Tag Archives: eco-hotel

Part II: The Maine Event

Saar Harel - Contributor/Husband Extraordinaire

Part II of Saar Harel’s three part East Coast Road Trip series takes us from New York City to the great state of Maine where he’s sampling some of the best seafood shacks, lobster rolls, and savory clam chowders along the way. Romantic B&B’s, seaside inns, fireplaces, and a metallic blue 2012 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid… what more does a fun, married couple need?

Before we left Kennebunkport to head further up the Maine coast, we had to stop to eat at The Clam Shack, a local favorite. Great for fried clams, they were also featured on the Travel Channel’s show, Food Wars, last year, winning for their Lobster Roll (which is no frills, but very fresh). We didn’t have a chance to try Nunan’s Lobster Hut in Cape Porpoise, but that, too, came recommended as another old school lobster house, only open for dinner and seasonal.

The Clam Shack's Lobster Roll

Back on the road, we headed further north. As an avid outdoorsman, we decided to take a break and stretch our legs to check out the “Costco of the Outdoorsman World” – Cabela’s. Now, for most people in the world, an outdoor/camping store is around the size of 3-4 rooms. Cabela’s, like any red-blooded American, believes that bigger is MUCH better. From the huge elk statue at the entrance to the multiple displays of old trucks, deer, lion, gazelle, and anything else you can legally hunt, you have to pay attention and try keep your mouth closed. It’s a veritable cornucopia of taxidermy bliss.

Cabela's Gun's 'n Deer Heads

After seeing gun racks with well more than two thousand guns, my wife whipped out her camera to take photos (no doubt struck by the image of so many guns in one place). Then, we headed straight for target practice where we spent 30 minutes shooting at targets with a laser shotgun as we watched them pretend to be shot. The locals were amused. I purchased a gallon of the buck scent to bring back to my friend (since he needs all the help he can get with the young does).

Layla at the Shootin' Range

Back on the road and two quick hours later, we reached the Inn by the Seaa romantic luxury seaside resort in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The name itself is a great description because, well… it’s an inn and it’s by the sea. It’s exactly what you want it to be – comfortable and cozy with tasteful modern rooms and fireplaces set in rustic “historic” seaside architecture. All of this, of course, comes with sweeping views of Maine’s rugged coastline. Hungry from the drive, we dropped our bags before rushing off again to another seafood shack.

Inn by the Sea - Cape Elizabeth, Maine

The Lobster Shack was a bit touristy, but with a lovely view of the sea, a lighthouse, and their own foghorn to warn ships. I guess not all ships have Porsche GPS. I had the illustrious clam bellies and Layla had the crab roll. Although we weren’t blown away (and we were already getting tired of fried seafood and bread rolls), we had to try the local delicacies, of course.

The Lobster Shack - Cape Elizabeth, Maine

The lobster is said to be some of the best in the area and I don’t doubt that it is, but you can’t go wrong with lobster anywhere in Maine. That all said, the view was certainly worth it as you can grab your food and sit inside this cute little rustic area or outside on park bench tables overlooking the Cape.

The Lobster Shack - Interior

As the weather was getting colder we headed back to the Inn and headed straight for the paths. The luck of the draw is that the resort is surrounded by two national parks, so, instead of paying Smokey the Park Ranger for parking, you can just walk into the parks after a few hours of amazing Atlantic scenery mixed with changing weather. Alas… after a few hours of walking along Cape Elizabeth’s craggy coast, hunger again reared its head. So, after enjoying a refreshing rainforest shower – which drenches you as it revives you – we headed over to the Cayenne which was parked at the entrance. Yes, the Inn by the Sea has been awarded a Silver LEED certification and part of that means there’s special parking for hybrid or eco-friendly autos at the entrance.

The Inn by the Sea's Beautiful Garden Flowers

They’re the only hotel in Maine to heat with biofuel, waste food is sent to a local pig farm, they use high efficiency CFLs, recycled rubber makes up the cardio room floor, all paint is low VOC, wall coverings are made of recycled sheet rock, they have recycled key cards, and… they safeguard the area by planting different flowers and plants like milkweed for the Monarch butterfly. They also have Green Weddings with sustainable choices for gifts and organic menu options. Pretty impressive. And, for all of you pet lovers… Fido’s invited too – complete with a special doggy menu of goodies like Doggy Gumbo with Angus beef trips, steamed rice and dog biscuits or Meat “Roaff”.

HoneyMaker Mead Wine - For the Homo Sapiens

For a pre-dusk drink, I recommend trying their Maine HoneyMaker Meads. Mead is honey wine and this one right here is made with 100% Maine wildflower honey. Flavors like Cranberry, Blueberry, or Apple Cyser aren’t as sweet as they sound and it’s delicious, different, and smooth on the palate.

David's 388 - South Portland, Maine

Next up, we punched the address of David’s 388 into the Porsche Cayenne’s trusty GPS and were on our way. David’s is another restaurant you would never find if you didn’t know who to ask. We were lucky that my girl has the gift of gab because she’s always able to find the sweet spots. This little gem in the city of South Portland was fantastic. The décor was modern, the live band the perfect touch, the lighting ideal, the service both friendly and superb, and, although the place was full, the crowd was not nearly as noisy as New Yorkers – who often seem like they’re yelling at each other instead of talking. David’s 388 is your comfortable, casual neighborhood nook where diners can enjoy a range of bold flavors in an intimate space. The menu changes frequently and is separated into five categories: salads, starters, mains, neighborhood classics and desserts.

Ricotta Stuffed Shrimp

The food was incredibly good and, although the head chef was off at an event for one of his kids, judging from the apprentice’s cooking, the master is truly an expert. To start, we had a selection of delicacies. Blackened shrimp with honey Cajun sauce, shrimp stuffed with ricotta and wrapped in prosciutto (seen above), Pacific Rim tuna tartar with coconut chili truffle oil and sweet potato pommes goufret (our favorite) and crispy vegetable pot stickers with grilled Asian marinated beef in Peking sauce (okay, maybe tied with this). As a salad, the Peeky Toe crab and avocado salad with fresh mozzarella and tomato and avocado vinaigrette is stellar. For our main courses, we sampled the pork tenderloin with caramelized onion and grilled apple barbeque, mashed potato and crispy onions – something that my wife normally isn’t fond of, but, in this case, was all over. Slurp, slurp.

Peeky Toe Crab Salad

We also tried the beef tenderloin wrapped in double smoked bacon and, let’s just say, it’s a wonder they didn’t have to roll us out of there. It’s also a wonder we had room for dessert… a chocolate brownie napoleon with vanilla ice cream and, my wife’s favorite part, rum flambéed bananas. The plates were practically licked clean. And, of course, for the conclusion?

Mine! All mine!

A flight of three Taylor-Flagate Tawny Port!

Stay tuned for Part III of Saar Harel’s drive up the Maine coast in the brand new 2012 Porsche Cayenne. He’ll be weighing in on Boston’s Clam Chowder, as well as a few fine dining options courtesy of the Morgans Hotel Group.

Prana del Mar: Eco-Resort

Eco-Retreat, Baja: Prana del Mar

Prana del Mar

We love the sound of this brand new eco-resort and we’re proud to say that we’re one of the first to cover it. We sure feel special. But not nearly as special as you’ll feel all holed up in this deluxe eco-resort and yoga retreat center.

Featuring 15 spacious rooms and suites, each one with polished travertine-tiled floors, custom-made Indonesian teak and rattan furniture, pillow-top mattresses, organic sheets and bath towels, balconies and terraces with ocean views. All seven of their two-room suites also feature full stainless steel and granite kitchens. What else does your weary soul need?

Beyond their accommodations, they also have a Community Building with full restaurant and bar, lap pool and hot tub, spa treatment rooms, lounges, rooftop deck, and meditation room. For those seeking a little pampering, spa services include several styles of massage, body wraps, scrubs, reflexology, aromatherapy, and more.

A separate building houses their 1850 square-foot yoga studio with its airy palapa roof, honey-colored bamboo floor, and vista of the Pacific to the west and the Sierra de la Laguna mountains to the east. Take all that and five acres of xeriscaped gardens featuring native desert trees, plants, succulents, and a stone labyrinth for quiet contemplation and you’ve got yourself a solitary stretch of OM-nipotent golden sand and crashing waves all to your disposal.

Prana del Mar's Fine Rooms

All this does not come at the expense of sustainability though. All electricity is solar-powered (166 solar panels!), all wastewater is treated on-site and reused to irrigate the gardens. The salt water pool is solar-heated, the vegetable garden organic, the floor of the yoga studio is strand-woven bamboo, and all sheets and bath towels are organic. We think Prana del Mar is the future of sustainable travel so big up’s to them.

For a list of upcoming events, check out their Calendar: http://pranadelmar.com/calendar2011.html

Pricing differs depending upon the retreat, but starts as low as $1500 and includes 7-nights accommodations, all meals, roundtrip airport transfers, and taxes.

Nicaragua: Private Island Pilates Retreat

Nicaragua Beach Pilates Retreat: Jicaro Island Ecolodge

This just in, kiddos.

Now who’s taking me?

Jan. 29 – Feb. 4, 2011

Alycea Ungaro, celebrated author, celebrity trainer and wellness expert, will host Real Wellness, a private island retreat in Nicaragua. Real wellness will take place at Jicaro Island Ecolodge Nicaragua, a tranquil, 500 square meter private island in the Granada Islestas from January 29 to February 4, 2011.

Developed by Ungaro, the retreat is based upon her signature Principles of Wellness. Attendees will experience an immersion of healthy eating, exercise and wellness training. Known for motivating some of the world’s leading A-list celebrities at her Tribeca studio, Real Pilates in New York City, in addition to twice daily Pilates practice, each day, students will be guided through the teachings taken from her soon to be released book, The Pilates Practice Companion. Since the program was created to forge a foundation for sustainable and realistic lifestyle changes, customized take-home workouts and nutritional planning will be created for each participant. Through a combination of nutrition and learning, the group will gain knowledge that translates to life-changing possibilities for health and well-being. Jicaro, a secluded getaway,named in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2010 Hot List, the private island is ideal for relaxation or an out of the ordinary wellness vacation. Jicaro’s Eco-luxury accommodations offer the perfect refuge for relaxation and renewal designed in harmony with nature. Guest suites also provide an exceptional experience within the lush tropical forest.
I could really use an eco-luxury private island pilates retreat, couldn’t you?
Alycea Ungaro, Pilates Instructor Extraordinaire

Package Includes:

6-night accommodations at JICARO ISLAND ECOLODGE

Roundtrip ground transportation (Managua Airport to AQUA)

2x Daily Group Pilates Sessions with Alycea

All organic meals

Guided nature walk, lake kayaking, visit to local school

Package Pricing:

Single (Master Studio Accommodation) – US $2795

Double (Penthouse Accommodation) – US $2450


Caribbean Escapes: Discounted Flights, Over-Water Spas, & Chic Yoga Retreats

This hot off the press from an independent island hopper who reps some hidden gems in the Caribbean.
Kamalame Cay, Bahamas – Outer Islands

In celebration of its 10-year anniversary, Kamalame Cay, a 96-acre private island resort in the Bahamas, invites guests to FLY FOR FREE* THROUGH DECEMBER 14 and is also offering 20% OFF ALL SPA TREATMENTS for any Girls World* bookings. With the addition of new General Manager Peter Bauer, a new Spa Director, an onsite wedding planner, a new solar power system – and a new sister property in Jamaica – there are so many reasons this year is better than ever to seek out sunny serenity at two of the most authentic hideaways in the Caribbean. Perched on the edge of the ‘Tongue of the Ocean’ in The Bahamas, Kamalame Cay is a private island hideaway unlike any other. The secluded beachfront cottages combined with the three miles of white sand shores that run the length of the island are just what the body and soul need to re-center, relax and rejuvenate.
Kamalame Cay Private Island Resort Room

The new ‘Best of Both Worlds’ package encourages guests to extend their barefoot Bahamian getaway to Jamaica’s lesser known northeast coast – and the Hew family’s (who own Kamalame) – personal getaway. Using either Air Jamaica’s direct Nassau to Kingston service or flying private to maximize precious holiday minutes, the package includes three nights at Kamalame with choice of full day fishing or equivalent spa credit, 3 nights at Kanopi House, a VIP river rafting trip with quintessential Jamaican barbecue and another full or half-day excursion to one of the countless nearby waterfall wonderlands. Kamalame is also bringing back its ‘New Year, New You’ workshops in January at no extra charge. With (optional) daily yoga and motivational life coaching sessions with renowned Handel Group Life Coach Jo Sawalha to inspire and reinforce the “to thine own self be true” philosophy and encourage participants to exercise the power of body and mind to achieve the life of their dreams. The Kamalame Spa is also located over the turquoise waters of the lagoon and its five treatment rooms face out onto the surrounding sea with floor-to-ceiling windows that fully collapse. Hello?!?

Diving, snorkelling, tennis, sea kayaking into mangroves, as well as deep sea and bone fishing are all available right on property. So dine on the conch fritters at Hank’s Place (242/368-2447; http://www.hanks-place.com) on the water at Fresh Creek and tell Kamalame we sent you.

Kanopi House, in Jamaica, is a low-impact resort featuring a relaxed club house and four individual eco-chic tree houses in a luscious rainforest with commanding views over Port Antonio, often referred to as the Jamaican Riviera. A stone’s throw from the world famous Blue Lagoon, all meals and activities are catered to individual tastes.


Rates for six nights as above including inter-island air start at $2500pp based on double occupancy.

Visit: http://www.kamalame.com/news/The_Kamalame_Summer09.html for complete details.

Reservations for both properties (and the Best of Both Worlds) can be made by calling +1.800.790.7971 and mentioning this deal and where you heard about it. Meanwhile, Jet Blue launches service from JFK to Saint Lucia (UVF) October 26 and to Kingston, Jamaica on October 30th making this offer even more tempting.