Travel Destinations

2018 Destination Guide: Florida

Florida
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April 2018
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By
Susan
Elnicki Wade

St. Augustine, Fla.

In 1513, Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon landed his ship on this part of Florida in search of the fountain of youth. He didn't stay long, but he did lay the groundwork for what would become America's oldest city. For almost 400 years, St. Augustine's 42 miles of white sand beaches would witness wars and storms and population growth. Remnants of this unique history remain in structures such as the Gilded Era luxury hotels built by Henry Flagler and the 165-foot-tall lighthouse erected in 1871 to guard the port. Today this seaside resort town bustles with superb restaurants, boutiques, galleries, museums and performing arts venues. You can fill your days with historic discovery or simply relax along the water enjoying the sun and surf.

Eating: Some of its fine waterfront eateries include Café Alcazar, Oak Room Restaurant & Lounge, Purple Olive, Aviles Restaurant & Lounge and Costa Brava Restaurant.

Docking: Accommodating vessels up to 130 feet, Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor offers courtesy cars for provisioning and sightseeing along with ValvTect fuel and onsite marina services from Camachee Yacht Yard.

Palm Beaches, Fla.

The 47-mile stretch of beach along the Atlantic coast from Jupiter to Boca Raton hosts a string of marvelous oceanfront towns called the Palm Beaches, each with its own magic and charisma. The area, especially Palm Beach, was once frequented by foreign aristocrats, prominent socialites and legendary tycoons. Still a playground for the affluent, visitors enjoy land and water sports, one of the largest polo clubs in the country, coral reef and wreck diving on the world's third-largest barrier reef, and fabulous shopping.

Eating: For a taste of Old Palm Beach, the chic Ta-boo Restaurant lends itself to afternoon cocktails and sophisticated dining, and the high-end bistro Buccan features tantalizing dishes near the famous Breakers Hotel and the new Worth Avenue hot spot, Costa Palm Beach. Other great stops include Palm Beach Grill, Avocado Grill and Pistache French Bistro for lunch.

Docking: Palm Harbor Marina combines comprehensive boater amenities and unmatched location to set the standard for superyacht ports. Palm Harbor Marina offers concrete floating docks for yachts up to 250 feet, fully furnished lounge, fitness center and Epicurean Center stocked with gourmet foods and spirits. Four miles north of the Palm Beach Inlet, Old Port Cove Marina can handle yachts up to 200 feet and offers first-rate amenities including a full-service restaurant, captain's lounge and a fitness facility.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

This gorgeous seaside city has matured to a major manufacturing, maintenance and recreation center for boaters. It's known as the Yachting Capital of the World for having 300+ miles of waterways and for hosting the largest boat show in the world. The Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District brings music festivals, cultural events and theater within walking distance to the beach. Palm trees, chic boutiques, lounges and hundreds of top restaurants line its streets, especially Las Olas Boulevard.

Eating: Dine at the newly renovated Boatyard on 17th Street, S3 Restaurant and Casablanca . For an easy-going vibe, visit Coconuts, Nanou French Bakery & Café, Park & Ocean, and Waves Rooftop Pool Bar & Grill.

Docking: Pier Sixty-Six Marina's modern facility along with berths up to 350 feet make for a true superyacht destination. Directly adjacent to the beaches of Fort Lauderdale, Bahia Mar Yachting Center can handle vessels up to 300 feet and offers boaters high-speed fueling and access to some of the city's top attractions. The spectacular Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina accommodates yachts up to 350 feet. On the southeast side of the 17th Street Causeway, The Sails handles vessels up to 500 feet in length, and offers fuel and concierge services.

Miami Beach, Fla.

As a sunny collection of urban districts, seaside villages and unique ethnic neighborhoods, Miami Beach has an international flavor all of its own. The Design District sports more than 130 art galleries, antique dealers and one-of-a-kind shops. The stand-out Wolfsonian-FIU Museum displays 180,000 objects from the 1850s to the 1950s. Miami Beach's stunning architecture is showcased during Art Deco Weekend in January. Often called the American Riviera, South Beach is one of the most photographed and filmed areas in the country. Along with glamorous nightlife and shopping promenades like Lincoln Road, there actually is a spectacular beach. Nearby Collins Avenue is home to the Miami Salsa Congress, a fiveday music and dance event held in July. The food scene in Miami Beach is as diverse as it is delicious.

Eating: Among the myriad of options are Prime 112, an innovative high-end steakhouse with sexy décor and energetic vibe; Lure Fish Bar, with fresh sushi, oysters and butter-poached lobster; Otentic Fresh Food Restaurant, for French fare in an intimate setting; and Taquiza Tacos, a petite Mexican eatery serving handmade tortillas, and Bing Pink, a retro diner with 200 menu items.

Docking:Miami Beach Marina, in the heart of South Beach, offers plenty of deep water slips for vessels up to 250 feet. Sunset Harbour Yacht Club offers 125 slips for yachts up to 150 feet and a full-range of services and access to restaurants and provisioning within walking distance. Just north of Miami, Turnberry Isle Marina accommodates yachts up to 180 feet and offers luxury amenities.

Key Largo, Fla.

Just an hour south of Miami Beach lies Key Largo, the luscious island made famous by the Humphrey Bogart movie. Key Largo is home to scuba diving paradise John Pennekamp State Park, Everglades National Park and the only living coral barrier reef in American waters. Ocean Reef Club, on the north end of the key, is an upscale private club with luxurious lodgings, a dozen restaurants and lounges, water sports, a newly remodeled spa, mini-golf for kids and two championship 18-hole courses for adults. The next three tropical islands Islamorada, Marathon and Big Pine Keys are renowned for deep sea fishing, snorkeling, easy living and cool cocktails at sunset.

Eating: Restaurants recommended by the locals: Alabama Jacks, The Fish House Restaurant & Market, Buzzard's Roost Grill & Pub, Sundowners, Skippers Dockside, The Catch and Gianni Ristorante.

Docking: The refined private Ocean Reef Club exudes the very essence of the Florida Keys with poolside service, boutique shopping and a wide range of events and excursions yachts up to 175 feet are accepted.

Key West, Fla.

Key West is a tropical heaven for water lovers on board all kinds of vessels from kayaks and jet skis to catamarans and superyachts. The footloose and spirited irreverence that characterizes the Keys is amplified in the pastel houses and festive atmosphere that blanket the island. The blended cultural heritage was inspired by Bahamian wreckers, commercial fishermen, spongers and Cuban cigar makers. Many visitors begin the day savoring a café con leche before visiting the Ernest Hemingway House, Truman Little White House, or simply bicycling around. Fishing, swimming, diving and snorkeling in the balmy waters are premium activities. The Hemingway Rum Co., home of Papa's Pilar Rum, recently opened a tasting room with distillery tours located within walking distance of the Key West Bight. From midday until late at night, live music and laughter drifts out of breezy waterfront saloons on Duval Street.

Eating: Seafood and Latin-inspired cuisine abound at Santiago's Bodega and Garbo's Grill. Upscale eateries: Latitude's, Louie's Backyard Restaurant and the Commodore. Kick-back cooking happens at Blue Heaven, Nine One Five and Salute on the Beach. Locals like to hang out at Pepe's Café, Sandy's and El Siboney.

Docking: Conch Harbor Marina can take vessels up to 200 feet and provides ValvTect fuel, an expansive pool, and two onsite dining options. Key West Bight Marina, at the historic seaport, handles yachts up to 140 feet in length with 33 deepwater slips. Stock Island Marina Village welcomes vessels up to 300 feet with state-of-the-art floating docks, shuttle service to downtown Key West, and an on-site boutique hotel with swimming pool. Key West's newest luxury property, Oceans Edge Key West Resort and Marina features panoramic ocean views, six amazing pools and an open-air waterside restaurant and bar and can host vessels up to 125 feet with 25 feet dock depth.

ACTIVITIES IN FLORIDA

Tournament Players Club Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

As the world headquarters of professional golf, the courses at TPC Sawgrass present an unparalleled sports experience. It boasts two immaculately maintained golf courses, both designed by the renowned Pete Dye. The Players Stadium Course and Dye's Valley Course offer two distinct styles of design and play.

Seminole Golf Club, Juno Beach, Fla.

One of the most exclusive private clubs in America, this course is a staple on golf enthusiasts' bucket lists. Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean, the course is expertly routed over two sand dunes, offering elevation changes not often found in Florida golf. The club is well known as Ben Hogan's favorite spot to warm up for The Masters.

International Polo Club Palm Beach, Wellington, Fla.

Palm Beach is a premier polo destination, hosting the largest field of high-goal teams and the most prestigious U.S. polo tournaments. World-renowned players and polo enthusiasts come to Wellington's Polo Club each winter season to share their love of the sport. Matches are open to the public, with a wide range of accommodations including elegant grandstand viewing, field tailgating, stadium seating and exclusive sponsor boxes (January-April).

Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Approaching its 59th consecutive year, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is the largest show in the world, with exhibits ranging from yacht builders and designers to exotic cars and brokerage yachts (October 31 – November 4, 2018).Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science, Miami, Fla.The 250-seat planetarium unveils the mysteries of the heavens, while the three-level aquarium explores the region's aquatic ecosystem. Other engaging exhibits investigate issues such as living in outer space without gravity, the story of flight from feathered creatures to rocket ships, and the complexities of vision in robots and humans.

Art Basel Miami, Miami Beach, Fla.

Art Basel stages the world's preeminent modern and contemporary art shows, held annually in three locations: Basel, Hong Kong and Miami Beach. Each show is defined by its host city with events at public museums, private collections, nonprofit spaces and art galleries. The Miami show offers a comprehensive look at the dynamic state of art today (December 6-9, 2018).

Ocean Reef Club Vintage Weekend, Key Largo, Fla.

Honoring classic transportation by land, sea and air, Ocean Reef Club hosts Vintage Weekend, a four-day celebration of antique and classic planes, automobiles and yachts (first weekend in December).

Key West Super Boat Races, Key West, Fla.

Watch some of the fastest powerboats in the world at the Key West World Championship. An international collection of boat owners and manufacturers shows off their finest to an audience of celebrities and fans. Company and private boats will give participants thrilling fun runs through the local waters around Key West (November 4-11, 2018).

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Explore the Spirited Lakefront of Burlington, VT
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A vibrant, compact city hugging the eastern shoreline of Lake Champlain, Burlington abounds in scenic beauty, four-season recreation, a college town vibe, arts and culture, and a quirky character all its own.

Burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Church Street | Michelle Raponi on Pixabay

Eclectic shops named Anjou & the Little Pear or Common Deer, and restaurants called Zabby & Elf 's Stone Soup or The Skinny Pancake dot the urban landscape. A local artist's satirical comment on the bureaucracy of urban planning called File Under So. Co., Waiting for..., consists of 38 filing cabinets welded together to a 40-foot height. Birds frequently nest in the upper chambers.

History buffs stroll through the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum or the Fleming Museum of Art's multi-era artifact collection while hikers trek the 12.5-mile path at Burlington Waterfront Park, which offers bicycle, rollerblade and kayak rentals. In season, the path connects to the Lake Champlain Islands via bike ferry.

burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Bike Path | Michelle Raponi on Pixabay

Since the 1800s, the Old North End has been the city's melting pot, and global cuisine from Nepalese dumplings to the African Market can be found here today. Between munches, stroll over to historic Elmwood Cemetery, whose residents include Revolutionary War soldiers. Hear their stories and perhaps have a chance encounter with a local spirit on a Queen City Ghostwalk Tour. Liquid spirits rule when the internationally famous, regionally beloved and hidden gem breweries line up for the annual Vermont Brewers Festival. Year round, enjoy homemade bratwurst and drafts at Zero Gravity Craft Beer. At acclaimed Foam Brewers, the patio faces Lake Champlain waterfront and the Adirondack Mountains. Hop on the Sip of Burlington Brew Tour for a dozen tastings and the sights of this dynamic, energetic city.

Where to Dock

Burlington Community Boathouse Marina

802-865-3377

This full-service marina is the centerpiece of a growing waterfront. Amenities include 105 slips up to 65 feet, Splash Café and a fantastic sunset over the Adirondacks.

Burlington Harbor Marina

802-540-6869

With 160 slips (60 transient slips up to 80 feet), this new marina's tranquil harbor setting is convenient to downtown amenities and recreational activities.

Where to Dine

Honey Road

802-497-2145

Savor sophisticated Mediterranean small plates, cocktails and creative desserts in a comfy tavern setting.

burlington - destinations - marinalife
Burlington Church Street | Needpix

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill

802-859-0888

This farm-to-table gastropub dishes up local burgers, charcuterie and innovative specials. Sip on local brews in the beer garden.

RíRá

802-860-9401

According to Irish playwright Brendan Behan, The most important things to do in the world are to get something to eat, something to drink and somebody to love you. RíRá fuses classic Irish with pub grub to satisfy the first two.

Leunig's Bistro & Café

802-863-3759

Step inside the lush garden courtyard to watch fresh local fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood transform into classic French dishes. Come enjoy a romantic evening meal.

Hen of the Wood

802-540-0534

Enjoy a true Vermont dining experience in a romantic, rustic atmosphere adjacent to the Hotel Vermont.

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Discover the Island Charm of Cuttyhunk, Massachusetts
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Ever wish you could hop in a time machine and go back 50 or 60 years to experience a less frenetic pace of life? It's not as far-fetched as it might sound. There's a place off the coast of Massachusetts where you can do just that ... at least for a weekend.

Cuttyhunk Island - destinations - marinalife
Cuttyhunk Island | tkesner1 on Flickr

"It's like 1960 --you're stepping back in time," notes Captain Jono Billings, who owns and operates the Cuttyhunk Ferry out of New Bedford, about 18 miles north of Cuttyhunk Island, a 580-acre arc of stone and sand that's the westernmost of the Elizabeth Islands that lie between Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound.

For such a small place, Cuttyhunk has a long, colorful history. In 1602 --nearly 20 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock -- Bartholomew Gosnold sailed from Falmouth, England to establish a colony in the New World, explored the areas near present-day Kennebunkport, Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, and built a small fort on what he christened Cuttyhunk Island.

A 70-foot stone tower was constructed in 1902 commemorating the 300th anniversary of that historic landing. After passing through the hands of several English earls and dukes, Peleg Slocum purchased the island in 1693, and her family continued to live on Cuttyhunk for the next 165 years.

In 1865, a group of Rhode Island fishing enthusiasts bought a large portion of the island and built the Cuttyhunk Club and a few fishing stands, enhancing its reputation as a prime spot for sport fishing. In fact, two 73-pound, world-record striped bass have been caught off Cuttyhunk in 1913 and more recently in 1967.

Local fishermen know all the qualities and quirks of the area's waters, offering their services to visiting anglers and acting as expert navigators for ships sailing into New Bedford Harbor, piloting them through the dangerous Sow and Pig Reef on the west end of the island.

Cuttyhunk Island - destinations - marinalife
Cuttyhunk Island | Ben McLaughlin

Fishing isn't the only way to interact with nature on Cuttyhunk. Half the island is a nature preserve, home to a variety of birds and mammals, as well as wildflowers, sweet peas, bayberry and a host of other flora. Plenty of hiking trails wind through the landscape that's largely craggy and reflects Cuttyhunk's glacial origins. It's covered with the same kind of rocks and stones found in the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont.

Although largely a day-tripper destination, visitors can overnight on Cuttyhunk with some advance planning. Most boaters prefer to stay aboard their own craft if properly outfitted, but limited accommodations are on land as well. Avalon, the Inn on Cuttyhunk Island, offers seven rooms, while Cuttyhunk Fishing Club has eight. A few cottage and house rentals are also available through Pete's Place Rentals.

Where to Dock

Cuttyhunk Marina

508-990-7578

The marina offers 50 transient slips that can accommodate vessels up to 110 feet and have freshwater hookups and 30- and 50-amp electricity capability. About 50 moorings accommodate vessels up to 50 feet. Pump out, ice, picnic area and restrooms are available.

Frog Pond Marine Moorings

508-992-7530

This mooring field is located in the outer harbor off the port side of Bell 6 upon entering Cuttyhunk. Bright white balls mark the moorings, which are first-come, first-serve. Tie up to any mooring that doesn't say PRIVATE, and the mooring collector will come to your boat to collect a $45 rental fee.

Jenkins Moorings

508-996-9294

Located in the outer harbor to the right of the channel's entrance, moorings are first-come, first-serve during the high season. If you spend the night, call and they'll deliver fresh oysters and raw-bar items to your boat.

Where to Dine

Cuttyhunk Café

508-802-8633

This coffee shop is located on the town fish dock. Start your day with coffee and pastries, pick up chowder and sandwiches for lunch, and finish the day chowing down on fresh lobster boils with corn, potatoes, onion, chorizo and steamers.

Cuttyhunk Fishing Club

508-992-5585

Just south of town on Cemetery Road, this B&B offers the best breakfasts/brunches on the island, and you don't have to be a guest to enjoy it. They don't take reservations, so grab a cup of coffee and an Adirondack chair while you wait for your table and enjoy the porch with a million-dollar view.

Cuttyhunk Island Market

508-538-1218

Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., this rustic spot offers all the essentials: dry goods, sundries, bread, dairy, fresh veggies, plus 10-inch subs with a bag of chips. We may be small, but we have it all.

Cuttyhunk Shellfish Farms

508-990-1317

This floating raw bar provides fresh Cuttyhunk oysters and clams, along with stuffed quahog and hot clam chowder to boaters during the summer, delivered right to your boat. Call them on VHF Channel 72 or stop in at their shack on the fish dock during the day to place your order.

Soprano's Pizza

508-992-7530

The only sit-down restaurant on Cuttyhunk, this in-season eatery serves gourmet brick oven pizzas and seafood specials. Think a pizza oven held hostage in a garage, four picnic tables in a driveway lit by tiki torches, and a croaking bullfrog in the pond! Can't beat that kind of ambiance.

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Savor the Southern Charm in Wilmington, North Carolina
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Like its neighbors to the south Charleston and Savannah Wilmington, North Carolina, has become a magnet for tourists and transplants looking for authentic Southern culture, cuisine and climate.

Bald Head Island - wilmington north carolina - marinalife
Bald Head Island Harbor | Wikimedia Commons

Many boaters are familiar with the area's barrier islands and beaches such as Topsail, Wrightsville, Carolina, Kure, Bald Head, but not so much the city itself, located about 30 miles upstream from where Cape Fear River meets the Atlantic Ocean.The Eastern Siouan people occupied the area when the first Europeans arrived in the early 1500s and Giovanni da Verrazzano explored the North American coast. His maps and travel accounts comprise the earliest description of North Carolina's land and people.The city of Wilmington (then called New Carthage) was founded in 1739 on the banks of Cape Fear River. Its name comes from Sir Richard Grenville's 1585 expedition when he sailed to Roanoke Island and his ship was stranded behind the cape. The crew was afraid they'd wreck, giving rise to the name Cape Fear.Also known as the Port City, Wilmington is experiencing a building boom and renaissance, with its well-preserved downtown and a bustling Port City waterfront area augmented by new condos and reclaimed riverside acreage that has been turned into parks, piers and promenades. Across from the city's Riverwalk you can find the Battleship North Carolina Memorial and tour this famous warship.Front Street, Wilmington's thriving commercial thorough-fare, is lined with chic shops, bars and restaurants populated by a mix of locals, UNC Wilmington college students and out-of-towners looking for R&R after a day of shopping, sight-seeing or cooling out at the beaches. Looking for lunch or a light alternative to a full-course dinner? Try Fun Bowl for ramen and poke bowl, Slice of Life Pizzeria & Pub for pizza, wings and subs, or Beer Barrio for Mexican dishes.

Azaleas - wilmington north carolina - marinalife
Azaleas in full bloom | Kristina Gain on Pexels

Microbreweries and brew pubs are booming here, and two are worth checking out: Front Street Brewery (craft beers and hand scratched food) and Pour Taproom & Bar (60+ different craft beers and ciders).Wilmington's Azalea Festival in April and October's Riverfest are just two of the local can't-miss events, along with other cultural happenings throughout the year. Popular spots include Greenfield Lake Park (check the live music schedule at the park's busy amphitheater), Arlie Gardens (botanical gardens, trails, birding and events) and the world-class Cameron Art Museum.For an interesting side-trip, visit Bald Head Island at Cape Fear's southern tip. The remote village is only accessible by ferry from nearby Southport, and cars are not allowed on the island. The island is nationally recognized for sea turtle nesting activity. Accommodations are available at the Marsh Harbor Inn and the Inn at Bald Head Island. A handful of restaurants serve everything from to-go meals and pub fare to wine-bar and cantina-style cuisine.

Where to Dock

Cape Fear Marina910-772-9277Part of Off the Hook Yacht Services, this gated 70-slip marina offers water, pump-out and electric hookup at every slip, and the fully equipped dock house has shower and laundry facilities. Repair and refit services are also available.Dockside Marina910-256-3579About one mile north of Masonboro Inlet near Wrightsville Beach, the marina has 180 feet of floating transient dockage and access to shore power, water and wireless Internet. It's close to local grocers, ATMs, laundries, hotels and marine stores, and the highly rated Dockside Restaurant.Port City Marina910-251-6151This full-service marina with 200+ floating concrete wet slips accommodates boats up to 400 feet and is in the heart of downtown. It offers rapid-fill fuel service, electric, free Wi-Fi, gated entrance, video surveillance, pump-out, on-site store and more. Marina Grill is steps away from the docks.Wilmington Marine Center910-395-5055Services include gas, water, electric, pump-out, wireless internet and more. The marina is in an enclosed basin off the Cape Fear River, offering 130 slips with fixed and floating docks for vessels up to 120 feet.

Where to Dine

Caprice Bistro910-815-0810For authentic French cuisine, the chef delivers classics such as escargot, crepes and mussels, as well as boeuf bourguignon, duck confit and lamb shank tagine. Locals flock to this hidden gem that celebrated its 20th anniversary last year.Circa 1922910-762-1922A lush, romantic spot that sources ingredients for imaginative dishes from local farmers and seafood merchants. Serving a mix of small plates (charred octopus, beef carpaccio, tuna tataki) and classics like paella, scallops and short ribs, the emphasis is on seasonal American fare with a European flair.Indochine910-251-9229This Far East café serves a mix of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine: satay, dumplings, pad Thai, nine different curries, bulgogi and braised catfish in an exotic, art-filled setting. Save room for sticky rice topped with warm coconut sauce and mangoes.Pilot House910-343-0200This Wilmington institution serves indigenous seafood and fowl, and the area menu includes everything from down-home cooking to Cajun and traditional Southern fare with a contemporary twist, in a restored 19th century house with a riverside terrace.Seabird910-769-5996Seafood rules at the sleek and chic Seabird, and fish, oysters and shellfish dominate the menu. Try the smoked catfish and oyster pie, or the swordfish schnitzel. Landlubbers can opt for sorghum pork ribs or grilled bavette steak.

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