There’s something about the prospect of staying in a lighthouse that adds an element of rugged nautical adventure to any trip. The small rocky island that’s home to the Inn at Cuckold’s Lighthouse may not be far off the coast of Maine’s Boothbay Harbor, but arriving there feels a bit like abandoning civilization; until you see how elegant it is inside. Nearly 12 years and $3 million in the making, the Inn, which has only two spacious suites is currently celebrating its first full (and completely sold out) season. One of just a handful of lighthouses you can stay in around New England, it was originally constructed as a fog signal station in 1892. In 1907 a light tower was added, greatly aiding the development of Boothbay Harbor as a safe haven for both commercial fishermen and summer residents.
Living in New York City, you can take a cab to JFK and in four hours be sitting on a beautiful Caribbean island enjoying the warmth and relaxation that the city has deprived you of. The fact that this option is right in New York’s backyard left me feeling sort of ambivalent about traveling halfway around the world to a place like Tahiti which seemingly offered what we already had such ready access too.
I have to admit when I am wrong, because I have absolutely never been to a more visually stunning place than French Polynesia. On top of that it’s going to be difficult to find a resort more enjoyable than the Vahine Island.
To get to Vahine you need to fly to Tahiti’s capital of Papeete (we flew Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles which was a red-eye which happens to be long enough to actually get some rest; Air France flies to PPT as well) and then hopped on a quick intra-island flight to Raiatea. From there the resort stands a short 30 minute boat ride away. Once you step off that boat onto Vahine looking at the blue waters and bright sun, all is right in the world.
As has been discussed on this site before, people don’t take vacations like they used to, but this shift is not always lamentable. The ubiquitous cross country car journey may have made it’s final exit, but this has opened up a new field for companies such as Sailing Collective, which offer trips that can only be described as “adventure tourism.” Sailing Collective, which was only founded back in 2011, specializes in trips that are really about the experience, not just the destination.
Taking a trip to Croatia, or the British Virgin Islands, or even Maine, is one thing, but what Sailing Collective provides is the opportunity to take in these beautiful locales in a completely unique way. With Sailing Collective the trip actually really starts once you land at your destination. From there you meet the rest of your boat (typically six passengers and two crew) at the dock for a week long trip at sea. For co-founder Dayyan Armstrong exposing passengers to the unknown side of these well known destinations is what Sailing Collective is all about. By boat you’re more likely to stumble upon a quiet village, or a picturesque enclave, or a hole in the wall restaurant, and these discoveries are the true advantage of a Sailing Collective trip.
At this point, modern air travel is so unpleasant, so inconveniencing, so downright annoying that talking about it almost seems pointless, like shouting into a jet engine. If there is one positive to be extracted from all of our collective airline agony, it’s that it forces us to reflect upon a time when air travel was not only enjoyable, but dare I say, sexy. Shows like Mad Men, and movies like Catch Me if You Can play into our rosy-eyed curiosity with mid-century air travel, portraying well-heeled passengers, sociable stewardesses, and those beautiful modernist concourses. Airports of today are drab reminders of just how far you are from home, but in the early decades of air travel these buildings were sleek, shiny shrines to the future. The terminals that serviced America’s larger cities at this time were designed to not only help carry passengers from point A to point B, but also to reflect the progressive spirit of commercial air travel, which had really only taken off (no pun intended) in 1958 with the advent of the Boeing 707. So buckle up, make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position, and travel back in time with us to the golden age of the American airport.
As anyone who has recently taken, planned, or even considered a trip can attest, travel is not the glamorous pursuit that it once was. And yet, despite (or perhaps in response to) the endless string of headaches that can stem from taking a vacation in 2014, this year has also been marked by a resurgence of the travel magazine industry. As many household names have finally received some much needed facelifts, and the indie vacation publication world has surged, there has never been a better time to live vicariously through the glossy pages of a travel magazine. Here’s our list of the most exciting travel titles on the stands today, just think of it as your chance to actually enjoy a getaway, minus the endless TSA lines, infinite flight delays, and locker-sized Economy seats.
Between the security checks, the disorganized airlines, and a teeming sea of irate travelers, modern air travel has become about as enjoyable a double root canal. Despite the innumerable annoyances that it presents, a trip to the airport is still a necessity if you want to make a getaway this summer, so to make your life easier (and set you apart from the pajama-wearing, full-size-pillow-toting American tourists) we’ve rounded up the best jackets that are tailor-made for air travel.
I’ve always viewed a winter get-away to warmer weather as a bit of a luxury, but this year with the exceptionally harsh and unrelenting cold, it feels more like a life line. With a ten day trip to the Yucatán Peninsula (Cancún, Isla Cozumel, Tulum) planned and booked at the end of last year, anticipating the vacation became almost as important as actually getting there. With the extra time to prepare, my packing became more thoughtful, more streamlined and more precise. This trip I got a few things right for once and I’m happy to share what I learned. —AJ