Sleep in the Trees of the Adirondacks

It’s not every day you get to sleep in a treehouse. In this case, you don’t even need to leave the United States, as there is a beautiful, one of a kind treehouse nestled right in with the Adirondacks. Complete with kitchen, bathroom, spiral staircase and amazing wood accents, this palace in the sky is like no other!

This treehouse was actually built by an artisanal furniture designer and is completely pet-friendly. Take in the sweeping forest views from skylight windows and the wide open air porches. Or cook a delicious meal in the spacious outdoor kitchen, complete with a paved walkway around the property.

Glamping in New York

Ever wanted to just get away for a weekend? Away from the noise, the city, work and just be able to breathe in the great outdoors? Glamping is the best vacation for you! Spend a weekend in the wilderness in style! With a tricked out super sturdy tent, complete with commode, furnace, comfy bed and more.

Spend your nights under the bright lights of the stars and roast some food under a campfire. This is camping in style. You can even bring your pets with you to enjoy the great outdoors!

 

Tropical Hideout Bar on Khai Island

What’s better than being in the tropics? Find a lovely bar in the tropics! Swim right up to this hidden away bar on Khai  Island, for a one of a kind experience.

Have a nice drink and relax just inches from crystal blue waters! Swim right up to the step, grab onto the handrail and greet the helpful bartenders with a smile!

Next in Our Imagine Series: Morocco

Imagine…

you hear the muezzin’s call to prayer, you can almost smell the ginger.  You are lured down the sloping Tala’a Kbiraf  into the crumbling medina, deep in the heart of Fez.

The mayhem of this Moroccan souk quickly swallows you.  It’s a teeming and twisting warren where tables of goat heads and homemade soap are crammed alongside crates of chickens whose squawks compete with the clang of artisan tools from the ceramic studio.   Mules laden with gas tanks plow through the narrowing pathways, as shouting schoolboys careen between them, their backpacks swinging. You melt into a stream of humanity between djellaba-clad mothers and shopkeepers, and, alongside your Berber guide, you begin to market.

Today you are on a journey to learn the art of tagine cooking.  The market’s scents of rosewater and white artichokes fresh from the earth envelope you as you sort through quince and test aubergines for ripeness.  You select a chicken from the feathered flurry of the pen, then gratefully accept the vendor’s offer to deftly slice the neck and de-feather it for you in the nearby boiling pot.

Wafting scents of fiery cumin and warm cinnamon draw you to the neighboring stall where you weigh out grams of spices to create your own Ras el Hanout, a blend translated as Top of the Shelf that will be the secret to your delectable tagine.   Back at your guide’s Ottoman-style home, called a riad, you chop and sauté all your new ingredients and the kitchen fills with an exotic aroma.  You know that this dish will be unlike any beef stew you have ever made.

And then there’s the khobz, or flat bread.   You knead the dough, but in an ancient neighborhood where homes rarely had their own ovens, you take your tray out into the bustling medina, to the nearby community oven.  For a few dirhams, the baker shoves your bread into the wood-fired oven, to bake next to your neighbors’ cookies.

During your week in Fez, you mingle with bidders at the rug auction and meet with a seamstress to have a caftan custom made.  You sip steaming mint tea as your foot taps to the alluring beat of a drum circle, and you treat yourself to a steam bath in the communal hammam.

You have practically become a local!

That was a trip of a lifetime!”, you say.   “Let’s do it again next year!”

If Morocco is not your dream destination, then join me next month for a sail through the Galapagos Islands.

Til then,

Rare Finds Travel Design

…sometimes rustic, often luxurious, but always unique!

 

The Famous Azulejos of Portugal

One of the wonderful adventures of Europe is being immersed in the history and architecture that surrounds you. One of the great ways to learn about this history is by exploring the famous azulejos (tiles) in the city of Porto in Portugal.

This city is famous for its tile work, including across the facades of buildings and train stations. These colorful tiles are also manufactured here and exploring those factories is an experience like no other! Learn all about the wonderful textile history of the area and see some amazing colors!

Adventure in the Arctic

Ever wanted to explore the Arctic? Now is your chance! Spend a week exploring the barren pack ice, where few people have roamed, at the edge of the world. Stare out at the majestic landscape of mountains of ice, icebergs and much more. See walruses and blue whales in their natural habitats and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Stay in cute, brightly colored cabins and even have a drink at a bar on an ice float! Or take an unforgettable ride on a Zodiac to isolated islands of ice that no one else gets to travel too. In the Arctic, the possibilities are endless.

Next in Our Imagines Series: Northern Lights

Imagine….

the Northern Lights splash across the canvas above you. 

At first, they had been a mere smudge, like the dull beam of a lone hiker’s flashlight, shining up through the distant pointed firs.

But then they brightened. And spiked upward like a sword into the sky.

Their glow schmeared across the starry darkness and became a greenish flame with tips of rosy purple.

The Lights struck celestial poses – a long loopy swirl like an author’s signature inside your favorite novel, a grid of blobs made by a painter’s goopy brush on canvas,  a roundish cloud like a conversation bubble. With each new pose, you cheer and squeal in the freezing steely air. The snow squeaks under your boots as you jump around in delight.

The finger of Lights spreads, reaching across the horizon of this wide-open Arctic sky. Like a white rainbow, their curve seems to trace the arch of the earth.

And then the Lights start to dance, literally jumping back and forth.  You gasp. With the energy of a July thunderstorm, it feels wild and exhilarating, bizarrely fresh and maybe dangerous.

Your driver Norton has turned out to be a serendipitous acquaintance.  In the last 36 hours, he has driven you out to the Balantine trailhead to meet a dog-musher for a spirited ride behind 10 yapping leaping panting huskies through the Alaskan woods.  He has waited at the annual Ice Alaska park while you flew down the ice sluice and wandered the ice village of log cabins and lifesize walk-in trains. He delivered you to the Turtle Club, a Fairbanks institution up on the Steese Highway for a dish of its trademark succulent prime rib.   And if you’re game, he has invited you for a night of ice-fishing with his pals.

But this tops it all.  Norton recognized the prime Northern Lights predictors – cold air and a clear sky – and checked the online Lights forecast before picking you up at 10:30 pm for this wee hours adventure.   He drove you to a secret summit where only 2 other locals’ cars are parked. And he has brought his camera! Thank goodness, because no setting on your iPhone or handheld Sony can capture this.

You stand at the top of the frozen world with a kaleidoscopic fire show overhead.  It’s 2am– time to leave. It’s 2:30 – you still can’t tear yourself away. When your fingers can stand the cold no longer, you reluctantly crawl back into the toasty van and drive away from this Arctic party.  The Lights dance in your rear view mirror as you drive down the mountain back to Fairbanks.   “That was a trip of lifetime”, you say.  “Let’s do it again next year.”