Harbor View Hotel on Martha’s Vineyard, an official hotel sponsor of the 14th annual Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival that runs March 13-16, is offering filmgoers two all-access packages. Throughout the festival, guests can go to screenings of more than 20 films, post-screening talks, live music, food and children’s activities, at a starting rate of $439 for the Festival Pass package. Starting at $639, The Couch VIP Pass package provides preferred seating on a couch in each theater. Both packages include a two-night stay, including taxes and guaranteed access to all films.
Films include “Fading Gigolo,” with Sofia Vergara, Woody Allen, Sharon Stone and John Turturro; “Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory,” a documentary showing the positive effect of music on Alzheimer’s patients; and “Shored Up,” which focuses on issues surrounding East Coast communities dealing with coastal erosion and rising sea levels. For package info and reservations, visit www.harbor-view.com or call 800-225-6005, and for info on the festival, visit www.tmvff.org
If you find yourself in Maine through March 10 and get hungry, consider the sixth annual Maine Restaurant Week, with more than 100 restaurants offering pre-fixe menus at set prices, $25, $35, $45, and $55. To find the complete list and breakdown, visit www.mainerestaurantweek.com, or check out a free mobile app for iPhone users, the MRW App.
"No artificial ingredients" gives way to essential in Costa Rica. The Costa Rica Tourism Board officially unveiled the country’s new brand, “essential Costa Rica,” at the New York Times Travel Show recently, replacing the ingredients tag. It is one the board hopes will not just shine the tourism light on the Central American country, but used as a tool to attract international investors and boost foreign trade.
“The brand is an opportunity for us to present a comprehensive look at our evolving nation and share attributes that visitors may find surprising,” said Costa Rica Tourism Board General Manager, Juan Carlos Borbón.
The launch was five years in the making, undergoing four phases of research and development which included analyzing the travel market and Costa Rica’s place in it, and using focus groups to determine the favored brand. The initiative, which cost $650,000, was led by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, the country’s ministry of foreign trade and the Foreign Trade Promoter, Borbon said, with the brand and logo done by Future Brand.
If you’re an Olympics fan, you may have seen it. It was first introduced during commercials during the 2014 games in Sochi, and will appear on labels and tags of all tourism-related marketing materials as well as many of Costa Rica’s top imports
For information on the country, go to www.visitcostarica.com
Women have made inroads to the male-dominated world of fine dining, and one event, “Dinner by Dames,” aims to showcase the talents of some of Rhode Island’s finest female chefs on March 5.
Chefs Melissa Denmark of Gracie’s and Ellie’s Bakery, Jordan Goldsmith of Garden Grille, Maria Meza of El Rancho Grande, Kaitlyn Roberts of Easy Entertaining Inc., and Jessica Wood of the Fire and Water Restaurant Group, are gathering at The Café at Easy Entertaining, 166 Valley St., Providence, to create signature dishes for dinner guests. The event starts at 6 p.m. with a reception of welcome bites from each chef, and proceeds to a five-course dinner.
For Roberts, working with fellow females is beneficial, because “they tend to be a little bit more collaborative. The spirit when women get together is palpable, so I look forward to sharing the energy of the night.”Cost is $85 per person, which includes sales tax and tip. An optional wine pairing, selected by Jessica Granatiero of The Savory Grape Wine Shop, will be available for purchase, as well as a la carte wine selections. For tickets and full info, visit eatdrinkri.com/dames"
Pictured, from left: Melissa Denmark, Jessica Wood, Maria Meza, Kaitlyn Roberts and Jordan Goldsmith. Photo by David Dadekian
Fly between Boston and San Francisco (SFO) or Los Angeles (LAX) in Virgin America's first-class cabin starting March 4 and enjoy new linen table service, cocktail hors d'oeuvres and, best of all for passengers flying eastbound from SFO, ice cream created just for Virgin America.
The airline has worked with San Francisco's favorite ice cream maker, Humphry Slocombe (known for its unusual and inventive creations), to come up with three top flavors, one of which will become Virgin's signature treat. If you're traveling through SFO's Terminal 2 today, you can sample the following flavors up until 3 p.m. PT and cast your vote: #ButterByMoodlight, which is a creamy combination of brown butter and blueberry glaze; #RedHotBanana, which combines buttery banana cream with sweet cinnamon spice from mashed Red Hot candies; and #CoconutBlondAmbition, which salutes Virgin's founder, Sir Richard Branson, and includes Humphry Slocombe’s signature vanilla marshmallow fluff, a lemon citrus sorbet, and creamy coconut. You have until the end of the day on February 28 to vote by tweeting the flavor's hashtagged name.
Not traveling first class? You can still get a free scoop of ice cream at Humphry Slocombe's two San Francisco shops (located in the Ferry Building and on Harrison Street in the Mission), anytime from March 4 to June 30, by presenting your Virgin America boarding pass.
As part of the new first-class menu, you can enjoy the new roasted tomato, marinated artichoke heart, and olive and mozzarella skewer hors d'oeuvre while sipping your in-flight cocktail. Then choose from a healthy mixed-herb or green bean salad for your starter and entrees that include chicken breast with apple fig compote, or a protein plate with mixed nuts and edamame hummus.
The new menu, which varies by route, will also launch March 4 on flights between San Francisco or Los Angeles and Newark, New York, and Washington D.C.
Graphics: Virgin America
The likes of New Mexico, Virginia, and Idaho are all leaving the rest of the US in the dust when it comes to performance, and we’re not talking about Symphony Hall here either.
According to date provided by Spreadsheets App, which Nerve calls “a mobile app that uses your phone's accelerometer and speakers to provide statistical feedback about your duration, thrusts, and decibel peak,” New England states Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, and Connecticut are all in the middle of the pack when it comes to sex duration in America. Poor Vermont came in 49th place, with an average time of just 1:48.
According to Nerve:
Of course, with all wearable and quantified tech comes a gamification component. Spreadsheets shared the stats of its 10,000 early adopters so we could investigate who has cross-country endurance and who's a one-minute wonder. Averaging the intercourse time of all users in the United States (the app doesn't cover foreplay), we've provided a ranking of duration in minutes for all 50 states and the District of Columbia as a little bonus. While finishing times of under three minutes may surprise you, remember that these are just the averages among two-pump chumps and Lotharios alike. Besides, previous research has shown that, despite the hubbub about hours-long tantric sessions, intercourse itself usually only lasts for about 3 to 13 minutes.
Here’s the complete list that Nerve came up with:
1. New Mexico - (7:01)
2. West Virginia - (5:38)
3. Idaho - (5:11)
4. South Carolina - (4:48)
5. Missouri - (4:22)
6. Michigan -(4:14)
7. Utah - (3:55)
8. Oregon - (3:51)
9. Nebraska - (3:47)
10. Alabama - (3:38)
11. Delaware - (3:33)
12. Hawaii - (3:28)
13. Wisconsin - (3:22)
14. North Dakota - (3:18)
15. Arizona - (3:17)
16. Maryland - (3:15)
17. Mississippi - (3:10)
18. Rhode Island - (3:09)
19. Connecticut - (3:07)
20. Texas - (3:06)
21. New Hampshire - (3:04)
22. Wyoming - (3:03)
23. New York - (3:01)
24. Pennsylvania - (2:58)
25. Maine - (2:58)
26. Washington - (2:51)
27. Iowa - (2:50)
28. Illinois - (2:49)
29. North Carolina - (2:47)
30. Tennessee - (2:46)
31. Kansas - (2:38)
32. California - (2:38)
33. Massachusetts - (2:31)
34. Florida - (2:29)
35. New Jersey - (2:28)
36. Indiana - (2:26)
37. Virginia - (2:23)
38. Oklahoma - (2:21)
39. Colorado - (2:21)
40. Minnesota - (2:19)
41. Ohio - (2:18)
42. Louisiana - (2:17)
43. Kentucky - (2:14)
44. Arkansas - (2:08)
45. District of Columbia - (2:08)
46. Nevada - (2:07)
47. Georgia - (2:07)
48. Montana - (2:03)
49. Vermont - (1:48)
50. South Dakota - (1:30)
51. Alaska - (1:21)
Mystic Country Connecticut, a branded destination, is a happening place, and the tourism folks there have just announced a pretty impressive range of stuff going on there this year. New are a bunch of restaurants (Haru Aki Café, Dog Lane Café, Geno’s Grill among them), as well as celebrations of several anniversaries, including the Bicentennial Battle of Stonington in the War of 1812 and the town of Ashford’s 300th birthday, and the first Guinness Oyster Festival.
For a full listing of events, plus tips on lodging, restaurants, family adventures and many other things Mystic Country, visit www.seemysticcountryct.com
Yoga lovers, check this out: The first Bermuda Yoga Festival is scheduled for April 3-6 on the grounds of the Fairmont Southampton, featuring a variety of yoga, wellness classes and workshops. You can pick from 42 master classes and sessions and take part in things like wisdom talks, meditation, qigong and ecstatic dance, according to a festival press release (we had to look up “qigong,” which translates to “life energy cultivation”). Teachers and presenters include Elena Browner of Virayoga; Kia Miller of Radiant Body Yoga; Rusty Wells of Bhakti Flow; Beryl Bender Birch of The Hard & Soft Yoga Institute; and Nischala Joy Devi of Yoga of the Heart.
Travelers can buy an all-access pass to the festival for $505. Day passes are available from $45-$445. Check it out at www.bermudayogafestival.com
Here is a surfing pig in Hawaii. No further commentary needed.
Is your family adventurous? If so, check out the first “Wilderness Games” at The Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, Montana this spring, with friendly competitive events, outdoor adventure, gourmet cuisine and high-end digs. The family racking up the highest cumulative score get a return trip, airfare included, a $25,000 value. Fun events include an archery competition with the same bow model, a Hoyt Buffalo Bow, used by the character Katniss Everdeen, in the “Hunger Games” movie series. Other events include horseback riding, cattle drives, sporting-clay shooting, an egg-and-spoon race (on horseback), and fly-casting “golf.”
You have a choice of three weekends to do it, March 26-29, April 2-5 and April 9-12. In addition to the grand prize, each weekend, prizes will be given to families with highest scores. Inclusive rates run from $405 to $560 per person per night. Games are suitable for kids ages eight and older. For information, call 800-473-0601 or visit www.pawsup.com
Celebrating the Oscar-nominated “Wolf of Wall Street,” FLUXX Nightclub in San Diego invites partygoers to experience a decadent and lavish lifestyle like Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, with a “Wolf of Wall Street Party Package.” But you better have Belfort-style money: It’ll cost you $50,000. But you do get what the club calls its “ultimate VIP package,” including transportation in a Rolls Royce, a private, catered dinner on a luxury yacht in San Diego Bay, and Mighty Mike, the club’s little-person superhero, delivering an “Ace of Spades” six-liter champagne bottle to your private table. Oh, and luxury digs, of course, a one-night stay at downtown Hotel Palomar in a two-bedroom penthouse suite. Book by calling 619-232-8100 and check out the club at www.fluxxsd.com
In the spirit of Valentine's Day, Travel and Leisure has calculated America's most romantic towns, and two New England spots made the top 10.
The list was decided upon a number of factors, including brunch spots, farmer's markets, wine scenes, picnic-friendly parks, and gay friendliness. Burlington, Vt. came in at No. 6, while Portsmouth, N.H. was No. 9.
Here's what the publication had to say about each:
Burlington - Rudyard Kipling supposedly once said that Lake Champlain -- the centerpiece of America's best college town -- was the sweetest place in the world to watch a sunset. Readers, meanwhile, loved Burlington for other romantically oriented times of day, such as cocktail hour (it ranked in the top 10 for cool bars), brunch, and the all-important dessert. One sip of Lake Champlain Chocolates' decadent hot cocoas is all it takes to see why the town also scored highly for caf￩s and ranks among the top 10 for winter wonderland holiday-season visits.
Portsmouth - Even if winters get chilly here, readers didn't care, giving it high marks for snuggle-ready weather. A great indoor date spot: The Music Hall, a refurbished 1878 theater that presents classic movies and live, unplugged music. Good wine was a major indicator of romance in the readers' survey, but this historic waterfront town woos lovers who love craft beer. The town was once the biggest beer producer in America and is now home to charming breweries such as Portsmouth Brewery and Smuttynose.
FlightCar, said to be the world’s first peer-to-peer car-sharing company to run at airports, launched a new business-traveler service, which began in Boston Feb. 4. The new option gives business travelers who typically expense their parking to pay $15 a day for airport parking, while earning up to 50 cents per mile when their car is rented. Company officials said this builds on the success of offering travelers a free airport parking option near Logan International and in San Francisco and Los Angeles that pays 20 cents a mile.
“While many of our car-sharing customers love the option of free airport parking, we’ve had a lot of requests from members who are business travelers for an additional option to get cheap parking rates yet a higher mileage reimbursement,” said Rujul Zaparde, FlightCar CEO and founder. “We’re answering the demand and giving frequent business travelers who treat their parking as a business expense an opportunity to turn their unused vehicle parked at the airport into a personal revenue generator.”
FlightCar introduced its car-sharing service a year ago and now has more than 13,000 members, nearly half of which have parked at lots in the three cities it services. FlightCar also offers free GPS, car seats and liability insurance up to $1 million. The service drops off and picks up car sharers and renters free of charge at terminals. Free parking and a car wash are offered even when a car sharer’s vehicle isn’t rented. Officials said with users averaging around 60 miles a day, the business traveler service can make frequent travelers who use it about $120 a week.
For full info, visit www.flightcar.com
There are still warm places to get away to in the cold of winter at discount rates. Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort in Curacao is offering 35-percent off its all-inclusive package through April 30, where $274 gets you a room, all meals, unlimited drinks, discount golf rates and free hikes, beach tennis and other recreational stuff. Book at www.santabarbararesortcuracao.com/caribbean_deals/all-inclusive-web
Marriott is running a “More is Less” offer, where guests save 10-20 percent depending on length of stay, in resorts from Florida to Hawaii. The offer is good from Feb. 28 to March 31 and rates start at $110 a night. Check it out at www.sometimesmoreisless.com and use promotion code D3Q
The JW and CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resorts in Mexico have a “Better than a Sweater” deal starting at $209 at CasaMagna Marriott and $379 at JW Marriott Cancun, giving guests a $50 resort credit, free internet, and a beach tote with waterproof camera, facial towel, sun block and gel. Book at www.casamagnacancun.com and www.jwmarriottcancun.com using promo code BK9. Valid for travel through April 22.
It’s never too soon to start thinking about golf, particularly this time of year. Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort in Jamaica and Sandals Emerald Bay in Great Exuma, Bahamas, have a deal going for groups of golfers. Both offer a 12th room free (four-night minimum booking in second room category or higher), with Sandals Grande Riviera, the newest resort in Ocho Rios, mandating travel dates from Sept. 1-Dec. 14, this year and 2015 and 2016, and Sandals Emerald Bay dates of September to February for the same years. Check it out at www.sandals.com/golf
Grace Hotels has opened its second U.S. property, the Mayflower Grace in Washington, Conn., a 30-room hotel previously known as the Mayflower Inn & Spa, about two hours from New York City. The hotel was refurbished, which included creating a new fine-dining restaurant, Muse by Jonathan Cartwright, group chef de cuisine and grand chef Relais & Chateaux. It follows the opening a few years ago of the Muse at sister property Vanderbilt Grace in Newport, R.I. The Mayflower Grace has both Forbes and AAA Five Star and Five Diamond ratings and retains its affiliation to the Relais & Chateaux association. Grace Hotels will expand further in New England with its next opening, the White Barn Grace in Kennebunkport, Maine, officials said. For information on the new Connecticut property, visit www.gracehotels.com/mayflower
The Charles Hotel in Harvard Square, next to the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, is offering a cut rate tonight for those who may be stranded in the recent storm and don’t feel like braving a drive home. The hotel’s rate for tonight is $159; the usual rate is $259 a night. The Charles has been open since 1984 and over the years has had guests such as President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, the Dalai Lama and Ben Affleck. If you stay tonight, check out fellow guests, you never know who may be stuck with you. To book, call 617-864-1200 or visit www.charleshotel.com
American Express Travel is offering a winter sale this season, for guests who book on or before Feb. 28 and travel through March 14. They’ll get up to 60-percent off and special amenities on hotels in Florida, the Caribbean, Europe and Mexico. Participating hotels include Dream South Beach in Florida, starting at $300; Hotel Telluride in Colorado, starting at $293; Starhotels Michelangelo Florence, starting at $112; Heritage AV Liberdade Hotel in Lisbon, starting at $175; Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant in Nassau, starting at $315; Sandy Haven Resort in Jamaica, starting at $221; Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos in Mexico, starting at $399; ad Sheraton Hacienda De. Mar Golf & Spa Resort in Mexico, starting at $279.
For full information visit www.amextravel.com/hotel_offers/wintersale
Winter in Newport used to be a fairly dead time, when the city rolled up its sidewalks and waited for the spring and summer tourist influx. Not anymore, with many places not only remaining open for the chilly months but offering a variety of programs and deals. The Chanler at Cliff Walk is one of them, where Executive Chef Thomas Duffy’s Valentine Day menu at the hotel’s Spiced Pear restaurant is a five-course affair with dishes like foie gras with dessert trio, for $85 per person.
The Chanler also has a winter rejuvenation package which gets you two-nights lodging; full breakfast each morning; one night’s dinner at the Spiced Pear (three-course dinner, tip included but not alcohol); two tickets to one of the Newport mansions; a bottle of Spiced Pear sparkling wine; and a bath drawn by your butler while you’re at dinner. This package starts at $365 a night for weekdays and $405 for weekends, available through March 29 (but not including Valentine’s day).
For the past two years, the hotel has hosted an off-season tasting series package (for $650), where liquor and wine experts gather on a Sunday afternoon to eat, drink and teach a small group of participants. This year, that includes a "Taste of Napa" on Feb. 23; “Taste of Southeastern New England” on March 23; “Taste of the Pacific Southwest” on April 27; “Scotch and Cigars on the Cliff Walk Terrace” on Oct. 26; and “More Bubbles” on Dec. 7. If you want to make a night of it, the same package is offered with a stay for $1,800, inclusive of tax and tips.
For all information, visit www.thechanler.com
In Boulder, St. Julien Hotel & Spa, a Four-Diamond AAA and Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star resort, book between now and May 4 for a weekend package (starting at $539) and get the room; two 50-minute classic massages at the spa; a bottle of wine on arrival; and $40 credit for dining at Jill’s Restaurant or room service. For information, visit www.stjulien.com