Although New England will always be an autumn draw with its lush, fiery foliage and rich assortment of historic landmarks, food and wine lovers can get fired up any time of year at three historic properties in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Maine. Each stately inn offers programs where its nationally acclaimed chef serves up how-to’s, tastings and discovery-filled excursions with New England’s comforting classics front and center.
Timothy Caspare, the newly minted executive chef at The Vanderbilt, recently unveiled a series of multisensory, locally steered programming, rooted in the rich seafood bounty of Newport, Rhode Island. His Behind the Oyster experience, open to guests and locals, includes a tutorial on shucking oysters, stories behind local farms and fascinating explorations behind the scenes of Newport’s thriving sustainable fishing community. There is also a blindfolded tasting of oysters sourced in New England and elsewhere, perfectly paired with a choice of a classic martini or a smoky scotch.
The more informal Shuck Yeah happy hour offers a flavorful showcase of oysters from various New England purveyors. Each oyster variety is meticulously paired with a beverage that elevates the experience and fosters a deeper connection with the nearby community.
White Barn Inn in Kennebunk, Maine, begins its second half-century with a flourish by expanding its offerings to include private cooking classes. Developed with worldly modern travelers in mind, the distinctive classes at the luxury property allow participants to experience the charm and intention of White Barn Inn Restaurant by cooking right alongside the Inn’s professional culinary team. Guests and local class participants get the opportunity to prepare the restaurant’s signature dishes, as well as other favorites in a hands-on demonstration in the White Barn Inn kitchen. Rooted in contemporary New England cuisine, guests work hands on with produce, proteins and vegetables all sourced through relationships with farmers, fisherman and foragers of coastal Maine.
Executive Chef Jose Ramírez-Ruiz ushers in a new era of culinary excellence for the Washington, Connecticut-based Mayflower Inn & Spa through personalized, chef-driven culinary explorations on property. Boasting an a la carte menu and Chef-Led Dining Experience, the new chef breathes fresh excitement into its main venue, The Garden Room. The chef also elevates the tavern-inspired brasserie, The Tap Room, through his personalized, hyper-seasonal and local multicourse menus. A nod to his previous role at the Michelin-starred Semilla, which offered vegetable-forward tasting menus, he also serves up an Omakase-inspired experience to always ensure a dinner in which no two experiences are the same.
After a stressful pre-holiday season and a busy work schedule, there was no better time for a relaxing spa experience than during my recent trip to Pasadena with the FXExpress Publications, Inc. team. We headed to The Langham Huntington, Pasadena for the 20th anniversary of the GT Tested Reader Survey awards, which meant a jam-packed trip, but I managed to carve a little time out of our busy schedule to visit Chuan Spa at the hotel.
One affordable plan can protect an entire year of trips: business or pleasure, short or long, domestic or international.
You know what you’re going to get at an Aman hotel, and also you don’t. Expect peerless service, obsessive attention to detail, architectural elegance worthy of a fashion magazine, a holistic approach to wellness and astounding levels of comfort. But each property is also intimately connected to its setting, and that’s where the surprises lie. For instance, finding yourself on your knees on a sidewalk in Luang Prabang handing out sticky rice to Buddhist monks at 5:30 a.m. isn’t something we expected.
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It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Muscat, Oman, with us.