5 Reasons to Shop NYC’s Grand Central Holiday Fair

If you’re one of the million (literally) people who pass through New York City’s Grand Central Station each day, holiday shopping is a whole lot easier with a  swing by the Holiday Fair just off the station’s iconic main hall.

In a carefully curated and inventive collection of vendors and artisans, this is a pop-up market with a soul. A clear emphasis on locally sourced and socially conscious businesses rests easy with the range of unique, whimsical and high-quality goods on offer – no tacky “covered clothes pin” ornaments here. No jellies, no cutesy pet gifts either. Just great stuff.

Here are (at least) 5 reasons why you should check it out and a map to guide you.  Continue reading “5 Reasons to Shop NYC’s Grand Central Holiday Fair”

How to have the perfect lunch: Sweden’s Daniel Berlin Krog

In Sweden’s southernmost agricultural heartland, about an hour from Copenhagen’s airport, lies Daniel Berlin’s dining experience, outside the town of Tomelilla. To call it a restaurant doesn’t do justice to the careful preparation and exquisite presentation of a bounty of local food, in the hands of a team who respect the palate’s  power to delight, nurture, comfort and celebrate.

Paired with 5 wines hailing from France, Germany, and Spain – from dry whites to a sweeter Muscadelle that foreshadowed the close of the meal – the lunch tasting menu was a taste bud explosion. Over 12 courses, all ingredients are grown on site or sourced locally, excepting the dessert’s Tanzanian chocolate. On a brilliant autumn afternoon, here are some highlights. You’ll be booking a table, I promise. Continue reading “How to have the perfect lunch: Sweden’s Daniel Berlin Krog”

A New York City Must: City Wine Tours

What better way to spend a weekend afternoon than sipping – and learning about – wine? City Wine Tours makes it happen with small groups, a friendly, knowledgeable guide and select venues in hip neighborhoods, in both  New York and Boston. A must for visitors and locals alike.

An “experience” rather than a “thing,” it’s a great holiday gift, perfect for anyone with even the slight interest in wine, from millennials to boomers. Believe me, they’ll  toast you with the first pour. Nothing wrong with gifting yourself, either (and this post offers a discount coupon). 

I wouldn’t recommend anything I hadn’t tried, so here’s how my tour went:
Continue reading “A New York City Must: City Wine Tours”

Why this is a spa for your soul: Sweden’s amazing Nyrups Naturhotell

If you yearn for the different, the soulful, a stay at Nyrups Naturhotell is the answer. Deep in the birch and beech forests of Skåne, Sweden’s southernmost province, near the town of Höör, this experience brings the essence of living in communion with nature to the post-modern, complicated world. No glitzy fanfare, no need to travel to remote corners or to bring anything special beyond an open mind. The secret sauce is the simple power of nature.  As it turns out, that’s pretty potent.

Continue reading “Why this is a spa for your soul: Sweden’s amazing Nyrups Naturhotell”

Nordic Noir goes to the spa: Sweden’s Ystad Saltsjobad

It was Inspector Kurt Wallander, the fictional lead of the eponymous “Nordic noir” PBS/Masterpiece series, that interested me in Ystad in the first place.  Coastal, windswept, with a rich history dating back a millennium, it seemed an appropriate setting not only for crime stories but also as a place to launch a 5-day road trip through Skane, Sweden’s southernmost province.  I was determined to start with a spa. The venerable Ystad Saltsjöbad, with various packages and ad hoc services, was the perfect fit. The seaside location was a strong plus; to my mind, nothing is more restorative.  An easy reach by car from Copenhagen’s airport.  It was an inspired choice; I knew I would regret that my schedule allowed for only an overnight stay.  Continue reading “Nordic Noir goes to the spa: Sweden’s Ystad Saltsjobad”

Style and Substance in Notting Hill

A few months ago, 3 Score recommended five Notting Hill ‘must’ destinations and a recent visit affirmed their places on the list. Re-visiting  a place brings it into sharper focus; it’s a chance to drill down and experience the neighborhood at close range. And drill down I did, spending about three weeks, so the least I can do is share discoveries along Notting Hill’s All Saints Road.

So with a nod to my earlier post, here are a few stops to add to your Notting Hill itinerary ….all mapped out.

Continue reading “Style and Substance in Notting Hill”

Stratford Hall: A Historic Getaway in Virginia’s Northern Neck

 

A mid-October weekend found me at Stratford Hall, a historic house museum on the coastal plain of central Virginia known as the Northern Neck. It’s nestled between the Potomac and the Rappahannock rivers, about an hour from Fredericksburg, VA.  It was a weekend of discovery, and I wished I lived closer to visit more often.

The region was the cradle of the American revolutionary movement, an outcome of a wealthy, sophisticated, and learned society that honed a uniquely American philosophy honoring civic duty and informed by the values of the Enlightenment.

In this context, I learned that Thomas Lee, patriarch of the Lee family, acquired land along the Potomac in 1713, built a successful tobacco and shipping enterprise.  Over the next century, the Lees contributed much to the formation of our  fledgling nation – 2 Lee brothers signed the Declaration of Independence – and their influence extended for decades afterward.

Robert E. Lee, who ably led the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, was born at Stratford Hall in 1807.

Nearly three hundred years later, the Lee family’s iconic home, Stratford Hall, is a touchstone to our nation’s agrarian past and start as a Republic. Here’s why you should go….

Continue reading “Stratford Hall: A Historic Getaway in Virginia’s Northern Neck”