information about travel to North Carolina, visit: http://www.visitnc.com/
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

THE AFRICA ADVENTURE CO. DAVID LIVINGSTON STYLE
June 28, 2016
The Africa Adventure Company announces a new tour to honor the bicentennial year of famed Victorian explorer, David Livingstone’s, birth. Modern-day adventurers follow in the footsteps of Europe’s best-known explorer of 19th century Africa. Many of Livingstone’s tours originated in Tanzania where one of his longest journeys occurred, a lesser known fact as he’s most often associated with Victoria Falls. The tour grants guests exposure to little-known, culturally rich regions of Tanzania as few have experienced since the days of Livingstone.

Departing from Tanzania’s ancient city, Dar es Salaam, the tour begins with a stay on mystical Zanzibar, an unspoiled island beloved by Livingstone and his contemporaries. Following the trail of sultans, slaves, and pioneers on tours through historic Stone Town’s narrow streets, visitors discover the secrets of Livingstone House, once a resting place for the world’s most famous explorers. From cloves to coffee, modern adventurers enjoy historic Tanzania by taste, sampling a culinary culture untested by time.

Following explorations of Zanzibar’s seafaring past and vibrant culinary roots, the journey continues in the Selous, Africa’s second largest game reserve. The Selous is home to over one million large and rare animals including elephant, black rhino, giraffe, African wild dog, and the colobus monkey of the Rufiji River. A stay at luxurious Sand Rivers Selous and a fly camping excursion provide a sense of the solitude Livingstone felt in the uninhabited Tanzanian wild of antiquity.

After time in the bush, visitors arrive in the bustling port city of Kigoma for the famous site of Livingstone’s accidental meeting with Henry Stanley in nearby Ujiji town. Further excursions in East Africa include chimp trekking in Gombe or visiting the majestic Victoria Falls as named by Livingstone.

With a strong foundation rooted in Africa, the Africa Adventure Company’s reputation spans more than 26 years. Dedicated to crafting culturally sensitive trips of a lifetime, the Africa Adventure Company is committed to maintaining expertise of an ever-evolving continent.
www.africaadventure.com

OYSTER BAY HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND TIFFANY
May 20, 2016
LOUIS COMFORT TIFFANY COMES TO LIFE ON MAY 29
For those who didn't know, Louis Comfort Tiffany, the man who was featured in an exhibtion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and who is known for his extraordinary stained glass window designs will be the subject of a talk at the Oyster Bay Historical Society. The Long Island historian and preservation advocate, Monica Randall, will offer and took and tour of the Tiffany's estate and gardens at Laurelton Hal (the last home designed by Tiffany).

People will gain access to rarely-seen images from the Tiffany family scrapbooks as well learn more about this artistic titan. After the presentation, guests are invited to enjoy tea sandwiches, scones and champagne cocktails in the colonial garden.
Admission is $10. Oyster Bay Historical Society.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis
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HEALTH BENEFITS OF BLACK RICE AND BRAN
May 16, 2016
ANTIOXIDANT HEALTH BENEFITS BLACK RICE AND BRAN
Black Rice May Be Cheap Source of Antioxidants Blueberries and blackberries have high levels of antioxidants, which help the body deal with potentially dangerous cellular oxidation, but scientists say they've also found a cheaper source of antioxidants for consumers: black rice.
"Just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants," study co-author Zhimin Xu said in a news release from the American Chemical Society. "If berries are used to boost health, why not black rice and black rice bran?" suggested Xu, associate professor at the food science department at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center in Baton Rouge. "Black rice bran would be a unique and economical material to increase consumption of health-promoting antioxidants."
The study authors noted that black rice bran could be used to boost the health benefits of breakfast cereals, cakes, cookies and other foods. It could also be added to beverages, and may serve as food coloring, allowing food manufacturers to avoid artificial colorants, the team said in the news release. The scientists explained that pigments in black rice bran extracts range from pink to black.
In the study, the researchers tested black rice bran grown in the Southern United States. Although brown rice is the most common rice variety produced worldwide, Xu said the study results suggest that black rice bran may be healthier than brown rice bran in terms of antioxidants. In Asia, black rice is most commonly used for food decoration, such as in noodles or sushi. One variety of black rice is known as "Forbidden Rice" because in Ancient China, it was only permitted to be eaten by nobles and no one else, according to background information in the news release.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

ABORIGINAL WINERIES
May 12, 2016
Did you know that North America’s first Aboriginal winery is set in British Columbia? Sonoran Desert extends as far north as Osoyoos in the South Okanagan, where the sagebrush and prickly pear cactus-covered hills suggest Arizona or California, and animal species inhabitating the desert include rattlesnakes and big horn sheep.
The the Nk’Mip (pronounced ‘inkameep’) First Nation established North America’s first Aboriginal winery, Nk’Mip Cellars, in 2002. The wines (award-winning Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Merlot) are produced from a spectacular 300-acre vineyard on a bench above Osoyoos Lake by Winemaker Randy Picton.

Building on the success of Nk’Mip Cellars and the Desert Cultural Centre, the Osoyoos Indian Band further developed Nk’Mip Resort which saw the addition of a stunning golf course, Sonora Dunes; a year-round resort hotel, Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa; and, most recently, the Nk’Mip Conference Centre. Nk’Mip Resort is a beautiful place to stay and play while learning about one of North America’s most fascinating regions culturally, geographically and oeneologically.
BRITISH COLUMBIA
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

PROSECCO ORO PURO
May 16, 2013
If you ever had any questions about Prosecco…. Valdo president Pierluigi Bolla would be the man with the answers. Over the past decade he spearheaded and helped build the brand and upgrade public appreciation of sparkling wine from Italy.

A glass of bubbly usually appears at every reception. People hold their long, delicate stemware and sip on the elegant sparkling wine. Question is – what is everyone drinking? These days, the festive drink- of-choice is typically the Italian Prosecco. Once while in Venice, I asked for a waiter for a glass of water. He smiled and said, “I will bring you a glass of Venetian water” and promptly returned with a tall, thin glass of Prosecco. Yes, the Italians love their sparkling wine, but so do Americans.

One important aspect of Prosecco is its versatility. According to Bolla and his astute winemaker Gino Cini, Prosecco is no longer relegated to opera and theater intermissions because it pairs wonderfully with appetizers, entrees and desserts. A good overall choice is Oro Puro “Pure Gold”-- to quote Pasternak Distributors “Oro Puro, DOCG or translated "Pure Gold" is the pure expression of the unique DOCG terroir in Valdobiaddene.”
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

WHOLE LIVIN' LAWN PARTY/Looking Glass B&B
July 31, 2012
If you are lucky enough to live in Rhinebeck, NY or just passing through, here's one of the those throwback ommunity gatherings sure to strike up commraderie and good cheer.
Events for the evening on the lawn include:
Satya Yoga: yoga on the side lawn for all levels (6:45-7:45)
Pure Mountain Olive Oil and Another Fork in the Road: teaming up to bring tastings to us!
Rhinebeck Health Food Store: providing appetizers and recipes for perfect summer entertaining!
Cabin Fever Outfitters: A selection of outdoor clothing for your active lifestyle, featuring Prana, Patagonia, and Yogawear!
Sharp Images Photographic: meet the photographic artist, enjoy an art show and one day only studio specials
For more details; promotions; and chances to win free tickets, LIKE us on Facebook!
? Reservations must be made in Advance
Call 845-876-8986 or Email stay@thelookingglassbandb.com
Tickets $50/person-- (Buy 4 tickets for $180)
Checks payable to:
Start Small Think Big.
Start Small Think Big is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Tax ID #: 27-1821066. Your gift in excess of $25 per ticket is tax deductible to the extent provided by law. ? The Looking Glass Bed and Breakfast
EYE ON THE ARTS< NY -- Celia Ipiotis




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