Newport Rhode Island, the Ocean State

May 3, 2012

It’s the middle of summer and the heat is rising. What is the best way to escape? Traveling north to Newport, Rhode Island. This coastal city, located in Aquidneck Island, is not just a relaxing getaway with resorts, restaurants and amusements, but also an area that is rich in history. Enter through Bellevue Avenue and you’ll instantly see how history effortlessly converges with the present.

Activities and Eateries
One of the first aspects of Newport you are bound to recognize are the grandiose architectural structures. After the Revolutionary Era, the city entered the Gilded Age and flourished with summer retreats like the The Elms and The Marble House. In the 1980’s, these estates were estimated at most, $11 million dollars. Now, reappraised at double or even triple the amount, the Vanderbilt mansions are open as historical landmarks.

In addition to the Mansion viewings, there is also the Newport Art Museum and Art Association, located just a short distance from the mansions, at another historical landmark called the Griswold House. There, you will have a chance to see the current work and versatile skills of other Newport artists.

To get an in-depth view of the mansions plus Newport’s natural surroundings, it is highly encouraged to leisurely walk along the Cliffwalks. Along this eastern shore, you will also catch refreshing, ocean breezes and breathtaking views of the water.

There are more recreational ways to appreciate the city besides walking and site seeing. Visitors can golf a full round of holes at Newport National Golf Club, play tennis at the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum, or participate in sailing tours leaving Bannister’s Wharf.

There are lists of unique Newport restaurants, each set apart very differently from the next. David Ray’s Clark Cooke House, located by the Bannister’s Wharf, is a perfect example. It is a quaint, five-level restaurant famous for tender meat and fresh seafood. You can choose to dine in your own fashion: eat privately in The Club Room or eat and dance it off at the discotheque in The Boom Boom Room. A second place is La Maison du Coco’s truffles and French pastry shop. Because the shop is found only in Newport, it’s the perfect excuse to try one of pastry chef Michele Luca-Verley’s delicate sweets. Make the dessert trip even more exciting and exclusive and ask to learn how to make a puff pastry.

The resorts in Newport are impeccable. If you wish to stay at the bucolic Castle Hill Inn, a beachside 19th century mansion, then you will have six different types of rooms to choose from. In addition to its award-winning resort, the Castle Hill also has a fine-dining restaurant for guests. With their food, diners can enjoy a complimentary view of the sunset.

Forty 1° North Marina Resort is indeed “not just a location, it’s a destination,” as their tagline states. The Marina is also located next to the water, however unlike Castle Hill, it has a more modern flair. If the interior décor does not show it enough, then maybe the Apple iPads placed in each guest room will. During your stay, take advantage of the resorts two restaurants: The Grill, which provides a more up-scale dining experience; or Christie’s, where the atmosphere is filled with lively color.

A third hotspot is the Viking Hotel, which is re-vamped and better than ever. This past March, the hotel completed the last of their renovations. Now, if you are looking for something that encompasses both traditional and modern elements, this luxurious hotel is a good choice. An added bonus to this hotel is that it’s found to be particularly accommodating because of its easy accessibility to other fine-dining restaurants and amusements.

The Best of Both Worlds
While the once family owned mansions remain as public attractions, there are other Victorian houses like Thomas Quinn’s Laurelawn, also along Bellevue Avenue, which are still homes. Quinn, a lawyer and Georgetown resident, was born in Rhode Island and grew up spending many summers spent in Newport.

Though he says that he holds D.C. close to his heart, he cannot deny the other weight of sentiments attached to his private summer getaway. It is where five Quinn generations have shared memories, such as engagement parties for his two sons and a post-debut party for his niece. He summed up Newport saying, “It’s not just one thing, but a variety of things including the weather, the old world charm, architecture, the variety of interests, the colorful people, top notch golf, tennis, sailing, and most of all, the fresh air and ocean.”
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Summer Restaurant Week

It’s that time again! Well…almost. For those of you who have been waiting patiently, Washington D.C.’s Summer Restaurant Week is just a couple weeks away; however, if you’ve never participated in one of this city’s most highlighted events, then make sure you don’t miss out this time.

From Aug. 15 through 21, over 200 restaurants from the Metropolitan area invite friends, families, and even visitors to try the best eats of the area at the most unbeatable prices. Whether it is at 1789, a Georgetown restaurant where the Obamas recently dined, or at one of the 2011 RAMMY Award-winning restaurants like Wolfgang Puck’s The Source, lunch is priced at $20.11 and dinner is $35.11 for a fixed three-course menu.

In a recent press release, Lynne Breaux, president of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington said, “The D.C. area restaurant scene is certainly hot. We have seen a great number of new restaurants open throughout the last year and many are participating in Summer Restaurant Week – offering guests the chance to enjoy, perhaps a place they’ve never been before or visit an old favorite at an excellent value.”

A full list of participating restaurants can be found at Check which fine dining or casual restaurants interest your taste buds and make a reservation online or by calling in. Hurry as seats fill quickly!

As you close summer 2011, make sure to keep D.C. Beer Week in mind too.

Coinciding with Restaurant Week, from Aug. 14 through 21, various breweries and taps will have a selection of beers and cocktails offered at special prices. The variety of events and deals will take place depending on the time, day, and location. To find more information about the participating bars, visit

Matha’s Vineyard & Nantucket

Like Georgetown, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island are two New England destinations where rich history, boutiques, food and culture all come together. These two islands are unarguably ideal for any Georgetowner to visit. While both are havens for travel, they are also uniquely different. Which destination is a matter of personal preference, but who knows, you may like both, so why pick just one?

Martha’s Vineyard Island
Also called “The Vineyard,” the island is accessible by boat or plane only. Traveling by a ferryboat takes approximately 90 minutes, depending on the port and weather conditions.

Within the island are six towns, each area possessing something to call its own. Just to list a few, in Chilmark, there is The Yard, a seasonal live-performing theatre; Farm Neck Golf Club, an 18-hole course in Oak Bluffs; and a boat cruise to watch the sunset from the waters at Charter Cruise, located in Edgartown. The island’s compact size is in the traveler’s favor. With communities located so closely together, visitors can walk, take a bus, or ride a water taxi to navigate through town.

You will instantly find other reasons to fall in love with this northeast Atlantic gem. The Vineyard is also packed with world-class accommodations for families and couples. Travelers should look into Hob Knob, a boutique hotel located near the coast in Edgartown. This resort encompasses everything from guest rooms to bed and breakfast villas.

The Hob Knob’s Rejuvenation Spa also provides incredible therapeutic services. If relaxation is what you’re looking for, then you can’t possibly leave without a Hob Knob Signature Facial or Ocean Deep massage.

Winnetude Oceanside Resort is another great place to stay. Conveniently located just 250 yards from South Beach, guests will be inundated by the resort’s activities, accommodations, and dining experience (Lure Grill’s). From Winnetude, Guests can get a taste of nostalgia by taking an antique fire truck ride, go bicycling, or take a yoga class out on the lawn.

The panoramic views also serve as a perfect backdrop for any occasion and often serve as the setting for family reunions, weddings and reception at the Oceanside.

But the island’s biggest attractions are its beaches – a total of six sandy shores ring the island:Joseph Silva, Moshup, Menemsha, South Beach, Lighthouse Beach, and Norton Point. Each beach is exclusive and private enough for visitors to enjoy the surrounding waters and sun with minimal interruptions.

In addition to these natural attractions and recreational activities, there are many other events and restaurants. Fine dining attractions such as The Atlantic not only serve delicious meals, but also host bands for entertainment. The Sweet Life Café, an eatery serving French-American infused cuisine, and The Grill on Main, a participating Martha’s Vineyard’s Restaurant Week establishment, are other great “must taste” restaurants. For a full listing of events and participating Restaurant Week locations, visit

Lawrel Spera, the public relations and marketing manager of the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce described this vacation getaway, saying, “Nantucket has so much to offer and is the perfect combination of the old and new, the historic and the modern sophisticate. More than 800 pre-Civil War homes line the cobblestone streets of town among world-class lodgings, restaurants, shops and galleries. Beyond stretch miles of bike paths, pristine beaches and conservation lands to explore – there is truly something for everyone to enjoy.”

Nantucket is a bit farther out, about 26 miles from the coast, and is the only official historic district on the water. Like Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket is accessible by a ferryboat or airplane; however, unlike The Vineyard, the area is more spread out, allowing ocean breezes to sweep the island.

Just because summer is almost over, do not hesitate to visit Nantucket and its ten beaches in September or in April. Associating this destination only with the warmer seasons is a commonly made assumption, but it is in fact temperate throughout the year. Because Nantucket is located in the ocean’s jet streams, the waters are actually cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Regardless of when you visit, the Union Street Inn is a Fodor’s Gold Choice Award bed and breakfast boutique that is sure to keep you warm or cool, depending on the season. It is designed with a rich combination of past and present and also comfort that is undeniable. The calm and family-oriented getaway draws visitors in like a cozy home.

Another quaint stay to consider is White Elephant Hotel Residences. Picketed in by a white fence and porch, this luxury hotel is Nantucket’s latest accommodation. Everything about White Elephant, the fine interior touches, the pool, cabanas, and last but not least, the spa, all factor in to make this resort picture perfect.

Depending on your vacation’s timeline, there is also a plethora of events and activities that take place such as: The Nantucket Wine Festival, fishing, and boating, four-wheeling down The Wildlife Refuge Natural History Excursion and other specified events listed in a calendar of “Special Event Weekends.” In addition, Nantucket is the home to award-winning James Beard restaurants and other fine-dining restaurants such as Brant Point Grill or Galley Beach, which overlooks the harbor and sunset. Be mindful though, that these dining opportunities are limited. Some restaurants like The Topper’s are open seasonally from May to October.
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Outer Banks, NC

July 19, 2011

Stretching down more than half of North Carolina’s coast, the Outer Banks offers a great deal of luxurious homes away from home, delicious eats, and activities best for anyone and everyone. Take a pick from the three major areas of this Mid-Atlantic beach getaway: Northern Beach, Hatteras Island, or Roanoke Island. Regardless of where you are—in the waters, along the shores, or farther inland, iconic destination is sure to satisfy all your summer beach fancies.

Where to Stay

If you’re looking for some real rest, don’t let your plans overlook a reservation at The Sanderling Resort & Spa in Northern Beach. You (and your pet) will sleep comfortably in the individually decorated inns, only to wake up to this beachside resort’s panoramic views of the ocean. Immediately after, step outside to enjoy a sun-shining day. Or, perhaps if you need a break from the sun, you will allow your body to self-indulge at the spa with treatments that use only the coastline’s best natural resources.

At the opposite end, The Castle B & B is another great villa located at Ocracoke Island (accessible by ferry only). These inns too, individually decorated with classic, antique pieces welcomes you for the coziest comfort. Enjoy the Castle’s setting enclosed by the quaint docks and serene waters.

What to Do

Besides fishing at Hatteras Islands Fishing Pier in Rodanthe or boating at Pirate’s Cove Marina in Manteo (Roanoke Islands), there are many other “things to do!” Nearby Pirate’s Cove Marina is the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. It’s a great place for kids and families to learn and get a close-up of the Bank’s marine life.

If you’re an archetypal adventurist, take a dare at Jockey Ridge State Park’s tallest sand dunes in Nags Head (Northern Beach). You can sand-board or paraglide from the peaks of the sandy hills or take a self-guided hike in and out of the valleys. If the waters are what you’re looking for instead, try kayaking, windsurfing, or simply swimming with the current on the other side of the park.

For those looking for something less recreational, the “shop ‘til you drop” activity might be a better idea. Also located in Nags Had, Tanger Outlet has stores with designer brand names like Polo and Tommy Hilfiger.
Other Great Activities

Wild Horse Adventure Tours (Corolla, NC) – Take a guided tour on an open or closed-top vehicle or rent your own jeep and sightsee the wild horses of Corolla Beach.
Visit the Lighthouses (locations vary) – Each lighthouse has its own charm and history. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Currituck Beach Lighthouse are open to climb, but the Ocracoke Lighthouse and the Bodie Island Lighthouse are not.

Where to Eat

Don’t let the name fool you, but Awful Arthur’s Oyster Bar is actually awfully delicious. Located in Kill Devil Hills for over 25 years, this stop is famous for their assortment of fresh seafood and thirst-quenching brews. Come out and enjoy the food and friendly community like one of the locals.

Make a second food stop at Tale of the Whale in Nags Head. This dining experience is promising with their principle, “To serve good food in ample portions with superior service in a comfortable setting.” Offering everything from cocktails, wines, and beer to clam chowder, pasta, and ribs, this restaurant offers an unforgettable experience for any individual, couple, or largely grouped families.

If you’re looking for a little more excitement and uniqueness, check out Mama Kwan’s. Not only does this grille feature a pallet of Hawaiian flavors and a medley of the island’s native aromas, but also live entertainment. Make sure to make it out here where a lunch and dinner experience is more than just a meal.
Other Great Restaurants:

The Pearl (Kill Devil Hills, NC) – An oceanfront, fine dining, French restaurant. If you want to avoid dining-in, call for a private chef.

Metropolis (Corolla, NC) – A tapas bar with a fusion of beverages; Offers a great ambiance especially for adults.
High Cotton (Kitty Hawk, NC) – A barbecue house faithful to Northeastern Carolina’s smoked flavors. [gallery ids="100227,106491,106489" nav="thumbs"]

Camberely Homes Unveiled

June 8, 2011

“The Centennial Collection employs state-of-the-art construction methods and energy-saving features to provide a high performance home that ultimately can save homeowners money and reduces their impact on the environment. By exceeding the International Energy Conservation Code, we believe the Camberley Centennial Collection delivers a luxury home at the leading edge of the home building trend that satisfies the needs of today’s increasingly environmentally conscious consumer.”
– Alan Shapiro, president of Winchester Homes.

Awareness for energy efficiency is rapidly growing. Taking action, Montgomery County sets a precedent by executing a law disclosing energy expenses to new homeowners. Raising the bar to “go green,” Montgomery County showcases it’s benefits on May 9th, 2011 with Camberely Homes’ most cutting edge home design.

In Popular Run’s community of Silver Spring, Maryland,Camberely Homes, a luxury home building division of Winchester Homes, will have revealed the first Building America/Builders Challenge home. Built in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the home is found as a new success,balanced with science and art as it exceeds more than 40 percent of energy efficiency and Winchester Homes’ consumers’ Your Home. Your Way™standards.

The innovative models, named as the Centennial Collection, showcases the U.S. Department of Energy’s effort to push forth for more affordable, environmental friendly homes while encompassing the exact style of its prospective homeowner.

A computer energy model called Residential Energy Service Network (RESNET) Home Energy Rating System (HERS) indexed less than 60 versus compared to the 100 found in a standard home, hence the 40 percent plus savings in energy. While these numbers provide credible statistics, the architectural floor plans construct a design to avoid futile space and more artistic appeal.

Camberley Homes, a winner of the Gala Award Winner for Best Architecture and Design in 2010, welcomes you to be in awe of its Centennial Collection. It’s new, fresh, innovative achievement opens doors for home building pioneers and wilder dream homes.
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