Life & Leisure
September 7, 2022
If you've never been to Lepizig, you are missing one of the little gems of Europe. There's casual dining in the plaza, bookstores and museums, live music around every corner and historic buildings. Here are a few more details about this shining town.

Leipzig, the city of music, where Bach, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Schumann, and many other musical greats lived and worked, is tuning up for a magnificent year with two major anniversaries for the Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Leipzig Opera as well as the arrival of Latvian Andris Nelsons who will take up the baton at the Gewandhaus next year.

This thriving city in the eastern state of Saxony is alive with the sounds of classical music as it tunes up for the coming anniversaries in the year ahead. Leipzig will be celebrating the 275th anniversary of the Leipzig Gewandhaus, which also coincides with the arrival of the Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons, and the 325th anniversary of the Leipzig Opera. In addition to these milestones, Leipzig's Music Trail is a cornucopia of music with 23 stops from the Bach Museum to the Mendelssohn House where a new permanent exhibition on the talented Fanny Mendelssohn will open in November. And, for those who can organize a trip in September, the Schumann Festival will be a listener's delight!

Since the early 1600s Leipzig has been a place of musical talent. Behind the scenes, active supporters and appreciators of music were crucial multipliers and sponsors providing musicians with resources and a place to perform. The Leipzig Opera's prestigious history was started in 1683 making it the third oldest opera house in all of Europe. After being destroyed in WWII, the opera house was reopened in the GDR time and is a beautiful example of East German 1950s architecture. Next year, the opera will celebrate its 325th birthday. The season highlight will be cyclical performances of the Ring des Nibelungen under the musical direction of General Musical Director and General Director Ulf Schirmer, whose conducting skills are in demand worldwide, as well as a staging of Tannhäuser by Richard Wagner's great-great-granddaughter Katharina Wagner.

In 1743, Leipzig's Gewandhaus Orchestra was founded by sixteen merchants who valued music and culture as part of their society and they set the stage for Leipzig to become a musical center. In 2018, the Gewandhaus Orchestra will celebrate its 275th anniversary with the arrival of Andris Nelsons as its new principal conductor, a highly anticipated event, and one of the most prestigious musical posts once dominated by Leipzig's own Kurt Masur. The wonderful symbiosis between the Gewandhaus and the Opera is that since the early 1700s, the Leipzig Gewandhaus has been the symphony for the Leipzig Opera. So, not only do they face each other every day across the Augustusplatz, which is very convenient for visitors, but there is also a long history and musical connection.

In addition to these special anniversaries, visitors can discover the evergreen richness of the Leipzig music scene along the Leipzig Music Trail. Over 500 composers have lived and worked in Leipzig over the centuries, including some of the greatest names in the history of music: Johann Sebastian Bach (who was Cantor of the St. Thomas Church), Georg Philipp Telemann, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (Gewandhaus Kapellmeister), and Clara and Robert Schumann - not to mention Richard Wagner, Edvard Grieg, Albert Lortzing, Gustav Mahler and Hanns Eisler.

This concentration of famous composers and their homes and workplaces and the special musical museums makes Leipzig unique in the global musical community. And the music trail offers great insights into an intrinsic part of Leipzig's history and personality. Throughout the old town, the logo of the music trail is carved into the cobblestones in a bright metal, ribbon-y swoosh. The trail has 23 stops, including the Gewandhaus Concert Hall, the Grassi Museum of Musical Instruments, the Mendelssohn House, the Bach Archive, and St. Thomas Church, where the 800-year old St. Thomas Boys' Choir still sings to this day. Visitors can get an audio guide from the Museum of Fine Arts during the museum's opening hours and walk the three mile trail listening to music and reading the information at each stop.

One stop on the trail is the home of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy who not only was a famous composer and musician but also a beautiful painter. On 4 November this year, Mendelssohn's day of death, the Mendelssohn House will be opening an entire floor devoted to Felix's lesser known but extremely competent composer/musician sister, Fanny. Many sources refer to Fanny as equal to her brother in composition and playing (piano). Although Fanny did compose her entire life and all together created 460 pieces, she did not pursue music professionally as this was not encouraged in women at that time.

Still Fanny continually composed pieces privately and some were published under her brother's name. Another publishing exception was Fanny's piece, "Das Jahr," a 12 part piano work, called "the year," based on the months of the year and each piece was accompanied by a poem and an illustration by her artist husband, Wilhelm Hensel. She began to publish this work against the wishes of her family before she suffered her untimely death. Her brother continued to publish some of her works before his own early death. "Das Jahr" will be a focus of the permanent exhibition at the Mendelssohn House. Visitors can expect a musical journey through time.

Another colorful twosome were Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck who are said to be Leipzig's most famous lovers from the 19th century. He, the upstart composer, and she, the virtuoso pianist, and a sensation of the time. The Schumann House in Inselstraße is where he composed "Spring Symphony" and the first movement of the piano concert in A minor. The Schumann House in Leipzig is also closely linked with Robert Schumann's Lieder, or songs. Today the Schumann House presents an exhibition on the life and work of the musician couple. In addition, concerts and readings take place regularly. From September 9 to 17, the Schumann Festival Week will present a number of Schumann's works along with other composers. For people who enjoy art and culture and especially classical music, Leipzig in 2018 will be an extraordinary trip with special concerts and performances but the city also offers a rich offering of musical history year round.

April 10, 2022
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

January 31, 2021
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

December 1, 2019
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:

October 26, 2019
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 for specific details or call (800) 832-5665.

September 27, 2019
Crisp air is mingling with the shortened days and fall colors. It's time to think about fireplaces and the upcoming foliage season most spectacularly expressed in the Northeast.

New Hampshire draws throngs of people indulging in falls's spectacular fall color spray. In the middle of the state sits the grand Hotel Concord (, and perfectly situated location for great hikes, apple picking, parks and more, all within an easy drive. This fall, stay at The Hotel Concord and explore the Granite State’s vibrant show over the White MountainsUpper Valley, Monadnock Region and Seacoast.

For those who want a quick dose of splendor, there's the “Live Free and Leaf Peep” package which includes an overnight stay in the Four Diamond Boutique Hotel, a gift certificate to Gould Hill Orchard in Contoocook, late check out of 12 noon and specialty treats like Miss Prindable’s Candied Apple and pumpkin spiced coffee to make this a sweet foliage excursion.

August 26, 2019
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

June 26, 2019
For those who prefer a rustic, off-the-grid experience when you vacation, consider replacing the usual hotel, motel or AIR B&B experience with one of the great Historic Hotels. Here are just a few samples:

Publick House Historic Inn* (1771) Sturbridge, Massachusetts
Hotel fun fact: Since 1771, the Inn has been the hub for esteemed visitors, such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and General Lafayette to present day travelers.

· Inn at Willow Grove* (1778) Orange, Virginia
Hotel fun fact: During the Revolutionary War Generals Wayne (Georgia) and Muhlenberg (Pennsylvania) camped at Willow Grove during the southern campaign to assist Marquis de Lafayette in forcing the British to surrender. Inn at Willow Grove was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 and the Virginia Landmarks Register in 1978.

· The Cotton Sail Hotel (1852) Savannah, Georgia
Hotel fun fact: Originally this building was a cotton warehouse spanning Savannah’s historic Factor’s Walk.

· The Sherman (1852) Batesville, Indiana
Hotel fun fact: German J. Brinkmann built his hotel in 1852 naming it in 1865 to honor General Sherman and the 83rd Indiana Volunteer Infantry, who served with Sherman in the Civil War.

· Penn Wells Hotel (1869) Wellsboro, Pennsylvania
Hotel fun fact: The Philadelphia Inquirer called it “the gem of the Roosevelt Highway.” During World War II, Corning Glass works, the predecessor to today’s Corning Inc. celebrated its Christmas party at the hotel, and in appreciation, presented the iconic American Flag made of 1,438 Christmas ornaments which can be seen today in the lobby.

· Antrim 1844* (1844) Taneytown, Maryland
Hotel fun fact: Antrim 1844 has close ties with Gettysburg, as General Meade stayed on this historic property on the night of June 30, 1863, during the Civil War. He had been the Commander of the of the Army of the Potomac for only two days before fighting erupted. General Meade went on to defeat Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg and earned notoriety as one of the most important commanders of the Civil War.

· Hotel del Coronado** (1888) Coronado, California
Hotel fun fact: Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton has three original elevators that are still in service, including birdcage elevator Otis #61 which is staffed by uniformed elevator operators.

· Hyatt at the Bellevue* (1904) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Hotel fun fact: In 2009, all four balconies outside the café and restaurant on the 19th floor of the Hyatt at the Bellevue were restored and opened to the public, providing the four most romantic dining tables and the highest outdoor dining experience in Philadelphia.

· DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Utica (1912) Utica, New York
Hotel fun fact: Hotel Utica is the site of the first beer sold post prohibition. Nearby FX Matt brewery held a parade to the hotel and began serving Utica Club the day prohibition ended, December 5, 1933.

· The Virginian Lynchburg, Curio Collection by Hilton (1913) Lynchburg, Virginia
Hotel fun fact: Famous guests included then-actor Ronald Reagan, who stopped at the hotel during a political tour in 1957.

· Water’s Edge Resort and Spa (1920s) Westbrook, Connecticut
Hotel fun fact: Original owner Bill Hahn's famous birthday bash in July 1962 featured entertainment by Barbra Streisand, who was appearing that summer in her first Broadway production.

· Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Santa Monica (1921) Santa Monica, California
Hotel fun fact: The magnificent Moreton Bay fig tree located on the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows grounds is more than 140 years old and more than 80 feet tall.

· Hotel Skyler Syracuse, Tapestry Collection by Hilton (1922) Syracuse, New York
Hotel fun fact: The building’s original use was a synagogue and most recently was home to the theatre group Salt City for the performing arts.

· Fairmont Olympic* (1924) Seattle, Washington
Hotel fun fact: In 1924, The Seattle Times held a contest offering $50 for the best name. 3,906 entries were submitted and 11 entries included one name, The Olympic, which was selected.

· Sofitel Washington D.C. Lafayette Square (1925) Washington, D.C.
Hotel fun fact: In the early 1800s, the site was one of Washington’s most prestigious hotels and was home to President Andrew Johnson as well as Woodrow Wilson before his inauguration.

· The Queensbury Hotel (1926) Glens Falls, New York
Hotel fun fact: Robert F. Kennedy promised to return to the Glens Falls region after the 1964 election for Senator. The day after he won, he showed up to a luncheon at the hotel.

· Hotel Saranac, Curio Collection by Hilton (1927) Saranac Lake, New York
Hotel fun fact: An iconic landmark in the Saranac Lake village, the hotel has been thoughtfully restored and renovated while maintaining its historic charm and fascinating architecture – including the Great Hall, inspired by a 14th-century Italian palace.

· The Statler (1956) Dallas, Texas
Hotel fun fact: The Statler hosted many popular entertainers in its past, including Elvis Presley. The Statler in Dallas was originally built by The Statler Hotels Company (founded in 1907). Other former Statler hotels inducted into Historic Hotels of America in prior years include Boston Park Plaza, Omni William Penn, and The Capital Hilton Washington DC.

· Alpenhof Lodge* (1965) Teton Village, Wyoming
Hotel fun fact: The Alpenhof Lodge, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2016. Alpenhof, the first lodge built in Teton Village, preserves its Bavarian-heritage style similar to those in many Alpine ski resort destinations.

· The Graham Georgetown (1965) Washington, D.C.
Hotel fun fact: The Graham Georgetown is rumored to have been a regular haunt of Frank Sinatra, who enjoyed a particular suite that boasts an oversized deck.

Six of the historic hotels are adaptive reuse projects that have involved converting some or all of a historic building to a hotel. Originally, these buildings were built for another purpose in their history. Examples include buildings originally built as a historic synagogue, a cotton warehouse, a furniture factory, office building, a manor house and school house.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

February 22, 2019
For those of you with a bit of an intellectually adventurous spirit, there are some delightful new options for your vacation in Antwerp. It's been annoucned that "DIVA" is a new tourist attraction to open in the historic heart of Antwerp. DIVA provides the ultimate diamond experience. The visitor will be immersed in the world of diamonds during a 45-minute highlights tour with 5 topics (Wunderkammer, diamond-cutting workshop, gigantic terrestrial globe, World Fairs with a virtual fitting room and the world of organized crime and forgery).

The experience continues in DIVA’s ‘escape room’, a 60 minute challenge, where the only way to escape is by solving riddles and finding objects. What is not clear is whether of not diamonds are for purchase. But even it not, they can be admired.

In one of the most gorgeous historic cities, comes the Bruges Triennale opening (May 5). That's where artists, architects and scientists are invited to formulate answers to crises in the liquid society, working closely with inhabitants and visitors. By means of cooperative creative processes. Bruges Triënnial 2018 creates opportunities for new encounters between a diverse range of city users. Even without this event, the city provides plenty of eye-catching architecture and sights of visual beauty.
EYE ON THE ARS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

November 17, 2018
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, the new interactive website of Forbes Travel Guide. Follow Forbes Travel Guide on Twitter:

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 or 800-344-2838. Stay up to date on resort happenings on facebook, and on twitter,"
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

October 12, 2018
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.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

January 16, 2018
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

September 1, 2017
Historic hotels add a level of intimacy to any vacation. Not your usual one decoration fits all type of hotel or motel, these lodgings exude personality.

Historic Hotels of America has launched a new Super Site in time for planning summer travel. Follow your American Dreams and choose from a variety of different vacation ideas, including family getaways, road trips, national parks and lands, culinary destinations, urban adventures, and more. With over 260 historic hotels across the United States from Puerto Rico to Hawaii, there is sure to be an affordable dream destination for everyone.

Need a travel-inspired playlist? Check out these Road Trips Songs. Want to salute our freedom? Book a historic hotel then visit these five national monuments. Feeling hungry? Scope out the best BBQ joints, bourbon trails and wine country by perusing the site’s culinary adventures.

When visiting the American Dreams Super Site homepage, a number of navigational tools help travelers peruse the site’s many inspirations.The main navigation: The site is divided into six content sections — Family Vacations, Road Trips, Heritage & Culture, Culinary Destinations and Urban Adventures — with each of these pages showcasing article thumbnails. When a consumer clicks on the image, they navigate to that feature story. These stories include hotel advertorials, which solely feature participating hotels, and topical editorials, which highlight select destinations based on editorial content.

Of special interest might be the culinary route:Culinary Destinations for spirits, wine, food, festivals and trails throughout the country. From food festivals to fine dining, from Sonoma’s Wine Country to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Historic Hotels of America tips its glass to these culinary destinations. Interested in the latest vintages in the heart of Napa Valley?

Nestled into the heart of Napa Valley, the Napa River Inn stands out as an upscale boutique hotel. The inn adjoins the historic Napa Mill, which offers dining, shopping and 7,300 square feet of outdoor reception space in the Riverbend Performance Plaza for wine-induced celebrations.

June 28, 2017
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.

May 20, 2017
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

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: [email protected]
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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:
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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 [email protected]
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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