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Finder Travel https://findertravel.net All Inclusive Travel Booking | Hotels and Flights Tue, 14 Dec 2021 23:47:20 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.4 https://findertravel.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/cropped-FinderTravel_logo-design_Update-03-32x32.png Finder Travel https://findertravel.net 32 32 172317519 Amtrak avoids service disruptions by allowing unvaccinated employees to work with negative COVID testsBailey Schulz https://findertravel.net/amtrak-avoids-service-disruptions-by-allowing-unvaccinated-employees-to-work-with-negative-covid-testsbailey-schulz/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=amtrak-avoids-service-disruptions-by-allowing-unvaccinated-employees-to-work-with-negative-covid-testsbailey-schulz Tue, 14 Dec 2021 23:47:20 +0000 https://findertravel.net/amtrak-avoids-service-disruptions-by-allowing-unvaccinated-employees-to-work-with-negative-covid-testsbailey-schulz/-en CLOSE The U.S. has updated requirements for international air travel. From testing to mask mandates, here’s what you need to know before booking a flight. USA TODAY Amtrak is no longer expecting service to be disrupted in the new year after announcing it will allow unvaccinated employees to remain working if they test regularly for […]

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The U.S. has updated requirements for international air travel. From testing to mask mandates, here’s what you need to know before booking a flight.

USA TODAY

Amtrak is no longer expecting service to be disrupted in the new year after announcing it will allow unvaccinated employees to remain working if they test regularly for the coronavirus.

The railway company had been expecting to cut back the frequency of service in January after discovering roughly 5% of its workers were running out of time to comply with a federal vaccine mandate requiring all federal contractors to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4.

Plans changed after a federal judge ruling last week halted the enforcement of President Joe Biden’s executive order.

“This caused the company to reevaluate our policy and to address the uncertainty about the federal requirements that apply to Amtrak,” according to a letter to employees signed by Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn. “After reviewing our system service plans in light of these changes, we do not anticipate having system-wide service impacts in January.”

Then-presidential candidate Joe Biden boards his train at Amtrak’s Pittsburgh Train Station in Pittsburgh on Sept. 30, 2020. (Photo: Andrew Harnik, AP)

The company plans to revert to its original vaccine mandate policy announced in early August, which allows testing as an alternative to vaccination. The less stringent policy will remain in effect while the executive order is not being enforced.

Most unvaccinated Amtrak employees will be able to continue working if they test negative for the virus weekly – if not more frequently – “on a temporary basis,” pending the outcome of the litigation.

Unvaccinated workers who are exempt from the vaccination policy will also need to test regularly, but are expected to be able to continue to work by regularly showing proof of a negative test, regardless of the court’s final decision on the executive order.

? Amtrak theft: Amtrak employee admits to stealing and reselling $76,000 worth of chainsaw parts over eight years

?Las Vegas deal: MGM will sell iconic Las Vegas Mirage Hotel in $1 billion deal

Unvaccinated employees who fail to submit their test results will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence. If they continue to ignore the testing requirement, they could permanently lose their job, according to Flynn’s letter.

Amtrak estimates that 97.3% of its workforce has at least one dose of a COVID vaccine and 95.7% is fully vaccinated, leaving fewer than 500 active employees who have not complied with the vaccine mandate. These figures do not include workers who have an approved exemption to the vaccination policy.

“This is remarkable progress – and we anticipate that between now and Jan. 4, we will get even closer to a 100% vaccination rate, which remains our goal and our policy,” Flynn said. He added that Amtrak will provide more details on its testing program “soon.”

Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/news/2021/12/14/amtrak-vaccine-january-service/8897389002/

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The T List: Holiday Gift Guide, Part II https://findertravel.net/the-t-list-holiday-gift-guide-part-ii-3/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-t-list-holiday-gift-guide-part-ii-3 Tue, 14 Dec 2021 21:46:24 +0000 https://findertravel.net/the-t-list-holiday-gift-guide-part-ii-3/-en The Best of 2021 ActorsMoviesTV ShowsArt BooksSongsTheaterNerdy Pleasures Advertisement Continue reading the main story Supported by Continue reading the main story The T List: Holiday Gift Guide, Part II Beauty stocking stuffers, cashmere slippers, homemade pasta — and more. Read in app Send any friend a story As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles […]

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Welcome to the T List, a newsletter from the editors of T Magazine. For this week, we’ve turned it into the second installment of our holiday gift guide, with recommendations from T staffers on what we’re coveting for ourselves this season, as well as the gifts we’re thinking of giving our friends and loved ones. Read the first edition here, and sign up here to find us in your inbox every Wednesday. And you can always reach us at tlist@nytimes.com.

Wrap Party

Cashmere Scarves With Old-World Charm

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A selection of scarves from the Lukas the Illustrator x SAVED Collection, $360 each, saved-ny.com.Credit…Courtesy of Saved New York

By David Farber

While a scarf may not be the most unexpected gift you give this holiday season, thanks to a recent collaboration between Saved NY — the home goods store and line founded by Sean McNanney — and the artist Lukas Palumbo, also known as Lukas The Illustrator, it could be the most beautiful. Saved NY is known for its sustainable Mongolian cashmere blankets and fashion accessories and Palumbo for finding inspiration in nature and 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century etchings. Cue seven original hand-spun, handwoven felted cashmere scarves featuring a range of vibrant designs that will take you back in time: One shows a ship on the high seas while another features a knight returning, presumably triumphant, after having had a faraway adventure.

cup of noodles

A Pasta-Themed Cookbook — and a Ceramic Bowl to Serve Your Creations In

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From left: Jono Pandolfi Union Bowl, $52, jonopandolfi.com; “Pasta: The Spirit and Craft of Italy’s Greatest Food, With Recipes,” $40, bookshop.org.Credit…Courtesy of Jono Pandolfi Designs

To me, there’s no better wintertime gift than a warm bowl of pasta — and no better pasta chef in America than Missy Robbins, of Brooklyn’s Lilia and Misi restaurants. This month, in collaboration with the New Jersey-based ceramist Jono Pandolfi (who made dinnerware for Lilia), she’s created the clay Union Bowl, which comes in three neutral shades, and has a deep shape that’s perfect for piling high with noodles; for the actual pasta, you could go one of two ways, depending on the culinary talents of the person you’re treating: Robbins and her partner, Talia Baiocchi, recently released “Pasta: The Spirit and Craft of Italy’s Greatest Food, With Recipes,” a comprehensive, beautifully photographed cookbook ideal for months spent hibernating. Or, if such kitchen skills can’t be relied upon, just send them fresh pasta, sauce and other provisions from Misi Pasta, the chef’s own online retailer, which ships nationwide.

Arresting Accents

Daisy Earrings and Fragrant Rings

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From left: Bernard James earrings, $590, bernardjames.com; Jodan ring, $120, rikumo.com.Credit…Courtesy of the brands

By Jameson Montgomery

In many cultures, the humble daisy symbolizes regeneration, a prescient theme for the dawn of a new year. For a pair of blooms that will last longer than those picked from a field, look to the Brooklyn-based jewelry designer Bernard James. His daisy-shaped studs are handcrafted from 14-karat gold and would make a charming gift for anyone looking for something of a fresh start. Or, for a piece of jewelry that smells like a flower, try one of the aromatic rings from Jodan, which is based in Arita, Japan. The otherwise minimalist ceramic bands have raised square or half-moon-shaped gold leaf accents that are meant to be daubed with essential oils (sold separately), and will carry their scent all day long.

Stocking Stuffers

A Marble-Handled Body Brush and Raspberry-Red Lipstick

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From left: Officine Universelle Buly 1803 Acetate Buly Toothbrush, about $45, buly1803.com; Byredo Mad Red lipstick, $42, byredo.com; Bathe Anointing Oil, from $30, bathebrand.com; Gilded Body Marble Body Brush, from $88, gildedbody.com.Credit…Courtesy of the brands

A beauty-and-wellness-themed stocking is sure to leave loved ones in need of a little extra pampering looking and feeling their best. To that end — Gilded Body offers a handmade Marble Body Brush, a dry brush that tackles rough winter skin. Then there’s Bathe’s Anointing Oils, which, when massaged into the skin before a bath or shower, create an immersive, aromatherapeutic experience. (Try any of the brand’s four calming scents — palo santo and vetiver; neroli and myrrh; lavender and sandalwood; and clary sage and citrus — or its Discovery Set, which includes a one-ounce bottle of each.) To spoil someone in need of serious unwinding, Crystal Greene, a facialist based in New York City, offers gift cards for her deeply relaxing La Sculpture facial, a rejuvenating treatment that incorporates massage techniques and leaves skin luminous. Once glowing from head to toe, your recipient will be in need of a finishing touch, perhaps in the form of Byredo’s Mad Red lipstick, a vibrant raspberry shade with a matte finish and a sculptural applicator that’s perfect for any holiday party. Or, for a more unexpected trinket, throw in an elegant acetate toothbrush with silk bristles from Officine Universelle Buly 1803, which can be engraved with the future brusher’s initials in the font of your choice.

Toast-Worthy Drinks

Korean Rice Wine and Tennessee Whiskey

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From left: Hana Makgeolli Ssuk Makgeolli, $24, hanamakgeolli.com; Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch Whiskey, $49, unclenearest.com.Credit…Courtesy of the brands

December is holiday-party season, and a nice bottle of booze is always a reliable Yuletide offering. For a beverage with a back story, try the artisanal rice wine from Hana Makgeolli. The Brooklyn-based producer was founded last year by the first-generation Korean American Alice Jun, who’d started making the milky Korean concoction in her apartment using organic rice and traditional brewing techniques she learned from her father growing up. She and her business partner, John Limb, also offer gift cards that can be used at their tasting room, where their makgeolli is served alongside housemade bar food, including Dubu Kimchi (steamed tofu with sauteed kimchi) and Bossam (braised pork belly and cabbage). If you’d prefer a dark liquor, there are various worthy options from Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, founded in 2017 by Fawn Weaver with an aim to pay homage to the first known African American master distiller, Nearest Green. All of the brand’s offerings, including its 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey and the 1884 Premium Small Batch Whiskey, are distilled, aged and bottled in Tennessee, where Green lived and worked.

home and away

Cashmere Slippers and Soothing Incense

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From left: Vyrao Ember Incense, $50, vyrao.com; John Lobb Knighton Slippers, $665, johnlobb.com.Credit…Courtesy of the brands

By Gage Daughdrill

Traveling around this time of year is always stressful, especially now. To temper the madness, and to dispel any preholiday jitters, I recommend creating a cozy environment wherever you land. Start by lighting a stick or two of incense from the London-based fragrance brand Vyrao. My favorite is Ember, which has notes of cistus and cedarwood, and comes in vibrant hues of neon orange, bright yellow and magenta. Then pad around your newly fragrant place in a pair of just-as-colorful Knighton slippers from the British heritage brand John Lobb. They’re made of a soft and cushiony cashmere suede, and come with a zippable travel case that, going forward, you won’t leave home without.

Game time

A Floral Puzzle, Lucite Chess Pieces and More

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Clockwise from top left: Sunnylife Lucite Chess & Checkers set, $220, sunnylife.com; Parks Project’s Minimalist National Park Playing Cards, $14, parksproject.us; Piecework Tall Poppy puzzle, $32, pieceworkpuzzles.com; Monopoly ISSIMO board game, about $142, issimoissimo.com.Credit…Courtesy of the brands

By Kristina Samulewski

Games are always an easy way to bring family and friends together, and this year, there’s something for everyone. Take the new Monopoly ISSIMO, made in collaboration with the Italian e-commerce retailer, which is an offshoot of the legendary Pellicano Hotels Group. Modeled after an Italian road trip, this update to the classic board game takes players through the country’s 20 regions, highlighting iconic locations such as Fiordo di Furore, Stromboli and Burano, to name a few. For a more meditative endeavor, try Piecework’s new Tall Poppy 500-piece puzzle, which, when assembled, reveals a fuchsia-toned photograph taken by the floral designer Doan Ly. Parks Project’s Minimalist National Park Playing Cards, meanwhile, feature illustrations of scenes from the Badlands, the Grand Canyon and other national parks, and proceeds from the deck go to supporting the protection and preservation of public lands. Finally, for the aesthetes on your list, Sunnylife’s Lucite Chess & Checkers board is an eye-catching two-in-one game set whose transparent pieces are miniature sculptural works in their own right.

Small Packages

Personal-Feeling Jewelry and Antique Trays

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From left: Panconesi Famiglia necklace, $465, marcopanconesi.com; Vintage trinket trays from Ren, from $20, shop-ren.com.Credit…Courtesy of the brands

When I give jewelry to a friend, it’s important to me that it’s more than just a beautiful piece, so I begin by choosing a maker whose work feels deeply personal. One example is the Florentine designer Marco Panconesi, who draws on his memories of travels with his family. I especially like this pendant necklace of his with layered chains and a blue obsidian dipped in green enamel. Another is Ren, founded by Crystal Ung, whose mission is to honor and extend her Asian American heritage through modern jade pieces. And if jewelry simply feels too intimidating of a gift, consider one of her vintage trinket trays, which are sourced from Asia, date back to the 19th century and work perfectly for holding already-owned baubles.

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Another popular European destination added to State Department’s ‘do not travel’ list due to COVIDBailey Schulz https://findertravel.net/another-popular-european-destination-added-to-state-departments-do-not-travel-list-due-to-covidbailey-schulz/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=another-popular-european-destination-added-to-state-departments-do-not-travel-list-due-to-covidbailey-schulz Tue, 14 Dec 2021 20:43:22 +0000 https://findertravel.net/another-popular-european-destination-added-to-state-departments-do-not-travel-list-due-to-covidbailey-schulz/-en CLOSE The U.S. has updated requirements for international air travel. From testing to mask mandates, here’s what you need to know before booking a flight. USA TODAY The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising all U.S. travelers to avoid Italy, Greenland and Mauritius, regardless of vaccination status. The agency on Monday boosted the […]

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The U.S. has updated requirements for international air travel. From testing to mask mandates, here’s what you need to know before booking a flight.

USA TODAY

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising all U.S. travelers to avoid Italy, Greenland and Mauritius, regardless of vaccination status.

The agency on Monday boosted the three countries to its level 4 “very high” coronavirus advisory list, saying travelers should avoid these destinations or, if they “must” travel, make sure they are fully vaccinated beforehand.

There are 84 destinations labeled as having “very high” COVID risk as of this week, including other popular European countries like France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The CDC looks at a number of factors to determine a country’s risk level, including case counts and testing data.

The State Department concurrently added Italy and Mauritius to its own level 4 travel advisory on Monday, warning “do not travel” to these destinations.

? European travel: Italy imposes strict COVID rules for unvaccinated

? Which EU countries are open to tourists?: A breakdown of EU travel restrictions by country

A tourist wearing a mask walks by the Colosseum monument in Rome, Italy in March 2020. (Photo: ALBERTO PIZZOLI, AFP via Getty Images)

Italy is experiencing another COVID-19 wave, with more than 112,000 cases reported the week of Dec. 6, a 13% increase from the week prior, according to the World Health Organization.

The country has tightened COVID restrictions in recent weeks, banning travel from eight African countries to curb the spread of omicron and excluding unvaccinated people who have not recovered from the virus from indoor restaurants, theaters and museums.

Other changes to the CDC’s travel health notices include:

Malaysia dropped from level 4 to level 3.Tanzania dropped from level 4 to “level unknown.”Jamaica, Sint Maarten, The Republic of Congo and the Philippines dropped from level 3 to level 2.Equatorial Guinea dropped from level 2 to level 1.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2021/12/14/travel-warning-italy-greenland-mauritius-cdc-covid/8893775002/

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It’s an Interactive Experience, Charlie Brown! https://findertravel.net/its-an-interactive-experience-charlie-brown-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=its-an-interactive-experience-charlie-brown-2 Tue, 14 Dec 2021 19:46:48 +0000 https://findertravel.net/its-an-interactive-experience-charlie-brown-2/-en Advertisement Continue reading the main story Supported by Continue reading the main story It’s an Interactive Experience, Charlie Brown! An adventure awaits visitors in Honolulu in “The Search for Snoopy,” starting in March. Read in app Send any friend a story As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can […]

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“Peanuts” fans who have dreamed of visiting Snoopy’s red doghouse, Lucy’s therapy booth (only 5 cents!) or Charlie Brown’s classroom will have their chance next year, with an interactive experience in Honolulu called “The Search for Snoopy: A Peanuts Adventure.”

The event will take visitors through the familiar scenery of Charles M. Schulz’s newspaper strips and cartoons, and will be presented at Ala Moana Center, an open-air mall, starting in March.

“The beauty of ‘Peanuts’ is that there are 17,500-and-some-odd strips that Sparky — Charles Schulz — created over the 50 years of ‘Peanuts’ in syndication,” which provided many stories, themes and locations to mine, Craig Herman, a Peanuts Worldwide vice president, said in a conference call with the show’s producer. (Original “Peanuts” strips were published from Oct. 2, 1950, through Feb. 13, 2000. The last original installment came out the day after Schulz‘s death.)

For the Hawaii experience, Peanuts Worldwide partnered with Kilburn Live, the company that produced an interactive Dr. Seuss Experience, in a collaboration that began three years ago. “It takes a long time to get it right,” Mark Manuel, the chief executive of Kilburn, said in the interview.

Other set pieces in “The Search for Snoopy” include Charlie Brown’s bedroom, where visitors can release a Charlie Brown-like “Aaugh!” that will be measured and ranked, and Charlie Brown’s classroom, where participants can hear themselves in the indecipherable garble of the adults as they were heard in “Peanuts” on TV. A national tour of the show is planned following its run in Honolulu.

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It’s an Interactive Experience, Charlie Brown! https://findertravel.net/its-an-interactive-experience-charlie-brown/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=its-an-interactive-experience-charlie-brown Tue, 14 Dec 2021 16:34:32 +0000 https://findertravel.net/its-an-interactive-experience-charlie-brown/-en Advertisement Continue reading the main story Supported by Continue reading the main story It’s an Interactive Experience, Charlie Brown! An adventure awaits visitors in Honolulu in “The Search for Snoopy,” starting in March. Read in app Send any friend a story As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can […]

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“Peanuts” fans who have dreamed of visiting Snoopy’s red doghouse, Lucy’s therapy booth (only 5 cents!) or Charlie Brown’s classroom will have their chance next year, with an interactive experience in Honolulu called “The Search for Snoopy: A Peanuts Adventure.”

The event will take visitors through the familiar scenery of Charles M. Schulz’s newspaper strips and cartoons, and will be presented at Ala Moana Center, an open-air mall, starting in March.

“The beauty of ‘Peanuts’ is that there are 17,500-and-some-odd strips that Sparky — Charles Schulz — created over the 50 years of ‘Peanuts’ in syndication,” which provided many stories, themes and locations to mine, Craig Herman, a Peanuts Worldwide vice president, said in a conference call with the show’s producer. (Original “Peanuts” strips were published from Oct. 2, 1965, through Feb. 13, 2000. The last original installment came out the day after Schulz‘s death.)

For the Hawaii experience, Peanuts Worldwide partnered with Kilburn Live, the company that produced an interactive Dr. Seuss Experience, in a collaboration that began three years ago. “It takes a long time to get it right,” Mark Manuel, the chief executive of Kilburn, said in the interview.

Other set pieces in “The Search for Snoopy” include Charlie Brown’s bedroom, where visitors can release a Charlie Brown-like “Aaugh!” that will be measured and ranked, and Charlie Brown’s classroom, where participants can hear themselves in the indecipherable garble of the adults as they were heard in “Peanuts” on TV. A national tour of the show is planned following its run in Honolulu.

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Visitors to Hawaii are enjoying an unexpected taste of ItalyUSA TODAY https://findertravel.net/visitors-to-hawaii-are-enjoying-an-unexpected-taste-of-italyusa-today/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=visitors-to-hawaii-are-enjoying-an-unexpected-taste-of-italyusa-today Tue, 14 Dec 2021 14:51:14 +0000 https://findertravel.net/visitors-to-hawaii-are-enjoying-an-unexpected-taste-of-italyusa-today/-en CLOSE If you want to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow then your safest bet is to go to Hawaii, because according to a new study that’s the best place on Earth to experience rainbows. Buzz60 The Italian restaurant scene on Oahu, Hawaii is growing, evolving and becoming more eclectic, […]

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If you want to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow then your safest bet is to go to Hawaii, because according to a new study that’s the best place on Earth to experience rainbows.

Buzz60

The Italian restaurant scene on Oahu, Hawaii is growing, evolving and becoming more eclectic, as fine dining establishments with award-winning chefs are coexisting with casual cafes and newly-opened pizza places.

Melissa Chang is a food blogger based in Hawaii and is considered a local expert when it comes to the islands’ dining scene. She says, “The Italian food in Hawaii has improved over the past several years, as more chefs are traveling, expanding their horizons and learning about new techniques that Italian chefs use. On the flip side of that, we’re also seeing Japanese chefs immersing themselves in Italian cooking – and when they arrive in Hawaii, they stay true to the traditional Italian culinary styles.”

In addition to a number of fine dining Italian restaurants, Chang also noted that several pizza restaurants opened on Oahu during the pandemic, including Little G Cafe, ili ili Cash and Carry and Fatto a Mano.

She says, “Pizza was exactly what people were looking for during the COVID shutdown – delicious, Italian-style take-out comfort food. The pizza at these new restaurants is incredible – all are hand-tossed and each one features a completely different, yet delectable crust. They really upped their game, and these chefs are masters of their craft – and I see they are obsessed with perfecting their pizza dough. We enjoy tasting all of them, and they’ve turned me and my friends into true pizza snobs.”

Oahu-based content creator Izah Blue showcases Hawaii restaurants on the YouTube food channel, Aroma Surf. He has featured some local Italian restaurants in his videos that shine a spotlight on individually-owned restaurants, cafes and food trucks on the island, as well as a glimpse into some neighborhoods away from the touristy scene.

He says, “There’s a small, close-knit Italian community here in Hawaii that makes some great Italian food of all kinds that are worth checking out. Every restaurant serves up their own style – some stick to the classics and others are more inventive, but I believe our talented Italian chefs here really do it right.”

These are a number of noteworthy Italian restaurants on the island of Oahu, and here are just a few standouts.

Orchids

(Photo: Halekulani)

Originally from Genoa, Italy, Christian Testa is the Chef de Cuisine at Orchids restaurant at the iconic Halekulani Hotel, located by the ocean on the world-famous Waikiki Beach. Testa’s menu at Orchids reflects his Mediterranean heritage, and features an abundance of local produce and seafood sourced from the islands.

Guests keep returning for his artfully-presented classics, including several varieties of homemade pasta dishes, such as a house favorite, the Lasagnette, which happens to be his grandmother’s recipe from Italy and includes warm avocado, shrimp and scallops. Other standouts are squid-ink spaghettini; Alaskan king crab tortelloni (with sea urchin sauce); and hand-cut maltagliati “Frutti di Mare ragu” with spinach basil pasta.

(Photo: Halekulani )

Testa considers his menu authentically Mediterranean. He says, “I’m proud that all of my pastas are made from scratch. I use healthy, light ingredients in my food and emphasize clean, delicate flavors. The herbs and vegetables in Hawaii are slightly different from the similar varieties grown in Italy, but the combination of island-harvested produce combined with an Italian style of cooking is what makes our menu so innovative and extraordinary.”

Quiora

(Photo: Quiora)

Meaning “here and now” in Italian, Quiora is an upscale farm-to-table restaurant located in the Ritz-Carlton Waikiki, a modern, high-rise resort with a spacious lanai high above Waikiki offering outstanding views of the city and the ocean beyond.

Quiora’s acclaimed Chef de Cuisine, Miranda Eckerfield, developed a menu that’s inspired by Italy’s culinary traditions and flavors, such as spaghetti carbonara with pancetta, and pecorino and pork pappardelle, with whey-braised pork, fresh ricotta and locally-grown cherry tomatoes. Other favorites include whole, fresh-caught fish and house-cut steaks. Wine pairings (featuring Italian varietals as well as others) and house-made desserts are also offered, so guests can enjoy the full experience.

There are some surprises, too. In addition to the specialties from the old country, Eckerfield also created a special lobster roll as an homage to Executive Chef Shaymus Alwin, who happens to be the son of a Maine lobsterman.

Taormina

(Photo: Melissa Chang)

Named after a picturesque seaside village in Sicily, Taormina is located steps from the ocean on Waikiki’s Beach Walk and offers Italian specialties made with locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Executive chef Hiroyuki Mimura is originally from Japan and has extensive experience using Italian techniques in award-winning restaurants in Italy.

A few top-selling dishes include antipasto Seppia alla Siciliana (grilled Spanish squid with vegetables and an herb dressing); and entrees Norma alla Catanese (bucatini with spiced tomato sauce, pancetta and eggplant) and Sarde e Finochetti (spaghetti with sauteed sardines, fennel, anchovy and capers).

Chang is a devoted fan of the sea urchin pasta (Ricci di Mare) here and explained, “Taormina is always consistently delicious. Chef Hiro is committed to keeping his Italian specialties completely authentic. He also keeps the original Italian names of the dishes on the menu as well.”

The extensive wine list at Taormina features a diverse collection of award-winning vintages from throughout Italy.

Allegrini Mozzarella

Chef Pasquale Allegrini opened his casual restaurant, Allegrini Mozzarella, in early 2021 in Honolulu’s Diamond Head shopping center. A native from Bari, Italy, Pasquale arrived in Hawaii a few years ago as an importer of Italian foods.

Allegrini Mozzarella is located in an unassuming spot and offers a menu with a variety of familiar Italian classics (gnocchi, lasagna, eggplant parmigiana) made with imported ingredients, including burrata, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses. Homemade pastas and other specialties, such as Italian-style mussels and a selection of generously-sized salads are also available (including Caprese and Caesar).

The cafe also features a small market and sells a variety of imported packaged Italian specialties.

Noe

(Photo: Four Seasons Ko Olina)

Situated in a garden oasis in the sprawling Four Seasons Ko Olina Resort on Oahu’s Leeward Coast, Noe is an authentic Italian restaurant that attracts food-loving locals as well as tourists. Originally from Japan, acclaimed chef Ryo Takatsuka spent over 10 years honing his culinary skills in Italy, cooking in highly-rated Michelin-starred restaurants, including the famed La Terrazza in Rome.

(Photo: Four Seasons Ko Olina)

He describes his menu as “Capri meets Hawaii,” and it features elegant yet flavorful items from Southern Italy. A few of Noe’s top dishes include the signature tagliatelle, with black truffles and Parmigiana Reggiano; whipped ricotta with truffle honey, Marcona almonds and house-made focaccia; and the ahi tuna carpaccio with capers, sea asparagus and salsa verde.

In June 2021, the restaurant released their own private label wines, Noe Allodio (Sangiovese 2015 and Viognier 2015), in collaboration with Podere San Michele in Tuscany, Italy.

10Best is a part of the USA TODAY Network — providing an authentically local point of view on destinations around the world — in addition to travel and lifestyle advice.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/10best/2021/12/14/visitors-to-hawaii-are-enjoying-an-unexpected-taste-of-italy/49506493/

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Fires, Landslides, Lack of Snow: The Ski Industry Girds for Battle https://findertravel.net/fires-landslides-lack-of-snow-the-ski-industry-girds-for-battle-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fires-landslides-lack-of-snow-the-ski-industry-girds-for-battle-2 Tue, 14 Dec 2021 13:50:31 +0000 https://findertravel.net/fires-landslides-lack-of-snow-the-ski-industry-girds-for-battle-2/-en Advertisement Continue reading the main story Supported by Continue reading the main story Fires, Landslides, Lack of Snow: The Ski Industry Girds for Battle From firestorms in California’s Tahoe region to melting glaciers in the Alps, ski areas face a daunting array of environmental threats. Here’s what some resorts are doing. Read in app Send […]

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From the top of an intermediate ski slope called Ridge Run at Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly resort, Bryan Hickman knew what was at stake.

It was late August and for the past two weeks the Caldor Fire had been tearing through California’s Eldorado National Forest. Nearly 150,000 acres of drought-primed timber, brush and grass had already burned and 72,000 more acres would go up in flames before the fire’s containment in October. Hundreds of homes in Grizzly Flats, a community of about 2,000 people, to the southwest, had been lost.

Climate change, a driving force behind catastrophic fires like this one, had placed one of the nation’s favorite winter destinations under siege.

Sierra at Tahoe, a 2,000-acre ski area, was already engulfed in flames, and chairlifts like Short Stuff and the trees around runs like Dogwood and Clipper were now charred. Embers wafted on the firestorm’s wind patterns to the mountains on the other side of Christmas Valley, where they ignited more fires that ran toward the ski shops, restaurants and homes of South Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe basin. Flames lashed a soot-colored sky as they approached resorts like Kirkwood to the south, and now Heavenly, which straddles the Nevada-California line.

“There was so much uncertainty,” Mr. Hickman recalled in an email. “It was really frightening.”

As a senior manager in charge of all snow surfaces at Heavenly, Mr. Hickman and scores of other employees began grueling 22-hour shifts to get 70 of the resort’s snowmaking guns slathering buildings, lifts and other critical infrastructure in water. The guns might not snuff a fire this angry, but the added humidity could buy firefighters some time.

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Last April, a forest fire burned in New Mexico, west of the Ski Apache resort. A decade ago, two resorts, Pajarito Mountain Ski Area and Ski Apache, suffered damage in separate wildfires.Credit…USDA Forest Service, via Associated Press

An industry in peril

About 122 ski areas in the United States sit on national forest land — or about 60 percent of all downhill skiing capacity in the country — so fiery threats are nothing new to them. Two New Mexican resorts, Pajarito Mountain Ski Area and Ski Apache, suffered damage in separate wildfires about a decade ago. But the sport, along with ice fishing, pond hockey and scuba diving near a coral reef, could be something of an indicator species for the acute challenges climate change poses to the $788 billion outdoor industry and its legions of enthusiasts. With an estimated 15 million people going to Tahoe annually, the region and the thrashing it endured last summer serve as perhaps the starkest, most visible billboard yet of what lies ahead for ski areas caught in a crisis that knows no season.

“I always thought climate was going to take the industry out, for sure, but due to warming, shorter seasons and spring meltdown,” said Auden Schendler, Aspen Skiing Company’s senior vice president for sustainability. “I now believe the way we’re going down is through fire.”

Ski and outdoor industry leaders aren’t just standing by. While many areas have robust plans in case a fire hits, the country’s biggest ski companies, including Vail Resorts, Alterra, Powdr and Boyne, banded together to fight a changing climate that’s making those fire plans more relevant. Individual ski areas are also ramping up their own frontline efforts that now go well beyond LED lights and recycling. Still, how effective any of this might be remains to be seen.

“Until we get legislation on a federal level that tackles the problem, it’s really about adaptation and mitigation,” said Mike Reitzell, the president of Ski California, an industry group that represents 35 resorts in California and Nevada. “Fortunately, adapting is something we’re really good at.”

Exactly what’s in store for the ski industry has been studied at least 120 times in 27 countries so far, but the results largely paint the same picture, said Daniel Scott, a professor who researches climate and society at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. The average length of a ski season in the United States shrank for the first time in four decades during the 2010s, he said, and by 2050, New England can expect a season that’s 13 percent to 22 percent shorter than average. In Europe, the Chamonix-based Research Center for Alpine Ecosystems found spring is coming two to five days earlier each decade on Mont Blanc. In the American West, it’s dire. The amount of snow still covering the Rockies and Cascades in April — a major summertime water source for many — has shrunk on average 19 percent between 1955 and 2020, according to data compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“We’re already thinking about our summer rafting business and what will happen if there’s less water in the rivers,” said John McLeod, president and general manager of Oregon’s Mount Bachelor, which also operates the Bend-based whitewater outfitter, Sun Country Tours.

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Researchers have found that spring is arriving two to five days earlier each decade on Mont Blanc. Above, the Gouter Refuge in France, where many skiers stop on the way to the top of Mont Blanc.Credit…Nicolas Blandin for The New York Times

And then there are the landslides, hurricanes, destructive winds and other weird, intense weather that ski areas must contend with. In August 2011, Tropical Storm Irene lashed Killington, Vt., with so much water that a flood dislodged the Superstar Pub from its foundation and caused it to collapse. In February, 2020, a landslide at Sasquatch Mountain Resort in British Columbia left hundreds of people stranded on the hill.

The economic impacts are staggering. A 2018 report by researchers at the University of New Hampshire and Colorado State University for the advocacy group Protect Our Winters shows the five least-snowy winters between 2001 and 2016 cost the industry an estimated $1 billion and more than 17,000 jobs a season. Mr. Scott, the climate professor, adds vacation property values could decline and ski areas that can’t make enough snow may close. In Colorado, workers have already extended snowmaking to the top of 11,212-foot-high Aspen Mountain so managers can run the top half of that resort independently in anticipation of losing lower elevation runs. The ski areas that do survive are likely to become more crowded even as the general skier population dwindles.

“Assuming demand remains near current levels, which the analogues of recent record warm winters have demonstrated,” said Mr. Scott, “resorts will have to accommodate more skiers in fewer ski days, with less terrain open.”

A two-prong approach

To fight this, ski areas are taking a two-prong approach, in Washington, D.C., and at home. The political fight to combat climate change is a slow-moving one, but groups like the National Ski Areas Association, the Outdoor Industry Association and Snowsports Industries America work with lawmakers — like Representative Ann McLane of New Hampshire who leads the Congressional Ski and Snowboard Caucus — to get them to enact meaningful climate policies. Protect Our Winters, a consortium of athletes, scientists, ski area managers and outdoor business leaders, wants a price on carbon, more renewable energy and cleaner transportation systems. To do that, the organization is trying to mobilize “the outdoor state” to “create a giant, powerful climate movement,” said Aspen’s Mr. Schendler, who is also the group’s chairman.

“The outdoor industry is bigger, wealthier, crazier and more influential than the N.R.A.,” he said. “We need CEOs and trade groups and leadership to wield that power ruthlessly. Pretend you are the N.R.A. and climate were gun rights. What would you do?”

For the past two decades, most of what’s been done has occurred at the local level as ski areas look to green their operations — a strategy that Mr. Schendler calls “fundamentally a PR move.”

Since 2000, however, the National Ski Areas Association has created guidance and initiatives to help ski areas become more sustainable and to do more advocacy work. Adrienne Saia Isaac, the organization’s director of marketing and communications, said American ski areas, working with the NSAA, have reduced their emissions by more than 110,000 metric tons over the past decade and they’ve purchased renewable energy credits for twice that amount. Together, that’s roughly the equivalent of not burning 352 million pounds of coal.

It’s also a pittance compared to the 400 to 1,600 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases that Oxford Net Zero, a research group at the University of Oxford in England, says we will need to remove from the atmosphere to ward off the worst of climate change, but it helps. Powering a resort almost entirely on solar energy as Park City and Deer Valley are doing; finding ways to build more eco-friendly housing, as a partnership between Utah’s Powder Mountain and Weber State University is doing; or even composting leftover food scraps more efficiently, as New Mexico’s Taos Ski Valley is doing — these moves may not move the needle much, but they still have value.

“If you were to take every ski resort in the country down to net zero emissions, we wouldn’t even put a dent in the problem, so we can’t do it alone,” Mr. Reitzell of Ski California said. “But when Palisades Tahoe works to eliminate single-use plastic, which isn’t going to make that big of a change, they also have thousands and thousands of people who see that, and so the hope is that these efforts grow far beyond the resort.”

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On Mount Titlis, near the Alpine resort of Engelberg in Switzerland, protective “blankets” cover part of a glacier to keep it from melting.Credit…Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

Protecting glaciers and ‘farming snow’

Scientists estimate Switzerland could lose 90 percent of its remaining 1,500 glaciers by the end of the century, which has prompted some ski areas, like Engelberg, to cover its glaciers in summer with heat-reflecting textiles that slow the melting. That technique works, but it is very expensive, costing as much as $8.60 to save one cubic meter of ice, an April 2021 study published in the journal Cold Regions Science and Technology found.

Other experiments in the Alps involve misting glaciers to form protective layers of snow. At Canada’s Banff Sunshine Village, workers are finding better ways to “farm snow” by installing 82,000 feet of fencing to trap natural snowfall that they can then distribute around the resort instead of spending the energy to make snow.

Here in the United States, some resorts are adding wood chips to their slopes in summer or removing rocks so that they need less snow to make runs skiable come winter. More than 200 ski areas across the country have signed onto an NSAA initiative to reduce their environmental impact across 10 topic areas, including energy, supply chains and water. Some of the projects to emerge in recent years are “uber cool,” says Ms. Isaac, even if the return on the investment isn’t so robust.

Copper Mountain in Colorado, for instance, has volunteers collecting seeds from native wildflowers and grasses across the resort that they then use to restore disturbed areas. The plan could eventually include measuring the carbon this effort sequesters and packaging it as offsets. Alta, in Utah, has worked to restore wetlands and forests, while tree planting is a part of Powdr’s “Play Forever” commitment across its properties.

Aspen, meanwhile, spent about $5.34 million around 2012 retrofitting a nearby coal mine with a generator that creates about three megawatts of electricity using the mine’s methane gases that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere or burned uselessly in a flare. That power, which is sold back into the grid, is enough to power the resort annually.

Of course, little of this would do much to save a ski hill from a catastrophic wildfire, the rising threat of which has caused insurance premiums to triple in recent years for places like Mount Hood Meadows near Portland, Ore. That resort, along with Bogus Basin near Boise, Idaho, suffered near misses last season when fires started on their mountains. Both resorts had recently purchased new fire trucks and were able to attack the blazes right away.

“Our forests are much more dense than they were historically,” said Nadia Tase, a senior environmental scientist with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “One way to deal with it is to put more fire on the landscape, but we’re kind of now at this point where it is a challenge to do that safely at a large enough scale to make an impact.”

Oregon’s Mount Bachelor may have an answer.

The resort has completed the design on a wood-fired furnace facility near its West Village Base Area that would run off forest scraps created when workers thin a forest’s overgrown understory to prevent flames from climbing these “ladder fuels” into the tops of trees. The furnace is designed to burn chips made from this material to heat buildings, replacing about 150,000 gallons of propane the resort uses a year and reducing overall emissions by nearly a fifth.

Other ski areas like Bridger Bowl and Red Lodge in Montana, and Mount Abram in Maine, have similar projects underway.

In the end, California’s Caldor Fire did breach the Tahoe basin, and about 10,000 acres burned, an area more than three times the size of the largest fire ever recorded in the basin, 2007’s Angora fire. Firefighters stopped it from reaching Heavenly and South Lake Tahoe, and Kirkwood Mountain Resort escaped mostly unscathed, too.

Sierra at Tahoe didn’t fare so well, though. While early season snowstorms allowed some resorts in the region to open before Thanksgiving, Sierra’s managers in early December were still wrestling with the fire’s damage that complicates how and when the resort might open.

Meanwhile, even projects like Bachelor’s can’t atone for what some see as the biggest climate sin. “A lot of people still have to get in planes or in cars if they want to ski,” said Todd Walton, executive director of the Winter Wildlands Alliance. “The carbon impact from all of that far outweighs how you spin the lifts.”

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Omicron and Travel: So, Now Do I Need Trip Insurance? https://findertravel.net/omicron-and-travel-so-now-do-i-need-trip-insurance-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=omicron-and-travel-so-now-do-i-need-trip-insurance-2 Tue, 14 Dec 2021 13:50:03 +0000 https://findertravel.net/omicron-and-travel-so-now-do-i-need-trip-insurance-2/-en Advertisement Continue reading the main story Supported by Continue reading the main story Omicron and Travel: So, Now Do I Need Trip Insurance? In light of the new variant, is extra protection warranted for things like flight and lodging cancellations and quarantine hotels? It depends. Here’s what you need to know. Read in app Send […]

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While the pandemic has depressed travel, it may have encouraged travel insurance, say those in the industry.

“The biggest question we get from customers is: ‘What happens if I get Covid during travel and what if I have to quarantine?'” said Jeremy Murchland, the president of Seven Corners, a travel insurance management company. “Covid has created a much broader awareness of travel insurance.”

But will it help you in light of the new Omicron variant, which has already led to new travel restrictions and requirements? In the early days of the pandemic, travel insurance largely failed to protect travelers who wanted or needed to cancel as the world shut down. The following are answers to common questions about travel insurance now.

Does travel insurance cover Covid-19, including the new Omicron variant?

For the most part, yes, travel insurance policies now treat Covid-19 in all its variants — including Omicron — like any other medical emergency.

“Consumers should know that most travel insurance plans with medical benefits now treat Covid like any other illness that you could contract while traveling or that could prohibit you from going on your trip,” said Carol Mueller, a vice president of Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. “If you become ill before your trip, you’ll need a doctor’s note confirming your illness and that you are unable to travel in order to be eligible for benefits. The benefits are the same regardless of whether you contract Omicron, another variant of Covid or any illness for that matter.”

Buyers should read the policies carefully and look out for those that exclude pandemics, Covid-19 and its variants. To make a claim, you must have had travel insurance before becoming ill.

“We always say, you can’t buy auto insurance after you’ve already had an accident,” said Meghan Walch, the product manager of InsureMyTrip, an insurance sales site. “It is designed for unforeseen issues. You have to purchase it before an event.”

I am traveling internationally. If borders close because of Omicron, am I covered through travel insurance?

No, most policies do not cover you if your foreign destination closes its borders to visitors, as Israel did recently. With a few exceptions, that also goes for a government-issued travel warning to a destination, which is generally not a covered reason to make a claim.

Given the added uncertainties of Omicron, should I consider a ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ policy?

Cancel for Any Reason, or C.F.A.R., provisions would allow you to claim some of your nonrefundable costs if you decide not to go on a trip for any reason, including border closures or fear of contracting Covid. The rub is that this form of insurance — in addition to being more expensive — must generally be purchased within a few weeks of booking the trip and will only return 50 to 75 percent of nonrefundable trip costs.

“Most travel insurance policies do not cover you for wanting to cancel out of fear of Covid. We say this 10 times a week,” said Sarah Groen, the owner of the agency Bell and Bly Travel. She counsels clients to consider their worst fears — illness, for example, or quarantine — in troubleshooting travel insurance. “We’ve become like therapists,” she said.

What about quarantine and medical expenses?

Make sure the policy you choose covers these. In the case of medical coverage, check with your regular health insurer; many policies will not cover you abroad, which is an additional reason to consider coverage if you are traveling internationally.

“What travel insurance can do is cover additional hotel stays if you are able to self-quarantine and additional airfare when you’re able to come home,” said Megan Moncrief, the chief marketing officer for Squaremouth, a travel insurance sales site. She added that most policies will extend to seven days past your originally scheduled return date, effectively covering only about seven days in case of quarantine.

Do some destinations require travel insurance?

Yes, primarily to cover medical care or quarantine accommodations in the event that a traveler tests positive for Covid-19. For example, Singapore requires medical insurance with a minimum coverage of 30,000 Singapore dollars, or about $22,000. Fiji requires travel insurance to cover potential treatment for Covid-19, and makes it available from about $30. Some destinations, such as Anguilla, recommend rather than require travel insurance. InsureMyTrip.com has a page devoted to countries that require travel insurance.

It bears thinking about what it would take to get home for treatment should you contract Covid-19 abroad. Thailand, for example, requires travelers to have medical insurance with the minimum coverage of $50,000. “Evacuation out of Thailand would be higher,” said Sasha Gainullin, the chief executive of Battleface, a travel insurance start-up that unbundles benefits. In the case of a Thailand trip, he advised taking medical coverage up to $100,000 for treatment locally and $500,000 for medical evacuation and repatriation.

Do I need insurance if I have bookings with flexible cancellation policies?

Probably not, if you have hotel reservations that allow free cancellation 24 to 48 hours in advance. The same with flights; if your flight is changeable and will provide a voucher or refund in case of cancellation, you’re covered.

I have rented a house with restrictive cancellation penalties. Can I insure against those?

Yes. Vacation home rentals from Airbnb and the like can be treated just like other accommodations that do not offer refunds. In this case, you would want to get a policy in the amount you would forfeit if you had to cancel for a covered reason like illness. Again, fear of travel is not a covered reason; for that, you would need C.F.A.R.

Elaine Glusac is the Frugal Traveler columnist. Follow her on Instagram: @eglusac.

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Florida’s most romantic getaways for couples, from the Gulf Coast to the KeysUSA TODAY https://findertravel.net/floridas-most-romantic-getaways-for-couples-from-the-gulf-coast-to-the-keysusa-today/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=floridas-most-romantic-getaways-for-couples-from-the-gulf-coast-to-the-keysusa-today Tue, 14 Dec 2021 13:49:37 +0000 https://findertravel.net/floridas-most-romantic-getaways-for-couples-from-the-gulf-coast-to-the-keysusa-today/-en CLOSE Cooped-up tourists eager for a taste of Florida’s sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and warmer climates are visiting the Sunshine State in droves, topping pre-pandemic levels in recent months. (Nov. 29) AP Domestic The Sunshine State is more than just its theme parks, water parks and breezy beach towns. And while there are plenty […]

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Cooped-up tourists eager for a taste of Florida’s sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and warmer climates are visiting the Sunshine State in droves, topping pre-pandemic levels in recent months. (Nov. 29)

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The Sunshine State is more than just its theme parks, water parks and breezy beach towns. And while there are plenty of unique things to do with kids in Florida, there are just as many places to visit when you need an adults-only escape. Whether you want to relax, recharge, or reconnect, some hotels are just better than others for romantic getaways in Florida.

When you need a little together time, you want to head somewhere with a romantic vibe. In Florida, that means endless sunsets, powder-soft sand and plenty of spa time for both of you. Here are the top vacation spots for couples in the Sunshine State.

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1. Casa Monica Resort and Spa – St. Augustine

With a design inspired by Moorish and Spanish Baroque architecture, Casa Monica Resort and Spa is a well-known fixture in St. Augustine’s historic district. Dating to 1888, the eye-catching structure features an impressive, castle-like exterior lined with decorative balconies. Inside, ornate touches abound, from fountains and frescos to sparkling chandeliers and colorful mosaics.

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Casa Monica Resort & Spa sits in the heart of St. Augustine’s historic center. (Photo: Susan B. Barnes)

You’ll receive champagne at check-in and can spend your together time relaxing at a poolside cabana, enjoying a luxurious spa treatment, or admiring the hotel’s art collection. The city of St. Augustine awaits right outside. Book a carriage ride for a just-the-two-of-you tour of the historic district.

2. The Gasparilla Inn and Club – Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island

Couples have been coming to the The Gasparilla Inn and Club for romantic getaways since 1913. (Photo: Gasparilla Inn)

Spend a weekend in “Old Florida” style at the Gasparilla Inn and Club, where guests have been checking in for romantic Florida getaways since 1913. Accommodations at this elegant escape on Florida’s Gulf Coast include guest rooms with vintage flair in the historic main inn (where the dining room still requires jackets for men at dinner during winter high season) and more spacious options like the inn’s cottages and newer, larger houses that offer modern functionality with retro charm.

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Enjoy a round at the waterfront 18-hole golf course, get some sun at the Beach Club, or visit the on-site spa offering a couples package and other treatments. The inn is located in the of-another-time village of Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island, where golf carts are the preferred mode of transportation and boutiques carry everything from fishing gear to Lilly Pulitzer dresses.

3. Little Palm Island Resort and Spa – Florida Keys

Little Palm Island Resort and Spa bills itself as America’s only private island resort. (Photo: Little Palm Island Resort and Spa)

Romantic getaways in Florida don’t get any more luxe than a splurge at Little Palm Island Resort and Spa, considered America’s only private island resort. You’ll arrive at this adults-only escape in the Florida Keys by boat or seaplane and immediately begin unplugging and unwinding. Thatched-roof bungalows offer ocean views and West Indies style, with no phones or TVs to distract you from the peaceful setting.

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Take your stay to the next level with one of the resort’s romantic turndown options with rose petals, candles and champagne to help set the scene. You can spend your days poolside, on the white sand beach or exploring the waters surrounding the resort by paddleboard or kayak.

4. Fontainebleau Miami Beach – Miami

Miami’s Fontainebleau hotel is a midcentury modern landmark. (Photo: Fontainebleau)

A midcentury modern landmark designed by Morris Lapidus, Fontainebleau Miami Beach first opened in 1954 and has been attracting movers and shakers ever since (Elvis Presley, Lucille Ball and Judy Garland among them). It underwent a major renovation in the early 2000s, but Lapidus’s curving facade and famous “Stairway to Nowhere” in the lobby are still there, better than ever.

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The fashionable 22-acre oceanfront property includes a central pool area where you can reserve a private cabana or daybed, a slew of restaurant and nightlife options on-site, a luxurious spa that offers a private oceanfront spa suite for treatments for two and a marina where you can book a private yacht charter to get out on the local waters.

5. The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort and Golf Club – St. Petersburg

The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort is a prime spot from which to explore St. Petersburg. (Photo: The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club)

Putting you right in the middle of the action in downtown St. Pete, the pink-hued Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort and Golf Club first opened on New Year’s Eve in 1925 and underwent renovations in the 1990s and 2000s to bring the hotel into the modern era. But plenty of historic charm remains from its original Mediterranean Revival design, like the lovingly restored glazed tile floors, pecky cypress beams and frescos adorning various areas of the hotel.

Guests today can grab a drink at the Lobby Bar and indulge in some people-watching, enjoy a seafood dinner at Paul’s Landing overlooking the marina, or lounge beside the outdoor pool. Head out from the hotel on foot to take in St. Pete’s lively arts, dining and craft beer scenes.

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6. The Breakers – Palm Beach

The Breakers, a legendary resort in Palm Beach on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. (Photo: The Breakers Palm Beach)

Founded in 1896, The Breakers Palm Beach has been a popular spot for romantic getaways in Florida for more than a hundred years, attracting names like Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Astor and Carnegie to its Atlantic Coast location over the years. Situated on 140 oceanfront acres, the extravagant Italian Renaissance-style hotel offers refined guest rooms and suites featuring high-end linens and fluffy bathrobes and slippers.

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Here you’ll have access to amenities that include an indoor-outdoor spa with a tranquil private courtyard space and the Beach Club featuring a private oceanfront stretch, four pools and 25 daytime bungalows. When you want to explore the rest of Palm Beach, take advantage of the complimentary chauffeured house car service.

7. The Pearl Hotel – Rosemary Beach

The Pearl is a luxury boutique hotel just steps from one of the sunshine state’s “hidden gem” beaches. (Photo: Stacie Standifer)

Located in Rosemary Beach, The Pearl Hotel offers an ideal location for a romantic escape in the Florida Panhandle. The 55-room boutique hotel exudes Old World European style and many rooms feature private balconies, with some overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. A room refresh is currently underway, including new flooring, window treatments and other updates to make rooms even more comfortable and reflective of their coastal setting.

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Guests receive complimentary sparkling wine at check-in and have access to a private stretch of beach with complimentary beach chairs and black-and-white-striped umbrellas that match the hotel’s awnings. Spa Pearl provides a range of treatments in four private poolside treatment rooms, while the hotel’s Havana Beach Rooftop restaurant and bar offers light bites, fire pits and views of the Gulf.

8. Mandarin Oriental – Miami

Miami’s Mandarin Oriental sits along Biscayne Bay on the southern tip of Brickell Key, a man-made island. (Photo: Mandarin Oriental Hotel)

Book a stay at Mandarin Oriental, Miami for a luxe couples getaway on Miami’s Brickell Key. Understated but elegant nods to the hotel company’s Asian heritage can be found throughout the property and amenities include a private infinity-edge pool and dining options with waterfront views.

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Guestrooms and suites feature blackout curtains, baths with a soaking tub and separate glass walk-in shower and private balconies with views of the city skyline or Biscayne Bay. For a special treat, arrange for a massage at the hotel’s spa in one of the suites with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Biscayne Bay.

9. The Ritz-Carlton – Amelia Island

Head to the hotel’s Salt restaurant for a dining experience that’s rated AAA Five-Diamond. (Photo: Courtesy of Salt)

Get back to nature (but in a totally upscale way) at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Situated on a North Florida barrier island, this romantic Florida hotel sits along more than a mile of dune-lined Atlantic Ocean beachfront ideal for strolling, paddleboarding and even horseback riding. If you’d rather spend a day by the pool, reserve a cabana complete with an outdoor TV and butler service.

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All 446 guestrooms and suites were recently redone in luxe coastal style and feature newly designed baths with dual vanities and enlarged showers. Head to the hotel’s Salt restaurant for a dining experience that’s rated AAA Five-Diamond, or book the on-site spa‘s signature Heaven in a Hammock treatment that combines a massage with the gentle rocking motion of relaxing in a hammock.

10. The Alfond Inn – Winter Park

Owned by Rollins College, the Alfond Inn is a boutique hotel in Winter Park, an Orlando-area city that offers a totally different vibe from all the nearby theme parks. (Photo: Alfond Inn)

Enjoy a sophisticated and romantic Florida getaway at this little gem of a boutique hotel in Winter Park, an Orlando-area city that offers a totally different vibe from all the nearby theme parks. Owned by Rollins College, the 112-room Alfond Inn showcases pieces from the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins College throughout the property.

Guests can take a virtual happy hour tour of the art collection or just discover it on their own throughout their stay. Take a dip in the heated pool or venture out the hotel’s front doors on foot to explore the shops, museums, galleries and restaurants that call Winter Park home.

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FamilyVacationist.com covers family vacation ideas; family travel destinations; all-inclusive resorts; and must-have travel accessories for families of all shapes, sizes and orientations. The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

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Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road will require reservations again next summerUSA TODAY https://findertravel.net/glacier-national-parks-going-to-the-sun-road-will-require-reservations-again-next-summerusa-today/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=glacier-national-parks-going-to-the-sun-road-will-require-reservations-again-next-summerusa-today Tue, 14 Dec 2021 13:49:11 +0000 https://findertravel.net/glacier-national-parks-going-to-the-sun-road-will-require-reservations-again-next-summerusa-today/-en CLOSE These are among America’s least visited national parks, excluding remote places like Alaska, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Dry Tortugas. USA TODAY HELENA, Mont. — Montana’s Glacier National Park will implement a timed ticketed entry system again next summer — from Memorial Day weekend through the weekend after Labor Day — to manage […]

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These are among America’s least visited national parks, excluding remote places like Alaska, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Dry Tortugas.

USA TODAY

HELENA, Mont. — Montana’s Glacier National Park will implement a timed ticketed entry system again next summer — from Memorial Day weekend through the weekend after Labor Day — to manage traffic on the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road, park officials said Monday.

The park first used a ticketed entry system this year to spread out traffic on the popular alpine highway as more than 3 million people visited. Going-to-the-Sun Road takes visitors over Logan Pass on the Continental Divide, at an elevation of 6,646 feet (2,026 meters).

One ticket per vehicle will be required to travel on Glacier’s Going-to-the-Sun Road from the West Entrance and the new Camas Entrance from May 27 through Sept. 11. Tickets won’t be required at the St. Mary Entrance on the east side of the park until the Sun Road is fully open, which is typically in late June.

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Emlon Stanton, a visitor service assistant at Montana’s Glacier National Park, directs traffic by the closed entrance to the full parking lot at Logan Pass, on July 27, 2018. (Photo: Kurt Wilson,The Missoulian via AP)

The 2022 entry tickets will be valid for three days rather than seven, as they were this summer, and may allow for more tickets to be sold, park spokesperson Gina Kerzman said Monday.

Park officials expect to have about 4,600 vehicles per day on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, spread out over the day. There will be hours outside peak operating times where entry tickets will not be required, but those times have not yet been set, Kerzman said.

In addition to the timed entry tickets, which can be reserved for $2 after setting up an account at Recreation.gov, visitors must have an entrance pass. Seven-day vehicle passes are $35. People can also enter with an annual park pass or an Interagency Annual or Lifetime pass.

The park anticipates a portion of the 2022 entry tickets will be available online in early March.

Tickets will also be required to enter the northwestern part of the park at Polebridge in 2022. The Polebridge Entrance was closed at some point every day this past summer due to a lack of parking at Bowman and Kintla lakes and a limit to the number of visitors allowed in the area, park officials said.

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The Polebridge Entrance leads to the rustic North Fork area of the park, where travel is on rough roads and there are no modern conveniences, including cellphone service. Four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicles and the ability to change a tire are recommended for North Fork visitors, the National Park Service said.

Tickets will not be required at other eastern entrances, including Two Medicine and Many Glacier, but entry will be restricted when those areas reach capacity, park officials said. People are encouraged to plan their visits outside of peak hours, which run between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Other national parks are working to manage increasing visitor numbers as well.

Arches National Park in Utah announced last week it is implementing a timed entry system next year while Zion National Park is holding a lottery for reservations to hike a popular trail.

Visitors stand outside Polebridge Mercantile outside Glacier National Park on July 5, 2020. (Photo: Ben Allan Smith, AP)

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