Montauk, Vermont more girlfriend getaways close to Long Island, New York City

A perfect birthday celebration, bachelorette weekend or mini college reunion for girlfriends doesn’t have to require a lot of planning or long-distance travel. Consider the necessities of the friends involved. Are they fitness fanatics or food lovers? Wine geeks or shopaholics? Choose a compatible resort hotel within driving distance, and you’ll be enjoying good company and good times in no time at all.  Wine weekend: Belhurst Castle in New York Whether you are a longtime oenophile or a novice, a wine-focused weekend is a fun way to bond with your besties. Reserve rooms at Belhurst Castle, a grand 19th-century residence, now an inn, overlooking Seneca Lake in upstate Geneva, New York. Suites (accommodating up to four) have beamed ceilings, gas fireplaces and stained glass windows. A complimentary wine spigot on the second floor of the hotel can ensure that you will never go thirsty. The hotel has an on-site winery where you can compare Belhurst’s pinot grigio to its Petit Verdot. Or have the hotel book you a limo for a day of tastings on the nearby wine trails. When you’re not imbibing, seek out unusual wine-related souvenirs: Visit the Corning Museum of Glass ( and bring home a handblown decanter. The Geneva Antique Co-op ( has more than 70 dealers and plenty of opportunities to purchase vintage corkscrews, wine coasters, glasses and pitchers. At the end of the day, the hotel’s chef can prepare a special food and wine pairing dinner for your group. WHERE Belhurst Castle, 4069 West Lake Rd., Geneva, New YorkINFO Rooms from $115 per night, 315-781-0201, Ocean spa weekend: Gurney's in Montauk Enjoy the healing waters of the Atlantic year-round at the iconic and impeccably updated Gurney’s in Montauk. This one-of-a-kind Hamptons resort offers plenty of opportunities for pampering, In addition to a Russian steam room, a Finnish rock sauna and an indoor pool Continue Reading

A significant chunk of Hawaii’s houses are used as vacation rentals, report says

A report from the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice found that 1 in 24 homes in Hawaii (and 1 in 8 in Kauai, above) are being used as vacation rentals, possibly to detrimental consequences for the local economy.  (iStock) A new report found that more and more Hawaiian homes are being converted into vacation rentals, raising questions about the permissibility of the practice in the state. The report, by the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, finds that 1 in 24 homes in Hawaii — or just over 4 percent — are being listed as short-term rental units on home-sharing and home-rental websites like Airbnb, according to Hawaii News Now. A zen-like oasis awaits you here in the "Goddess of Hula," one of five bedrooms in this Kauai home. Whether it's a sea cliff walk on the Kalalau Trail or a shared meal with other travelers in the common kitchen, you're sure to find contentment here. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Photo: @beckberri A post shared by Airbnb (@airbnb) on Mar 13, 2018 at 11:22am PDT On islands such as Kauai and Maui, that number rises to just 1 in 8 homes (12.5 percent) and 1 in 7 (14.2 percent) respectively. NOW'S YOUR CHANCE TO LIVE IN A REAL-LIVE IRISH CASTLE "That rate of expansion of vacation rentals, taking that critical affordable housing away from our residents, really shocked me, to be frank," said Victor Geminiani, who claimed that more than half of the state’s 23,000 vacation rentals were owned by non-residents. He further argued that just a fraction of those were “actually legal.” The Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice concurred, writing in a press release that every vacation rental has a negative impact on the local economy, raising prices in the area and leaving locals without afforable housing. "The loss of long-term rentals to VRUs means higher housing costs for Hawai‘i residents. Although Continue Reading

British Airways employee accused of raping senior flight attendant during stop in Singapore: report

A British Airways flight attendant has reportedly accused a male crew member of raping her during an off-duty gathering in Singapore.  (Reuters) A British Airways crew member was reportedly arrested on suspicion of raping one of the airline’s female flight attendants during a layover in Singapore. The male employee, who was not identified, is currently believed to be in police custody, according to sources for the Daily Mail, which first reported the news. ALASKA AIRLINES PILOT ACCUSED OF RAPE GROUNDED AS SHOCKING DETAILS EMERGE British Airways has since confirmed that the company is “cooperating with the police investigation and are offering our full support to our cabin crew” in an emailed statement obtained by Fox News. The airline declined further comment “as it is a live investigation.” The incident allegedly took place during an off-duty party after the British Airways crew landed in Singapore after traveling from London’s Heathrow Airport, the Daily Mail reports. The flight attendant — believed to be the flight’s senior flight attendant — was moved to a separate hotel apart from the one normally used by British Airways crew after reporting the incident. British Airways has stated that it is “cooperating with the police investigation and are offering our full support to our cabin crew” in the wake of the incident.  (Reuters) WOMAN REJECTS AMERICAN AIRLINES' $5,000 OFFER AFTER ALLEGING SHE WAS RAPED IN PLANE BATHROOM She, along with the male crew member, did not continue on the second leg of the crew’s journey to Sydney. A source for British Airways added to the Daily Mail that the airline sent a “replacement crew” to Singapore to staff the flight, and a manager to “manage the crisis.” The alleged incident follows news of a female American Airlines passenger who recently filed a lawsuit against the carrier over their response to her Continue Reading

This lush mountain retreat in Ecuador’s cloud forest is only an hour outside Quito

Julyssa Lopez, The Washington Post Published 10:20 am, Friday, March 23, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-4', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 4', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: Yunguilla Reserve Image 1of/4 CaptionClose Image 1 of 4 The Yunguilla Reserve, about an hour from Ecuador's capital, Quito, is situated in an Andean cloud forest. The Yunguilla Reserve, about an hour from Ecuador's capital, Quito, is situated in an Andean cloud forest. Photo: Yunguilla Reserve Image 2 of 4 From left, Diana Torres and Estefany, Deysi and Yadira Collaguazo all grew up in Yunguilla. Deysi leads tourism efforts. From left, Diana Torres and Estefany, Deysi and Yadira Collaguazo all grew up in Yunguilla. Deysi leads tourism efforts. Photo: Photo For The Washington Post By Julyssa Lopez Image 3 of 4 The morning clouds set in over Julio Collaguazo's house. The house is among the family homes that offer lodging for tourists in Yunguilla. The morning clouds set in over Julio Collaguazo's house. The house is among the family homes that offer lodging for tourists in Yunguilla. Photo: Photo For The Washington Post By Julyssa Lopez Image 4 of 4 This lush mountain retreat in Ecuador's cloud forest is only an hour outside Quito 1 / 4 Back to Gallery I can hardly see a thing when we first drive up the winding road that connects Quito to the Yunguilla Reserve, a small protected area located on the northwestern region of Ecuador's volcano-rich Pichincha province. A blanket of fog has obscured the lush, green landscape and set in Continue Reading

B&B breakfasts with a difference revealed in new book – featuring everything from sardines in custard to prawn stew

MOST people want a fry up when they stay the night at B&B – which is surely the whole point of a bed and breakfast. But some B&Bs are serving up controversial things for breakfast – including sardines in custard. A new book called the Great British Breakfasts Cook Book lifts the lid on the weirdest things that are being served up and down the country for breakfast. Some of it might turn your stomach - or give you some inspiration for tomorrow morning. The entries are all from Eviivo's annual Tastiest B&B Breakfast awards and were judges by a panel including Michel Roux Jr, Prue Leith and Dan Lepard. The book also gives people the recipes for the quirky dishes - although some might prove more popular than others. Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr said: “Britain’s B&Bs have experienced a renaissance in recent years and I was really impressed by the finalists for the tastiest breakfast award. "I’ve always been passionate about good, authentic cooking and it’s great to see such a variety of breakfast dishes from B&B owners alongside traditional bacon and eggs.” Michele Fitzpatrick, CEO of Eviivo, added: “We are delighted to publish this feast of recipes which demonstrate the care and extraordinary culinary craft of British B&B owners. "There are recipes to suit all tastes – from the traditional to the exotic and for the carnivore and the vegetarian." He continued: "Eviivo are proud to launch this book to coincide with National B&B Day and we are equally proud to be supporting the important work of the Family Holiday Association.” While top chefs like Michel Roux Jr might be fans of fish and custard, fans of pudding will be licking their lips over the Ambassador Townhouse's knickerbocker glory. Although it's less of a dessert than it might seem as it's made up from yoghurt, muesli and fruit compote. Or you could tuck into salmon mousse for breakfast at Continue Reading

United gives passenger $10,000 travel credit to give up her seat

The Washington, D.C. woman was en route to a bachelorette weekend in Austin, Texas.  (iStock) One woman flying United from Washington, D.C. to Austin, Texas was shocked when the carrier offered her a $10,000 travel credit to give up her seat on an oversold flight. Shortly after 8 a.m. on Thursday, Allison Preiss took to Twitter to express her frustration with United as she flew from Dulles International Airport to a bachelorette weekend in the Lone Star state. [email protected] offering $1K in travel credit for an oversold flight. If nobody bites, they will kick off the lowest fare passenger by pulling them out of the boarding line. For a flight that THEY oversold. Unreal.— Allison Preiss (@allisonmpreiss) March 22, 2018 “@united offering $1K in travel credit for an oversold flight. If nobody bites, they will kick off the lowest fare passenger by pulling them out of the boarding line,” wrote Preiss, who is communications director at Washington D.C.-based Center for American Progress. “For a flight that THEY oversold. Unreal.” SPIRIT AIRLINES APOLOGIZES TO PARKLAND SHOOTING SURVIVOR FOR FLIGHT ATTENDANT’S POLITICAL STATEMENT In a series of subsequent posts, Preiss detailed that United removed her from the flight and wouldn’t let her board again as her intended seat was broken. They are kicking me off this flight.— Allison Preiss (@allisonmpreiss) March 22, 2018 “I AM THE LOWEST FARE PASSENGER.” They can’t board me on this plane because there is a broken seat.— Allison Preiss (@allisonmpreiss) March 22, 2018 “They are kicking me off this flight.” “They can’t board me on this plane because there is a broken seat.”   [email protected] IS THE WORST.— Allison Preiss (@allisonmpreiss) March 22, 2018 Describing the carrier as "the worst," Preiss further divulged that United then “tried to get me to sign a document that says I volunteered my seat on this Continue Reading

NYC weekend picks

Our picks for what to see and do in the city. Hear Jimmy Webb at the Cutting Room The sophisticated lyrics and smooth vocals will flow like all that sweet green icing from a certain cake left out in the rain when Bayville singer-songwriter Webb takes the stage. He'll be performing many of the classics he penned -- "Up, Up and Away," "The Worst That Could Happen" -- and no doubt pay tribute to his friend Glen Campbell, who died last year. WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Saturday, March 24, The Cutting Room, 44 E. 32nd St. INFO $50-$60, 877-435-9849, See 'This Flat Earth' at Playwrights Horizons We're told only that two middle school students must deal with tragic events described as "unthinkable" in the world premiere of this play by Lindsey Ferrentino, above. Rebecca Taichman directs. WHEN | WHERE Through April 29 at Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42 St. INFO $25-$69, 212-279-4200, Become a collector at the Affordable Art Fair If you love art and want to buy some but have limited amounts to shell out, this is the fair for you. Choose from thousands of works of contemporary art priced between $100 and $10,000. Pictured: Marti Bofarull's "Empire" (2015). WHEN | WHERE Wednesday, March 21, through Sunday, March 25, at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th St. INFO $18-$80, 212-255-2003, See the Encores! production of 'Grand Hotel' A fading ballerina, a poverty-stricken baron (James Snyder, pictured) and a bookkeeper facing a fatal illness are just a few of the eccentric characters who make their way through the revolving doors of this opulent hotel in the Encores! production of the musical revitalized by Tommy Tune in 1989. WHEN | WHERE Wednesday, March 21, through Sunday, March 25, at New York City Center, 131 W. 55th St. INFO $35-$135, 212-581-1212,   Visit the Macy's Flower Show It's a floral fairy tale at Macy's for the store's annual spring flower show, "Once Continue Reading

Florida Keys mostly open for tourism 6 months after Hurricane Irma

Two sharks from the Key West Aquarium returned to sea. A mile away at the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, all 54 cats weathered the storm just fine. In Grassy Key, the Dolphin Research Center’s 26 dolphins and four sea lions stayed safe. Those reports were among thousands related to Hurricane Irma’s strike on the Florida Keys on Sept. 10. Bringing ferocious 130 m.p.h. winds and torrential rain, the Category 4 storm’s effects are still evident in parts of the 125-mile coral archipelago nestled between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. The anchors — Key Largo to the north and Key West to the south — were lucky, escaping the full force of the winds. In contrast, some of the other Keys remain in cleanup mode with substantial rebuilding ahead. Recovery operations began immediately, with crews recruited from as far away as Wisconsin. Contrary to reports that the islands were practically blown off the map, all 42 bridges of the Florida Keys Overseas Highway were deemed safe within five days. By the end of September, cruise ships were returning to the Port of Key West, and the Key West and Marathon airports reopened. Storms have always been part of the region’s history. Shipwrecks built Key West’s fortunes in the 1800s. That history is told at the Key West Shipwreck Museum ( and Mel Fisher Maritime Museum (, among downtown Key West’s dozens of attractions unscathed by Irma. Resilience is central to life here. KEY PARKS AND REFUGES All 10 of the Keys’ state parks are open. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park ( in Key Largo, the nation’s first undersea park, reopened its Visitor Center in January and resumed glass-bottom boat and snorkel tours. Dive excursions are not yet running. On Big Pine Key, Calusa Beach (and its cabins) in Bahia Honda State Park ( are open, and the nearby Buttonwood and Bayside campgrounds are available for Continue Reading

Travel deals of the week: New York and New Jersey hotels, Adriatic cruises

HOTELS & RESORTS Receive a free second night at the Asbury Hotel, a beachy-rocker property in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Two-night stays start at $126 weekdays and $225 weekends, including taxes. Use promo code 2FOR1. The 110-room hotel features live music in the lobby, an exhibit by celebrity photographer Danny Clinch (he interned with Annie Leibovitz) and a rooftop venue with sunrise yoga and outdoor movies. Deal ends May 24. INFO 732-774-7100, Hotel 50 Bowery, a boutique hotel on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, is offering 25 percent discounts on weekends and 20 percent off on weekdays. For example, a Sunday stay in late April starts at $218, including taxes, for a savings of $71. Book the Reawaken to Spring Savings deal by April 30; stay through June 30. Request promo code JVSPRING18. INFO 855-464-6201, CRUISES Windstar Cruises is offering free air and a pre-cruise hotel stay on its luxury yacht cruises in Tahiti. The deal applies to itineraries of seven, 10 and 11 days. For example, the seven-day Dreams of Tahiti that sails round trip from Papeete on Nov. 1 starts at $4,699 per person double and includes round-trip air from Los Angeles to Papeete, one pre-cruise night and one post-cruise day room at Le Méridien Tahiti, transfers and taxes. INFO 877-203-5729, Receive a $500 discount on Central Holiday’s seven-night cruise along the Croatian coast. The Cruising the Adriatic trip from Dubrovnik to Split starts at $998 per person double for the April 28 departure and $1,149 for the May 12 sailing. Add $95 port charges. The voyage on the 41-passenger M/S Prestige includes 14 meals, shore excursions and airport transfers. Book by Saturday, March 31. INFO 800-935-5000, Prices were verified at press time, but deals sell out and availability is not guaranteed. Some restrictions apply. Continue Reading

Take a road trip through Umbria, Italy

A hilly patchwork of yellow and green Umbrian fields unfolded on both sides of the road as I zipped around hairpin turns in my little red Fiat, feeling every bit the race car driver. Of course, this being Italy, what I thought was death-defying speed wasn’t fast enough for drivers coming up behind me. They barely hesitated, passing me on blind curves on the otherwise nearly deserted road. It was a bit unnerving, but over a week, hopping between Umbria’s hill towns, I relaxed my grip on the steering wheel and found that getting there was half the fun. On my way to the village of Todi that first night, I kept pulling over for the views. Between serpentine roads and stops to take pictures, it took me nearly an hour to travel 10 miles to the village from the stone farmhouse where I stayed. GREEN HEART OF ITALY Umbria is a landlocked agricultural region known as the green heart of Italy. Though a recent drought had rendered many hillsides tan instead of green, I still encountered one of the most beautiful landscapes I’d ever seen. Once I arrived in Todi, I parked and took a free funicular to the top of a mini plateau. The smell of wood smoke lured me from the Piazza del Popolo to the literal edge of town, the clifftop Ristorante Umbria, for a bite and a view of the sun dropping behind distant mountains. A cluster of travertine-block buildings just off the piazza looked in the twilight like a medieval theme park, but the town’s winding cobblestone alleys were alive with the real sounds of children’s singsong chatter and dinner dishes clattering through a window. A news show blaring from an unseen TV brought me back to modern times. Bartenders, tour guides and hotel workers said visitors have dipped since earthquakes shook central Italy last year. But even before that, Umbria was less busy than some other regions. The area is sometimes compared to Tuscany, with food and wine as abundant as the vistas, but without the crowds. That’s Continue Reading