The Insiders Guide to Mykonos

Sometimes we haven’t been there, done that. When a friend called asking for tips on Mykonos, we couldn’t help her as our information from some 20 odd years ago (backpacking after college) was just a little out of date. Then we remembered a friend of a friend, a very chic woman who has a house on the island for over 20 years who was more than willing to help. This is what Daytripper is all about - word of mouth from trusted sources. 

Hotel Info: I steer friends to stay at three different hotels depending on what they are looking for. Santa Marina has a private beach, quite decent and there’s a large pool. It’s not far from town and it’s the most similar to a resort that we have on Mykonos. Cavo Tagoo is not on the beach, but it's across the street from the sea. Everything is very white, a design and décor that works for grown ups (I wouldn’t stay here with young kids.) There's a pool but I suggest you go to different beaches every day. It’s also pretty close to town. If you want to stay in town, there is the Belvedere Hotel; it's a small boutique hotel with a stunning Nobu restaurant. You can then go to beaches during the day and not have to drive at night, a good plus after a late night dinner and dancing.

Best Beaches: I love Agios Sostis, though it’s not organized, by which I mean there’s no umbrellas, etc. But, there’s a tiny taverna called Kiki's that doesn’t take reservations, everyone waits, EVERYONE. Lia Beach is 30 minutes from town, it’s organized with umbrellas and there’s a taverna on the beach. The water is lovely. If you’re looking for something low key, Kalafatis Beach is a great place to enjoy the water -  it’s very local with a taverna that’s just OK.

Lunchtime Beach Eats: Spilia is a restaurant on the beach in a cave. It's great-- really fab--you must book ahead of time. Definitely go. On Ftelia Beach, Alemagou is the coolest restaurant, another don’t miss. It’s not the nicest beach on the island, but people still swim there. Nammos on Psarou Beach is a complete’s like St. Tropez’s Club 55, but on steroids... totally full on. The water is beautiful and it is something to experience--at least once during your stay. On Kalo Livadi, an organized beach there is a good taverna as well. I love going to Fokos Beach; it’s a mix of locals and cool people, the closest to what Mýkonos was many years ago. There are no loungers’ or umbrellas, but there is a simple taverna that we like very much. The owners spent a lot of money refurbishing Panormos, there’s a good restaurant and you can arrange beach seating. Finally, Scorpios restaurant is very cool…almost too cool… great food, great vibe, very cool peeps, must book. Must go.

At Dinner: Our favorites include: Interni Restaurant, Chez Katrins, Kalita, Nobu, Sea Satin, and Kazarma


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After a few days in Edgartown, driving “up island” towards Chilmark, I finally understood all the fuss about Martha’s Vineyard. The southwestern half of the island is less populated, more rural with rolling hills, stonewalls, farms and general stores.  Turn a corner and you’d swear you’re in the English countryside. And the beaches - the reason that brought me to the Vineyard in the first place - are wilder with dramatic cliffs, rock outcroppings and fewer crowds: absolutely beautiful. Edgartown was a lovely first date, but the villages of West Tisbury, Chilmark and Aquinnah…well they were keepers.

Tripper Tips:

It’s B.Y.O.B. in Chilmark as it’s a dry town… stock up on wine for your stay at MV Wine and Spirits by the airport. The staff is super friendly, knowledgeable and they have a large selection.

When renting a house…visit Beetlebung Farm for fresh produce, eggs and meats. It’s charmingly unmanned, pick what you want, write it down on the yellow pad and leave your money in the tin box.

Everyone claps when the sun goes down in Menemsha. An alternative to dinner is to head down to the beach, bring a bottle of Rose, get some lobsters and watch the sunset on the beach. (Or head to a late dinner after) Don’t think of driving as parking is impossible, instead take the path from the Beach Plum.

Way to go…book a ticket on the frequent ferries from Hyannis, (car reservations must be made well in advance) or avoid the summer traffic to the Cape and head to Quonset Point in Rhode Island to board the boat to Oaks Bluffs, an hour and a half fast ferry.

Stay: The Beach Plum Inn is sweet with just 5 rooms in the main house and 5 cottages scattered over its seven acres. It’s all lush gardens and ocean views of Menemsha Harbor with comfortable, beachy décor and a well-regarded farm to table restaurant that draws crowds for sunset dinners. The biggest bonus: the inn provides parking and walk on passes to both Lucy Vincent and Squibnocket beaches, two of the island's best beaches, private for residents of Chilmark. (Next door, Beach Plum’s sister property, the Menemsha Inn, is larger, more rustic and works well for families with larger cottages.)

On the Way: Driving from the ferry, the airport, or Edgartown, stop for breakfast in West Tisbury at 7a Foods.  Order one of their tasty egg sandwiches on a homemade biscuit to eat on the porch with the morning bikers. Get a hippie cookie to enjoy later in the day and their iced coffee, made with a blend of Cocoa Hazelnut from Java Tree. Starting at 11:15 am, 7a starts selling their gourmet sandwiches and salads, perfect for a picnic hamper at the beach. (Vegetarians will be happy ordering the Shitake Umami Tsunami.)

Don’t Miss: Right next door to 7a, Alleys’ General Store has been serving the Vineyard since 1858; browse the aisles for a hit of nostalgia. 

Farmers Market: On Wednesdays and Saturdays don’t miss the Farmers Market, held from 9-12, showcasing the goods from more than 40 farmers and purveyors from across the island.

Lunch: After checking into Beach Plum, it’s just a scenic, short walk down a woody path to the beach at Menemsha, a public beach known as the premier spot for sunset on the island. Wander around the working fishing harbor, the colorful fishing boats and shacks present endless photo ops. There is nothing more quintessential New England than eating a lobster on the docks at Larsen’s Fish Market or a basket of fried clams or shrimps at The Bite. Don’t forget to get extra napkins!

Beach:  Load up on beach chairs and umbrellas at the inn and spend the rest of the afternoon at Lucy Vincent Beach--it doesn’t get much better. Take a walk down the beach and don’t be surprised when you get to the stretch of beach that’s clothing optional. Walk back along the clay bluffs admiring the rock formations below. 

Dinner: State Road is one of those restaurants that you want to order everything on the menu—and you can’t go wrong—it is a delicious meal, from start to finish, right down to the excellent wines served by the glass. 

Day Two: 

Provisions: Have breakfast at Beach Plum or head to the Chilmark General Store and eat on the porch. Get some sandwiches and snacks to take to the beach. Buy a few of the 1 lb. bags of Chilmark Coffee Company, made on the island, to bring home.

To the Lighthouse: It’s a beautiful drive to Aquinnah, formerly called Gay Head, to visit the historic lighthouse and the Gay Head Cliffs on the westernmost point of the island. The light was dark for the last few months, as the lighthouse was carefully moved back 120 feet due to eroding cliffs. Climb the small hill past the shops of the Wampanoag Indians for incredible views of the cliffs and ocean below.

Back to the Beach: Another day, another unique beach—that’s what makes Martha’s Vineyard special. Go early to get a spot at the small parking lot of Moshup Beach. It’s a nice 10-minute walk down to the beach. This was my favorite beach; the multi colored cliffs a stunning backdrop, changing colors with the light. It’s also beautiful in the late afternoon. If you want to visit another beach venture to Squibnocket where the surfers hang out.

Dinner: It’s Chef Chris Fischers’ second season at the helm of the restaurant at the Beach Plum, with much of the produce coming from his nearby family’s Beetlebung Farm. At dusk the lawn starts filling with couples sipping wine, children playing ball or chasing the roaming chickens and wild turkeys; all getting ready to watch the day fade away and dine on the seasonal farm to table menu.  Or head to Chilmark Tavern, Jenna’s Sprafkin’s casual American bistro, featuring a seasonal, creative menu using mostly local products. Highly recommended!

Don’t Miss: Before returning home, have breakfast at the Art Cliff Diner. Go early to avoid a long wait, it’s popular for a reason—you’ll understand after your meal of spicy chicken hash and eggs, breakfast tacos or delicious fresh made scones or waffles.

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Get to the ferry early to claim a seat on the upper deck, rummage in your bag for your book and sunglasses, and then let out a deep breath. Your vacation officially starts as soon as the boat pulls away from port. Martha’s Vineyard, an island just off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts is known for its magnificent beaches, picturesque harbors and historic, charming villages. Made up of six distinct towns, the Vineyard is much larger than its sophisticated, nearby rival island of Nantucket. Based in colonial Edgartown, DT365 shares our highlights for a few relaxing days at the beach.

Tripper Tips:

Renting a house…pick up provisions at Morning Glory Farm. In addition to delicious baked goods and beautiful produce they have an impressive array of cut flowers.

Another world…Take the Chappy Ferry from Edgartown to Chappaquiddick Island.  Visit Japanese Mytoi Garden, Wasque Point, Leland Beach, Norton Beach, or Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge.

Craving some fried clams or a lobster roll…Skip the touristy Seafood Shanty and get fried clams to go at their take away stand, The Quarterdeck.

Way to go…book a ticket on the frequent ferries from Hyannis, (car reservations must be made well in advance) or avoid the summer traffic to the Cape and head to Quonset Point in Rhode Island to board the boat to Oaks Bluffs, an hour and a half fast ferry.

Stay: A short walk into town, check in to the Harbor View Hotel: a waterfront property overlooking the beach, Edgartown Lighthouse, and Chappaquiddick Island. Splurge on one of the cottages or stay in the main building. For those who prefer to be close to the beach, the Winnetu Oceanside Resort in nearby Katama is just a path away from South Beach, a beautiful stretch of sandy beach. Winnetu is great for families, with a kids program and tons of room options to accommodate all. For a quieter, more formal stay, check in to The Charlotte Inn, less beachy and reminiscent of an English country house.

Ride: Harbor View can arrange to have a bike delivered directly to the hotel, or rent a bike in town at Martha’s Bike Rentals or Edgartown Bicycles and Rentals. Make sure to request a basket to hold your towel and refreshments for the beach.

Morning Grub: Grab a coffee and some freshly made baked goods at Espresso Love. Or head to tiny diner Dock Street Coffee Shop, an island institution, for one of their breakfast sandwiches. I liked the shady terrace at Behind the Bookstore Café, located directly behind Edgartown Books with a eclectic, healthy menu and excellent coffees and teas.

Lunch at the Beach: Get a gourmet sandwich or salad to go before leaving Behind the Bookstore and ride your bike to South Beach for the day. Once out of town, follow the 4-mile flat bike path direct to the beach. If you have a car, or choose to take a taxi, Harbor View has beach chairs you can use. (Taxis are plentiful on the island.)

Wander: Spend the late afternoon walking around downtown Edgartown, in and out of the upscale shops, indulging in some fudge at Murdick’s or an ice cream at Mad Martha’s or Vineyard Scoops. Across from the Harbor View, walk out to the Lighthouse and then down the rocky, narrow beach, returning back by the streets and admiring the beautiful oceanfront homes and rows and rows of hydrangeas.

Dinner: I don’t usually order fried foods, but the wok fried whole lobster has quite a reputation at Atria, set in a classic New England house just on the edge of town. The restaurant is divided in two: upstairs is quieter; finer dining while downstairs is a casual cellar bar.  Both offer the same menu, with the cellar only offering an extensive burger selection, considered some of the best on the island. And the star of the show—the lobster served whole atop buttery mashed potatoes and island greens—may just be one of the best lobsters I’ve ever had.

Day Two

Get Moving: Get back on your bike, proceeding cautiously out of town, till you get to the bike path heading towards Oak Bluffs. This is a longer ride, clocking in around 8 flat, easy miles. At the dividing line between the two towns, stop to watch the jumpers at “Jaws Bridge”,  (The American Legion Memorial Bridge) made famous in the 1975 blockbuster film. Crowds gather to leap and cheer each other on--in direct defiance of the sign that says no jumping. Kayaking and paddle boarding can be organized right across the road on Sengekontacket Pond. Continue on, arriving at Methodist Campground, a cluster of charming multicolored gingerbread cottages surrounding an open-air Tabernacle dating back to 1879. It is surreal to see the different architecture; in direct contrast to the stately whaling mansions in Edgartown.

Lunch: I know I’m going to crave the Fried Green Tomato BLT for a long time from Slice of Life on Circuit Avenue, in the heart of Oak Bluffs’ main shopping street. Go ahead and order the truffle fries, you’ll burn it off on the bike ride back to Edgartown. Other popular spots in Oak bluffs include Nancy’s for seafood, Giordano’s for fried clams and pizza (take out only), and the Red Cat Kitchen for dinner.

Sweet Tooth: Martha’s Vineyard Gourmet Café & Bakery serves their beloved donuts and apple fritters all day long at their bakery storefront, but the real action takes place starting at 7:30PM –till 1AM where people wait on line at the back door for hot, right out of the oven doughnuts. It’s become so popular that everyone refers to the bakery as Back Door Donuts. Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium has the best ice cream on the Vineyard served in their old fashioned charming store.

Stroll: Oaks Bluffs has a whole different feel than Edgartown, it’s touristy for sure, yet lively, it just feels like a summertime beachside town that could be down the Jersey Shore or at Delaware’s Dewey Beach complete with arcades, harbor side clam bars and old movie theaters. You must stop and watch the kids exuberantly grabbing for gold rings at the Flying Horses, the nations oldest platform carousel, designated a national landmark. Oak Bluffs has its own unique vibe and personality, the fun “cousin” to Edgartown’s elegant “aunt” and it’s worth visiting.

Dinner: The Port Hunter doesn’t take reservations, but it’s well worth the wait. Have one of their specialty cocktails and an appetizer at the bar or communal tables and soon you’ll be trading stories with your neighbors. The creative seasonal menu is locally sourced, and there’s a raw bar for oyster fans. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays starting at 10 pm, half the tables are cleared away to make way for live music sets. Don’t miss dining here!

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Montauk: Local Take

*Photographs by Car Pelleteri

*Photographs by Car Pelleteri

Located on the eastern end of Long Island, at the tip of the South Fork, Montauk is home to beautiful beaches, world-class sport fishing and excellent surfing. No longer sleepy, Montauk has changed a lot in the last few years with the opening of new hotels, restaurants and late night hot spots. Yet, it still remains more authentic than the rest of the Hamptons. Our friends, Jamie and Steven, have been spending summer weekends together in Montauk for years, and here Jamie shares her favorite spots with DT365 for a perfect summer day.

Tripper Tips:

More tips from Jamie…

There's a SoulCycle in the old movie theatre if you're feeling sporty. Want to go paddle boarding?  Head to Fort Pond by The Puff and Putt miniature golf. You can rent paddle boards, kayaks and sail boats there.  Another good place to rent longboards, paddle-boards and bicycles is at Air and Speed Surf Shop. They also offer surfing lessons.

Have a house and want to stay in? Stock up at the butcher section at Herb’s, a Montauk classic that’s been around forever—or forget cooking and get their fried chicken and a bunch of homemade sides to go with it!

Night Drive: Night Drive: If you get out late, Jamie recommends heading to The Inlet on East Lake drive, just past the airport.  “They have fresh sushi, an amazing artichoke appetizer and some of the best-grilled fish tacos outside of LA.  If you can make it for sunset, it’s one of the few west-facing restaurants. The view is spectacular overlooking the inlet between Gosman's and Gin beach.” 

Morning: Start your day in the sand at Ditch Plains Beach. Grab a coffee from the Ditch Witch and watch the morning surfers. After, try a class at Love, my favorite yoga studio or just head to Naturally Good for their scrambled tofu wrap. Make sure to get extra fresh salsa.  (They also have great juices and smoothies.) Sit in the back garden at the picnic tables and chill. Next-door to Love Yoga is a new micro brew coffee shop called Left Hand if you need another morning fix. 

Other Spots: We also like Goldberg's for amazing bagels and lox, and Joni’s for healthy breakfast wraps and smoothies. (Cash only.) Happy Bowl's on 27 has delicious Acai bowls, or pick up some cold pressed, organic juice at Montauk Juice Factory.  Be prepared to wait on line everywhere you go.

Town: Not much to do in town except walk around and look at the local T-shirt stores. My favorite is called Local Knit.  Nate is the sales guy there and he's sweet and chill. (If you want to really shop, brave the traffic on 27 and head to Amagansett, East Hampton, or Sag Harbor.) There's a great small spa called Deborah Thompson Day Spa in the middle of town.  Don’t miss the grape stem facial with either Deborah or Amy; it may be the best I've ever had.

Sun and Sand: The beach at Kirk Beach by the IGA supermarket is really nice.  You can park almost anywhere and there's no hassle. Or head back to Ditch Plains, my favorite beach. Ditch reminds me so much of my life in Manhattan Beach, all the people have known each other forever and chat like family.

Seafood Lunch:  Both the Topside or Inlet Cafe at Gosman's Dock are phenomenal.  The raw bar is maybe the best around. Look for Little Linda who is sometimes the bartender and sometimes the waitress.  Grab a bloody Mary and hang out for a while and watch the boats come in and out.  Even if you're not cooking dinner at home, treat yourself to a walk through Gosman's market--all the pies are fresh baked, the produce is locally grown and the fish is right off the boat! And the lobster salad is the best ever! Buy a pound and some hot dog buns and you’ve got DIY lobster rolls.

Hopping Lunch: Then there's Navy Beach, if you’re looking for more of a scene.  Martine is the Maître d’, he's a cute roly- poly guy with a tiny little curly ponytail.  Sit in the back on the beanbags and listen to the live music.  

Sunset Aperitifs: For drinks before dinner head to the Crow's Nest.  It's right off 27 on the way to the lighthouse.  There's a boat in front and it's right on Old West Lake Drive. Go down past the restaurant to the small beach, sprawl on a lounge and have some rosé. It’s one of my favorite summer places! Other sunset spots are: The Inlet, The Montauket, Navy Beach, and Duryea's Lobster Deck. 

Dinner: New this season, we’re digging the small plates and delicious cocktails at Flagship, from father-and-son team Eric and Adam Miller. One of my favorite restaurants is South Edison right in town. They have some of the best food in Montauk, everything from seafood to steak. It’s low key and delicious. For those who just love eating with an ocean view check out Scarpetta or Tillie’s at Gurneys. On our list to try is Arbor and Grey Lady.

Late Night: If you're up for some nightlife, there are plenty of choices.  The Surf Lodge attracts a great looking, young crowd and has live music concerts every weekend. Ruschmeyer's is another extremely popular spot; have a drink on the lawn under the lights and you’ll be transported back to summer days at camp.  

Sweets: For a late night treat stop by Buddha Berry for frozen yogurt.  The flavors are crazy and they offer more toppings than you could ever imagine.  They also have a small sitting area out back, kick back and look up at the stars.

Stay: The big news has been the remodeling of Gurneys.  It’s the most resort like hotel in the Hamptons, on a beautiful stretch of beach. Make sure to book one of the renovated rooms, as not all have been redone.  The Montauk Yacht Club was also recently renovated, with many different room options. I’d suggest one of the bungalows, with decks overlooking the marina.  The Montauk House is a boutique hotel right in town, a block from the ocean. Halfway between Amagansett and Montauk, White Sands, right off route 27 is simple, laid back, clean and quiet. And it’s right on the ocean—location, location, location.

Plus More:  Our friend Amanda Russo Rubman just got back from a few days of Montauk R and R and shared these highlights from her stay. “We hiked at Camp Hero. There are multiple hiking trails, with picnic benches along the way, why not pack a picnic lunch? If you’re looking for a real journey, you can continue hiking to the Montauk Lighthouse.  Fashionistas will enjoy the Leiber Museum, located on Judith Leiber’s property. (Check ahead as it’s only open a few days a week for a couple of hours.) You enter into a whimsical garden filled with bold sculptures, think Storm King on a much smaller scale. Inside the structure are thousands of Judith Leiber handbags and accessories, curated from her collection and private collectors. Post beach or for pre-dinner cocktails check out Lynn's Hula Hut.  You may even find Lynn behind the bar. 

* Special thanks to Car Pelleteri for her beautiful photographs. 

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Jose Ignacio: Playa Vik Beach Chic

Located on the Atlantic Coast of southeastern Uruguay, the once sleepy fishing villages of Punta del Este have become some of the most popular destinations in South America. With miles of beaches and open-air restaurants serving incredible asados under the stars, who can resist La Barra, Mantialies and Jose Ignacio? It’s a mix of low-key, bohemian chic that still feels sophisticated, somehow retaining a relaxed and unassuming vibe even with the arrival of the international jet set. When Carrie and Alexander Vik opened the incredible Estancia Vik back in 2009, it put Jose Ignacio on the traveler's map. With two beachfront properties, Playa Vik and the brand new Bahia Vik, it’s a hotel trifecta, bringing more attention to Jose Ignacio than ever before. Last December, I was lucky to spend a week at Playa Vik, our family’s second Christmas break in Jose Ignacio in the past 3 years. 

Tripper Tips:

The staff at Playa can arrange kite surfing or kayaking at Laguna Garzon, 10 minutes away. Waterskiing can also be arranged at Garzon Lagoon but in a private club next to Estancia Vik.

It can get quite breezy at times, especially at night, as Jose Ignacio is surrounded by water. Bring a sweater or wrap for open air dining, though many restaurants have small wool ponchos you can borrow during your meal.

If you can bear to leave the beach it’s a treat to explore the sculpture garden at the Pablo Atchugarry Foundation. The monumental bronze door that graces the “Sculpture” at Playa Vik is his design.

Book my ticket…I can’t wait to visit the newest Vik project…Vina Vik Millahue, a winery and hotel in Chile. It looks, no surprise here, absolutely stunning.

We are so excited - La Huella is opening its second restaurant in Miami in December 2015.

Logistics: Sleep on the overnight flight from Miami to Montevideo, rent a car, and drive about two hours to Jose Ignacio. If you’re coming from Buenos Aires, which makes for a nice first-stop for a few days, you can fly direct to Punta del Este airport; shortening the drive to 60 minutes.  Note: flights from the States fly arrive at the international airport in BA, you then have to take a taxi to the domestic airport to get your flight to Punta. 

Lay of the Land: Punta del Este has been called the South American Hamptons, an easy way to envision what it’s like. Punta, as locals call it, is the biggest city (to me more  Miami-esque then Hamptons) and as you drive down the coast you'll pass through the beachy villages of La Barra and Mantialies before arriving at the tip—Jose Ignacio. To extend the Hamptons analogy, Jose Ignacio is like Montauk—you cant go any father! Its divided by Playa Mansa, the calmer beach to one side and Playa Brava, known for its waves. 

Stay: It may have taken a day and a half before we finally pulled up to Playa Vik, but once we arrived it all seemed worth it. Immediately the incredible staff at Playa (Sabrina, Alfonso and Michelle) hugged us, welcoming us back. We felt like we were visiting old friends; granted ones who have the most incredible house! 

Lay out: Design is an integral part of the experience at all of the Vik retreats.  To say the “Sculpture” at the heart of the hotel is avant-garde is an understatement. The bold titanium and glass building is an exceptional architectural statement, one that houses an extraordinary collection of both contemporary Uruguayan and International art. This is the communal area of Playa—the library, living room and bar/dining area of the hotel. (It’s not every living room that has a James Turell light installation and Zaha Hadid table!) Making the awe factor even bigger, there’s the stunning cantilevered infinity pool jutting out over the beach. At night the lights in the pool resemble twinkling stars—just magical. 

Rooms: There are only 10 rooms, making Playa feel more like a private retreat; truly a unique mix of high-end hotel meets friendly guesthouse. Each room has it’s own personality and design. There are 4 suites in the Sculpture, but you’ll really want to stay in one of the 6 more private Casas. By far the best is Casa Mar, with a direct ocean view. It’s the largest casa with 3 bedrooms. We’ve stayed at Blanca, all white and peaceful and the smaller Jose Ignacio, which could work well for a family as the second bedroom has bunk beds. 

Wake Up: Breakfast is a casual affair at the Pavilion, directly across from the Sculpture. There is a nice buffet and the kitchen will prepare you eggs any way you like. Sit outside overlooking Playa Mansa. If you’d like to go out, walk into town (5-10 minutes) to Almacen El Palmar the quirky, stylish gourmet market and all day cafe from Punta’s restaurant La Bourgogne’s Chef, Jean Paul Bondoux.  Sit on the rooftop enjoying your freshly baked croissant.  This is also a great spot for dinner: the French slanted food is a nice change after a week of traditional asados. The Moroccan couscous was a favorite and the kisses and banter from the larger-than-life chef made the night that much more colorful. 

Get Moving: Hop on one of the bikes at Playa and ride to Estancia Vik, their sister property 5 miles inland. It’s approximately a 30-minute scenic ride through the pampas, mostly easy, with a few small uphill climbs. Like all of the Vik properties, Estancia is absolutely stunning, set on some 4,000 acres. This is the Vik’s version of a cattle ranch experience, and in fact it is a working ranch. If you’re a horseback rider you may want to stay here, rather than at the beach. Be sure to walk around the courtyard, living room and the pool area. The first time I visited Jose Ignacio, it was just before the high season and while Playa Vik was full, Estancia was still quiet. I cajoled the girl who greeted us to show us some of the rooms; each one was a true work of art, all designed site-specific by different Uruguayan artists. Estancia would be an amazing spot for a very special “big number” birthday party, family reunion, or an intimate destination wedding.  

Return Trip: If you’re lazy, hitch a ride back with one of the Estancia staff--they will transport your bikes later. But why not go round-trip? There’s no rush, as the sun doesn’t set for hours. This may be my favorite thing about Jose Ignacio—you have a full day and then some as the sun doesn’t set till close to 9 PM. Stop at Santas Negras, a chic, contemporary store with a mix of home design and cool accessories. While you can’t buy much here that will fit in your suitcase, I did manage to buy a great pillow that jazzes up my daughter's bed. The café next door is a stylish space if you need refreshments before finishing your ride.  

Lunch: Walk a few blocks to La Huella, where during a week-long stay we ate lunch here almost every day. This is the beach restaurant one dreams of during the cold winter back East. With laid-back style—delicious food, great music and a hip vibe—La Huella deserves its revered status. We love sitting on the back patio where your table is right on the sand, but the inside rooms work as well. Go for the early seating as it gets packed and we learned the hard way that our 3pm reservation may really mean 3:30-4. And I get it; why would you want to leave La Huella once your seated? Everything is good, but you must order the grilled chipirones, the fish of the day, sashimi, and the grilled lamb on the parilla. Is it a crime to say the simple roasted vegetables may even be my favorite?  There is no question you need a pitcher, or two, of Clerico (similar to Sangria, but with white wine) to wash it all down.  

Quick Bite: If you want a lighter lunch head to Mostrador Santa Teresita from famed Argentine chef Fernando Trocca. Sit at one of the communal tables or take away a mix of the different salads to bring to the beach. I loved the space and presentation, it reminded me of London’s Ottolenghi, and when I mentioned it to the chef he smiled and said yes, it was his inspiration. (Trocca spends a few months of every year in London at his restaurants there.)  

Afternoon: Right outside La Huella on Playa Brava you can rent chairs for the afternoon. Sign up for a surfing lesson or simply rent a board. Make sure to take a walk down to the lighthouse, and visit the artisan shops at the end of the boardwalk.  You can also just head back and sit at the pool at Playa.  

Shop: Jose Ignacio is a sleepy town; it won’t take you very long to walk around. Most of the stores are centered on the square. Favorites include Takkai , Sentido , and Mutate. Right next door to Playa Vik is Canuto, my favorite shop—I barely was able to close my bag after buying one too many of the beautiful Uruguayan wool ponchos and small blankets. They also have a nice collection of South American bags, tops and jewelry. More shopping can be found in La Barra and Mantialies, and in the much larger Punta del Este.  

Sweet tooth: One word: Freddo. You must get the Dulce de leche, no question. 

Sunset: Jose Ignacio has some of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever experienced. Sitting poolside or around the fire pit as the sun sets over the Atlantic and Playa Mansa is the best way to end the day. A glass of the Vik’s delicious red wine from their Chilean vineyards makes it even better.  It may have been at this point when I turned to my husband and stated that one day I’d like to spend the whole winter - every winter - in Jose Ignacio. Don’t head to dinner immediately, the lights in the pool against the night sky cannot be missed. Besides, no one goes to dinner before ten, and that’s early! 

Dinner: There are many great restaurants, but if I had to pick one, I’d say go to Marisimo. Don’t get discouraged if you get lost finding it; everyone does at first. Its an enchanting setting, eating alfresco on rustic wood tables in the candle lit garden. Order the slow cooked lamb: the meat is so tender that it’s falling off the bone.   

More Dining: So many places, not enough days. In Mantialies,  Mistura,  La Linda or O’Farrell are all excellent choices. Closer to home in Jose Ignacio go to La Olada or Namm. Tutta in town has good pizza if you want a casual dinner. 

Late night: Most of the action is in La Barra and Mantialies. If you're game, go bar hopping. Tequila is the most popular disco/night club in town.  

Don’t Miss: Don’t go home without dining at Francis Mallmann’s Garzon the Argentine super chef’s restaurant 30-40 minutes inland from Jose Ignacio.  

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Miami: A Grown-up Spring Break

When you picture Spring Break, do you think of college girls gone wild and red solo cups? Yes, there are parts of Florida infamous for all of that (and then some), but for those of us who’ve outgrown those party days there’s still the alluring draw of sun and warmth to ease the chill of North East winters. March and April usually promise ideal weather in Florida and a weekend in Miami at the Edition Hotel makes for a very civilized Spring Break. You can still have that cocktail, just out of a nice chilled glass.

Tripper Tips:

For another very personal art tour…visit the De La Cruz Contemporary Art Space in the ever-growing and transforming Design District. Works from the private collection of art world collectors Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz are housed here in a new 30,000 square foot space. (Closed Sunday and Monday.)

Eat in the courtyard at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Chef Michael Schwartz opened his restaurant in the Design District back in 2007 showcasing local fresh ingredients and the crowds have been coming ever since. If you build it, and it’s delicious, they will come!

Check In: They may seem like strange bedfellows, but the partnership of legendary hotelier Ian Schrager, the man who many say invented boutique hotels, and Marriot International delivers. I for one was doubtful; Marriot is not exactly a chain known as hip or high end, yet this upscale move for Marriot to create a luxury brand has been big a success so far.  Just look at the popularity of The London Edition and its hot restaurant Berners Tavern.  The brand new Miami Edition is light and airy, an expansive gold and white lobby is filled with tall pots of green plants and numerous public spaces.  Rooms are all beige—clean, calm and contemporary. Set on 3 1/2 private acres in the former Seville Hotel there are two pools, one for the kids, and a beautiful beachfront area. Located in currently hip Mid Beach, a short walk from South Beach, it’s a perfect fit for families or couples. 

Breakfast: Style by Schrager, food by Jean Georges Vongerichten. Have breakfast outside at Matador Terrace, overlooking the beach and pool. Both the terrace and the inside Matador Room echo the flavors of Jean Georges’ ABC Cocina in NYC, a modern interpretation of Latin cuisine.  At breakfast along with the typical egg and pancakes try the huevos rancheros. Lunch brings chipotle chicken or fish tacos and a delicious, now somewhat signature pea guacamole. Inside the hotel, Market at Edition is a stylish mix of a classic 24-hour coffee shop and gourmet food hall —offering specialty pizzas, a ceviche and raw bar, charcuterie, sandwiches, juices and smoothies, and a nice selection of wines.

Art:  It’s truly a family affair at the Rubell Family Collection (open Wednesday through Saturday)! Major players in the art world, Don and Mera Rubell have been acquiring art since the 60’s and with their son Jason created a 45,000-square-foot home for their collection in a former DEA warehouse in Wynwood.  This was back in the early 90’s, way before Wynwood was trendy. Now one of the world’s largest privately owned contemporary art collections, featuring such well-known artists as Basquiat, Haring, Koons, Hirst, Warhol, and Cindy Sherman.

Don’t Miss: I’d been hearing a lot about the Wynwood Wall’s and walking around all I kept thinking was wow—how had I not come here sooner. The late Tony Goldman had a vision to transform this warehouse district, through art, and it has dramatically changed the neighborhood—both visually and commercially with over 70 galleries, hip restaurants, eclectic stores,  juice and coffee bars. Recently, I have seen the gentrifying power of urban art in Cartegna, Buenos Aires and closer to home in NY, but this may be one of the most inspiring examples of open-air street art created by some of the world’s greatest street and graffiti artists. What struck me most was that beyond the park area known as the Wynwood Walls and Doors, the murals have exploded and expanded in all directions throughout the neighborhood--it is really something to see, explore and experience.

Eat In The Walls: Located right when you enter the square, eating at Wynwood Kitchen and Bar is to be fully immersed in the murals while enjoying dishes from a delicious Latin-influenced menu. Killer cocktails, a large outdoor patio and amazing art everywhere make for a flavorful and colorful lunch.

Afternoon: Relax at the pool or beach back at The Edition. The late afternoon light and wind brought tons of kite surfers for a magical show. And I was surprised at the amount of sand bars there were on either side of the hotel beach. I watched a group of guys playing soccer out on one before heading to the beachside promenade for a run. Finish with a cocktail at Tropicale located next to the pool.

Dinner: Where to eat is a hard decision these days in Miami with so many excellent choices. If you only have one night I’d head to the Design District to eat in the lovely outdoor courtyard at Mandolin. My Greek friend told me not miss the Kefte, better than any she had eaten in Greece. Everything was delicious! We loved the dips on the Greek sampler—the hummus, tzatziki, followed by a perfectly grilled fish and lamb chops. Funny enough the biggest hit of the evening was the barley salad—bursting with flavor from the combination of frisee and arugula with apples, mint and pomegranates. Dare I say that someone at our table said the food was better than anything they had in 2 weeks traveling around the Greek Islands last summer?

If you want to stay local,  stroll down the beach to Soho House and eat in the tree lit garden at Cecconi's for excellent Italian food.  We all shared some salads and pizza to start; the spaghetti with lobster was a big hit.

If I lived in Miami I’d be a regular at Pubbelly Sushi. The menu has innovative rolls such as Wagyu Beef Tartare and Porkbelly and Clams that you just don’t see on most sushi menus. Don’t miss the Screaming Orgasm, Rock Shrimp Tempura Roll, and the addictive Big Eye Tuna, served over crispy rice with truffle oil. Located next door to to the original Pubbelly, both are worthy destinations in the quieter section of South Beach known as Sunset Harbor. With a no reservations policy dinner is packed, lunch tables are easier to come by.


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