Tea Time

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Mrs. Knott’s Tea Room At South Foreland Lighthouse in Dover, England

If you stroll two miles northeast from the White Cliffs Visitor Center in Dover, wind-bent shrubbery on one side of you and a 350-foot plunge to the English Channel on the other, you’ll reach a converted 1846 lighthouse keeper’s cottage. This is Mrs. Knott’s Tea Room, an oasis for wind-lashed visitors. You’ll enter to sit in mismatched chairs, sip tea poured from higgledy-piggledy teapots into patterned cups on saucers, and nibble egg-salad-and-cress sandwiches and Victoria sponge cake, while in the hallway, serenades by Vera Lynn play on the old phonograph. The floral walls are crowded with photos of the staff’s ancestors. The No Smoking sign is cross-stitched. This juxtaposition of indoor doilies and outdoor danger feels quintessentially British—a little cottage of mirth and manners perched on the edge of the gray isle of fog and frost. After a few cups, your gratitude for coziness will give way to an eagerness to be outside again. You’ll pay and go, emboldened for the return trek. South Foreland Lighthouse, The Front, St. Margaret’s Bay, Dover. —Richard Morgan 

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Mummering

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Mummering In Newfoundland, Canada

Each December, as winter’s chill envelops Newfoundland and Labrador, in far eastern Canada, its residents prep their candy-colored houses for a series of masked visitors. The practice may sound slightly sinister, but Mummering, as it’s known to the area’s English and Irish descendants, is a joyous, Halloween- style ritual. Brought over from Britain in the 19th century, Mummering deals in the art of disguise, where groups of friends or family members travel door-to-door in their neighborhood, cloaked head to toe in costumes. The trick is for the host to identify each Mummer, at which point everyone celebrates with some whiskey or a slice of Christmas cake.

If you’re not a Newfoundland and Labrador native, the best way to join in the spirit of this quirky custom is by making a trip to the province’s snowy capital, St. John’s, where an annual Mummers Festival begins in late November. Over two weeks, it features various events, such as an Ugly-Stick Workshop, in which participants embellish sticks with bottle caps and tin cans meant to create a mighty racket during the festival’s culminating Mummers Parade, with hundreds of costumed souls marching through town. After the parade, crowds gather to unmask, mingle, and drink Purity Syrup, a sweet, fruit-flavored concoction similar to punch. Think of it as the biggest holiday block party you’ve ever seen. —Adeline Duff

 

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Mud Bathing in California

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Mud Bathing In Calistoga, California

Three and a half million years ago, present-day Calistoga was wracked by volcanic activity. The blasts left behind an ashy, nutrient-rich soil and a system of hot springs that, millennia later, the Wappo Indians used for healing therapies. (The warm mud and geothermal waters have properties said to reduce joint pain, draw toxins from the body, and exfoliate the skin.) By its founding, in 1877, Calistoga had become widely known as a place to “take the waters.”

Today, the area is home to 13 hot-springs spas, ranging from the old-school to the luxurious. At the upscale but unpretentious Indian Springs Resort & Spa (treatments from $95), guests can lie in a tub filled with a viscous blend of volcanic ash and hot-spring water, followed by a thorough rinse and a soak in a mineral-water bath.

If you’re looking for a more traditional experience, head to Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort (treatments from $77), which offers a variety of mud- and mineral-water treatments in a no-frills environment, with much of its Midcentury Modern décor still intact.

Whichever spa you visit, plan to go during the fall, when Napa Valley’s foliage rivals New England’s and the grape harvest is in full swing. —Adeline Duff

 

Call us today to book this once in a lifetime getaway that will relax you mind, body and soul.

 

Ambassador Travel LTD.| 920.236.7777| ambassadortravelltd.com

Tattoo on Morea

Today’s feature on Travel and Leisure’s 10 Once in a lifetime Trips Worth Flying for is not one for the faint of heart. It involves real tattoo and not in the nice small needle modern way. Would you do it?

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A James Samuela Tattoo On Moorea

Between the 15th and 18th centuries, when Europeans set out to far-off lands like French Polynesia in search of new trade routes, they encountered natives whose bodies were decorated with intricately designed symbols. While the practice of inscribing one’s body with ink likely didn’t originate in the South Pacific (the first records of the art point to the Egyptians), Polynesians were responsible for introducing tattoos to the sailors, who eventually took the custom back home to the West. Today on Moorea, one of the Society Islands, the practice of traditional tattooing remains strong, and James Samuela is its leading artist. At his studio, Moorea Tattoohe uses a tool made of wild-boar tusk, which he taps into the skin with the help of a “stretcher”—an assistant who holds the skin flat. “When I carve the tools, everything I do is by hand, as my ancestors once did. It’s a way to remain close to them,” Samuela says. The design and location of each tattoo have specific meanings, and differ widely among Polynesian communities. “For example, the symbol of the shark is the triangle, but even within Tahiti, it can vary between archipelagoes.” All of Samuela’s designs are one of a kind, and his customers book appointments months in advance. The only thing he won’t tattoo? “Anything stupid.” —Adeline Duff

Swimming in the Zambezi River

We are here to bring you part 4/10 today of the Once in a lifetime Trips worth Flyer for series, which can be found published through Travel and Leisure.

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Swimming in the Zambezi River’s Devil’s Pool, Zambia

Set on the edge of Victoria Falls, in Zambia, the Devil’s Pool lives up to its frightening name. It is a rocky basin that has been hollowed out by thousands of years of erosion as the waters of the Zambezi River swept through it before falling 350 feet downward—twice the height of Niagara. For much of the year, the Devil’s Pool is inaccessible to visitors. But when the river level declines and the current slows between mid-August and mid-January (the region’s dry season), it turns into nature’s version of an infinity pool. These drier months reveal a rock wall at the edge, which acts as a barrier that makes it safe to jump in and take a dip.

Experiencing this thrill requires a boat ride to a small island in the Zambezi River, followed by a swim to a large rock, then finally a leap into the pool. Just inches away, the torrents cascade over the precipice, producing dramatic clouds of rainbow-dappled mist. Your guide will happily take your picture as you pose to make it look like you’re going over. Floating above the roaring falls, it’s easy to understand why the locals call them Mosi-oa-Tunya—“the smoke that thunders.” —Adeline Duff

Flamingo Season in Bolivia

Part 3/10 of the Once in a lifetime trips worth flying for commences today with a bird brain idea (see what I did there).

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Flamingo Season In Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia

Every November, the bright, white nothingness of Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni salt plain—and its neighboring lagoons in the Andean Plateau—is interrupted by a riot of pink, when flamingos in their hundreds flock there to breed. Three different species bedazzle the landscape as they search for algae in the red, white, and green lakes, which get their color from the salt and sediment in the water.

The chance to see the salmon-pink feathers and yellow bills of the rare James’s flamingo is a particular treat for ornithology buffs. The species was thought to be extinct until its rediscovery in the region in 1956, and can be found only in the high-altitude plains of Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia.

The terrain of the world’s largest salt flat, which covers more than 4,500 square miles at an altitude of 12,000 feet, is a surreal vision any time of year. But in spring, to see the pale expanse suddenly blush is an otherworldly sight to behold.

Salar de Uyuni is only a 45-minute flight from the capital city of La Paz. From there, you’ll set off south to observe the flamingos up close, and witness one of the world’s most striking ecosystems come to life. —Adeline Duff

Water Skiing on Cote d’Azur

Below you will find part 2 of the Travel and Leisure series on Once in a lifetime trips worth flying for! What do you think of this one?

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Waterskiing at the Hôtel Belle Rives in Juan-les-pins

Few activities so perfectly encapsulate a place and time as does waterskiing at the Hôtel Belles Rives, on France’s Côte d’Azur. Perched on the glittering Cap d’Antibes peninsula, the property overlooks a bay so calm that in 1931 it inspired an off-duty ski instructor named Léo Roman to test out a dynamic new sport—one that soon took off across Europe. The hotel occupies an Art Deco mansion formerly known as the Villa Saint-Louis, which novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald and his family once rented for two years. In 1929, the house was reborn as a waterfront hotel on the French Riviera. Today the property—and the sport of waterskiing—are still going strong. Indeed, the Belles Rives Ski Nautique, which is open to all, is one of the most prestigious waterskiing clubs in the world. Rosé-sipping hotel guests can while away the hours by watching the tanned bodies glide across the bay. As the daylight fades, guests can relive the golden age of the Riviera at one of the hotel’s regular Great Gatsby–themed parties or by stepping onto the terrace to see the blinking lighthouse that inspired the green light in Fitzgerald’s definitive work. Doubles from $218—Adeline Duff 

 

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Once-in-a-lifetime Trips Worth Flying For

Hello all and welcome to today’s blog. I found a fascinating article about once in a lifetime experience chosen by writers for Travel and Leisure. Check back for the next few blog posts to see all 10!

Adeline Duff

Travel + Leisure‘s Worth Flying For series explores the most singular experiences travelers can have.

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El Rei De La Màgia in Barcelona

El Rei de la Màgia, around the corner from the Picasso Museum in Barcelona’s Barri Gòtic, bills itself as Spain’s oldest magic store. It was founded in 1878 by the great Catalonian conjurer Joaquín Partagás, known in his time as the King of Magic. Visitors pass through the shop’s ornate ruby-red façade to discover shelves and display cases brimming with curios: playing cards, wands that spout flowers, interlocking metal rings, backward clocks, joke candy. The shop makes some of the items on site, including its famous Milk Bulb Trick, in which the performer pours milk into a paper cone, causing it to disappear and then—presto!— miraculously reappear inside the bulb of a lamp.

If you buy a trick, a magician will whisk you behind a black curtain to demonstrate how it works. But El Rei de la Màgia will only sell you a trick they think you can pull off. “We do not sell everything to anybody,” said Sara Fernández, one of the magicians there. “Only what we know you can do and will use.”

When I visited, I saw her transform blank white paper into money while an eight-year-old boy in a cape watched. “I would like this,” the boy said, steepling his fingers. He asked his mother for some money to buy the trick, then followed Fernández behind the curtain to receive her wisdom. A few minutes later, he emerged, exultant. “Now, the secrets are mine,” he told his mother. He swirled his cape and bowed, having suddenly found himself, like so many travelers, on an unexpected stage. —Richard Morgan

Who doesn’t love a little mystery when they travel? Check back each day for a feature on the 10 once in lifetime experiences worth flying for!

 

Ambassador Travel Ltd. | 920.236.7777 | ambassadortravelltd.com

Winter U.S. Travel

 

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Looking to get away this winter? Although the Caribbean and Mexico offer great deals, beautiful resorts and good weather, we have a lot of options right here in the good old U.S. or A. Of course lets be honest when standing out side waiting for the bus or hopping in an ice cold car everyday any warm weather travel sounds great about now. So whether you’re looking for beach, city or a combination of the two we have it right here in the U.S. Take a look at the article I’m sharing below and find your next must visit destination.

LINK: http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/americas-best-cities-for-winter-travel

Interested in one of these locations? It’s time to call Ambassador Travel or go to our website to schedule your next visit today!

 

Ambassador Travel Ltd. | 920.236.7777 | ambassadortravelltd.com

Mama Mia

More places in Italy you never thought to visit (but really should)

Punta Ala, Tuscany

It’s popular with Italians, but – as Telegraph Travel’s Andrew Purvis discovered after a holiday there – very few Britons have discovered the forgotten stretch of coast between Pisa and the tourist honeypots of the Costa d’Argento and the Maremma Natural Park. “Punta Ala lies a few miles south of Follonica, a cheap-and-cheerful tourist town to which Italian descend in their thousands each summer (Maremmans like to call it Miami in Tuscany),” he said. “Punta Ala could not be more different. Leaving the main road, you skirt a cool, shady glade of pines where the smell of damp, sandy humus and sweet resin calls to mind the French Riviera. Through the trees you glimpse secluded wooden chalets, smart residences, woodland gymnasiums, tennis courts, an equestrian centre and private beach clubs. If Follonica is the Miami of Tuscany, Punta Ala is the Newport, Rhode Island.”

Punta Ala: "the Newport, Rhode Island, of Tuscany"
Punta Ala: “the Newport, Rhode Island, of Tuscany”

Lee Marshall, author of our guides to Rome, Florence, Tuscany and Sicily, adds: “One of my favourite stretches of unspoilt Italian coastline lies within the Maremma – a long coastal swathe in southern Tuscany that for centuries was a malarial swamp populated only by a few hardy fishermen and the local cattle rangers known as butteri. The Medici began draining the marshes in the 18th century, but the job wasn’t finished until the Fifties. As a result, this is still a place of wide-open spaces, with most of the towns clustered on hilltops some way inland.

“Since 1975, this area of timeless rural landscapes has been a protected area, the Parco Naturale della Maremma. The horizontal sweep of stone pines, low hills, Mediterranean maquis, beach and sea is at its most pristine in the coastal stretch between the salty little port town of Talamone and the Ombrone estuary, where wild horses and long-horned cattle graze.”

Tim Jepson, our Italy expert, has three other recommendations in the region: Radda in Chianti (“The smallest and most peaceful of the Chianti towns and villages: be sure to visit the nearby Badia di Coltibuono, a tranquil abbey that offers wine tastings and has a wonderful restaurant”), Chiarone (“Some of the longest and quietest beaches in Tuscany – they are also some of the best places to swim and unwind on the coast within striking distance of Rome”), and Montalcino (“Its Brunello wines are prized, but the small town, the surrounding landscapes and Sant’Antimo – Italy’s prettiest abbey – are all worth a visit”).

Lake Orta, Piedmont

“It is one of the country’s most beautiful lakes, yet it remains off the tourist track,” says Kiki Deere, our Italian Lakes expert. “Even Italians haven’t heard of it!”

Found just a few miles west of the better known Maggiore, visitors say it has an ethereal quality to it. Michael Aspel, writing for Telegraph Travel, compared it to an opera set. “I’ve been going there for 40 years or more, having discovered it when I went on holiday to Italy with a BBC cameraman,” he said. “As we were driving along a road, I spotted some water below, went to investigate and simply fell in love with this pretty little jewel of a lake, with an island crowned by a 14th-century basilica.”

Lake Orta, the Italian Lakes experience on an intimate scale
Lake Orta, the Italian Lakes experience on an intimate scale CREDIT: CRISFERRA – FOTOLIA

Tim Jepson agrees: “If you want an unspoiled Italian Lakes experience on an intimate scale, go for Orta. Like the main lakes of Garda, Como and Maggiore, it has its built-up portions – Omegna is the main culprit – but the west shore, especially, is divine. Orta San Giulio is the lake’s best overall base, and its quaint main square, Piazza Mario Motta, is the point of embarkation for boats to the lake’s little island, Isola San Giulio.”

 Ascoli Piceno, Le Marche

The Marche region, east of Umbria, is kinder to the pocket but can’t quite match Tuscany when it comes to landscapes, handsome towns and first-rank culture – with a few exceptions.

“A fine central piazza and celebrated food – notably olives – mark out the small town of Ascoli Piceno, close to the Adriatic coast,” says Tim Jepson. “It’s also within striking distance of the region’s finest scenery, the Monte Sibillini National Park.

“Nearby Urbino, with its superb Ducal Palace, is larger and better known, but also remains relatively unvisited.”

He also advises making tracks for San Leo, “a hill town with sweeping views and a castle that Dante described as one of the most redoubtable in Italy.”

Urbino
Urbino

Ostuni, Puglia

Another of Tim Jepson’s picks. He says: “Visitors to Puglia are often tempted to the town Lecce in the belief that it is a ‘Baroque Florence’. In fact, the region’s smaller, Greek-like ‘white’ villages, notably Ostuni, are far more interesting to explore.”

Fiona Hardcastle recommends it too in her guide to the region, as well as Alberobello, home to more than a thousand dome-roofed, hobbit-like “trulli”, Locorotundo, with a maze of ivory-stone lanes in its old town and a pretty church at the summit, and Martina Franca, whose “grand monuments, archways and polished piazzas give way to the faded beauty of labyrinthine streets”.

Turin, Piedmont

Kiki Deere explains: “While the city is of course well known, it does not often feature on the itinerary of foreign tourists. The first capital of unified Italy, Turin has a gorgeous baroque centre and is home to the world’s second-largest collection of Egyptian artefacts at the Museo Egizio.”

Kate Simon, in her guide to spending a weekend in Turin, adds: “There are art nouveau and contemporary structures – such as Renzo Piano’s bold conversion of the Fiat factory – to marvel at, too.

“Although Milan hogs the commercial spotlight these days, Turin has a palpably industrious spirit. This is the home of Italy’s car industry, its first cinema, and arguably chocolate; it’s the place in which vermouth and Nutella were invented, and it gave birth to the Slow Food movement. It’s all there to explore and easily so.”

Turin, the first capital of unified Italy
Turin, the first capital of unified Italy CREDIT: FOTOLIA

Cala Gonone, Sardinia

Robert Andrews, our Sardinia expert, advises eschewing the glamour (and sky-high prices) of the Costa Smeralda in favour of this lesser-known gem. “It’s Cala Gonone’s very inaccessibility that forms a good part of its appeal,” he says.

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