Monday, December 12, 2011


Sights & Sites
Golden Gate Boat Trips – Harbour Road (Northumberland Coast AONB); 011-44-016-6572-1210; or

Farne Lighthouse – Inner Farne; 011-44-034-4800-1895 (National Trust);; built in 1811 per Daniel Alexander’s design; lighthouse keepers’ cottages to rear; lighthouse converted to solar powered operation in 1996; now maintained by Trinity House via their local lighthouse attendant, George Shiel, who also provides guided tours inside lighthouse.

Bars & Nightclubs
Ship & Crown – North Esplanade, Victoria Pier (St. Peter Port); 011-44-014-8172-1368;; seafront location.

Old Government House – St. Ann’s Place (St. Peter Port); 011-44-014-8172-4921;; luxurious rooms in town center.
Pandora Hotel – Hauteville (St. Peter Port); 011-44-014-8172-0971;; where Victor Hugo’s mistress, Juliette Drouet, lived while he was exiled here; shabby-ish.
St. Pierre Park Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort – Rohais (St. Peter Port); 011-44-014-8172-8282;

Côbo Tea Room – Le Couochant Du Soleil, Côbo Coast Road (Castel, on Côbo Bay); 011-44-014-8125-3366;; homemade produce, friendly service & homely atmosphere.
Crow’s Nest Brasserie – North Esplanade, Victoria Pier (St. Peter Port); 011-44-014-8172-8994;; stylish bar-bistro; seafront location.
Fermain Beach Café – Fermain Lane (Village du Putron); 011-44-014-8123-8636;; lovely Côbo Bay is where Ebenezer & Liza have picnics (per G. B. Edwards’ Book of Ebenezer Le Page).
Le Nautique – Quay Steps (St. Peter Port); 011-44-014-8172-1714;; also in St. Peter Port for fish & seafood.
Old Government House – St. Ann’s Place (St. Peter Port); 011-44-014-8172-4921;; for dinner either of 2 restaurants: formal Governor’s Restaurant or airy & light Brasserie with walled garden.
Pavilion – Rohais (St. Peter Port, at St. Pierre Park Hotel); 011-014-8126-4165;; modern brasserie.

Gill Girard – Le Tertre, Route du Tertre (Castel); 011-44-014-8125-2403 or 011-44-077-8110-4094 (mobile, urgent calls only);; guided tours & walks.
Guernsey Information Center – North Esplanade (St. Peter Port); 011-44-014-8172-3552;; island has 28-mile clifftop footpath network, maps for which available here.

Sights & Sites
Belle Grève Bay – on east coast (just north of St. Peter Port); large bay with lovely promenade along shore; park at La Salerie car park (south of bay) & walk north to next parish, St. Sampson, approximately 1.5 miles; love beach is La Petite Grève.
Candie Gardens – Candie Road (St. Peter Port); large Victor Hugo statue.
Chouet Peninsula – headland near Champ Rouget & Mont Cuet; where Ebenezer Le Page lived (per G. B. Edwards’ Book of Ebenezer Le Page).
Creux es Faies (Passage Grave) – Rue de Dehus (Vale, 4.5 kms north of St. Peter Port); neolithic passage grave; best is Le Déhus Dolmen, 4K-year-old passage grave; flick switch inside to illuminate capstone’s underside, which bears carved warrior figure, bearded, armed with arrows & bow.
Fort Doyle – La Route de la Lande (Vale); or; battery built on headland east of Fontenelle Bay in 1803 as part of extensive improvements to island’s defenses during war between England & revolutionary France; 3 18 pounder cannon placed at what was then known as “Doyle Battery” in honor of then Lieutenant Governor Sir John Doyle; fort remained important to island after construction of La Platte Fougère lighthouse in 1909; during WWII once again used for defense as German occupying forces, who called it Stutzpunkt Nebelhorn, heavily fortified area including 3 coastal defense guns, anti-aircraft guns & mortars (defensively strong position as overlooks possible landing places at eastern end of Fontenelle Bay & also narrow sea passage between coast Platte Fougère’s rocky reefs); distinctive rounded shape at northern end built to accommodate cannon on traversing platform, while other 2 faced east & west on rolling garrison carriages.
Fort Grey – Route de la Lague (Rocquaine, St. Peter Port); 011-44-014-8126-5036; or; standing on site of earlier Château de Rocquaine; completed in 1804 & named in honor of General Charles, Early Grey of Howick, K.B., who was Governor of Guernsey from 1797-1807; due to its shape, affectionately known as “Cup and Saucer.”
Fort Hommet – Hommet headland (Castel); or; in 1680 there was fortification with 1 gun on this site; by 1795, however, fort strengthened & additional gun positions constructed; in 1801 6 guns recorded on headland; Martello tower built in 1804; in 1856 barrack block constructed & this housed part of Regular Army garrison until WWI (later destroyed).
Fort Le Marchant – L’Ancresse Common (Vale, accessible via footpath from Le Catelain or L’Ancresse Bay public car parks); or; fort has stood on site since at least 1680; at 18th Century’s end, when French invasion fears prompting new fortifications all around Guernsey’s coast, original fortification, known as Fort L’Angle, expanded; work completed in 1805 & new fort named after then Lieutenant Bailiff Eleazar Le Marchant; in 1854 large barracks built on fort’s landward side, surrounded by defensive ditch (barracks since demolished & ditch filled).
Fort Pezeries – Pleinmont (Torteval, accessible via pedestrian road from Portelet Harbour or via cliff path from Pleinmont headland); or;; fort has stood here since at least 1680; during 18th Century gun platform extended & musket steps added; later magazine built & parapet strengthened; by 1842 fort had fallen into disrepair; now 3 18 pounder cannons guard Rocquaine Bay once again.
Star Fort (Fort Pembroke) – Pembroke headland (Vale);; built in 1811; star forts were by their nature temporary constructions & survival of intact & unmodified examples are rare.
German Military Underground Hospital – La Vassalerie (St. Peter Port); 011-44-014-8123-9100;; largest remaining structure from German Occupation; almost invisible from surface, tunnel complex covers 7K sq ms & hewn out of solid rock by slave workers; work started on this huge complex in 1944 when D-Day landings occurred & it looked likely that considerable German casualties might need to be cared for; hospital was never finished but forbidding atmosphere serves as reminder of grim conditions that slave workers lived in, many dying during its construction.
Hauteville House – 38 Hauteville (St. Peter Port); 011-44-014-8172-1911;; only home Victor ever owned, he lived here 15 years; spent years decorating house with found items from around island; worth seeing.
Lihou Island – where Ebenezer & his friend, Jim, are stranded (per G. B. Edwards’ Book of Ebenezer Le Page) all night when they miscalculate inrushing tide speed; at 33', Guernsey tidal range is among world’s biggest; visitors to nature reserve & ruined 12th Century priory on Lihou need to study tide times notice next to causeway so as not to suffer same fate as Ebenezer & Jim; also worth seeing is “Venus Pool,” large, deep, rock pool that can carefully clamber down to & take swim in if you’re brave enough.
Rocquaine Bay – St. Pierre du Bois Parish; shingle beach; also, where Liza Quéripel lived (per G. B. Edwards’ Book of Ebenezer Le Page).
Le Trépied Dolmen (Druid’s Altar) – St. Saviours (on Catioroc headland, near Clos Est Mougues & Roque Tourgis);; prehistoric passage grave built during Neolithic period (4000-2500 BCE); single chamber tomb with 3 capstones, 1 of which to original position in 1870s; excavations in 1840 discovered pottery & flint arrowheads dating to 1800 BCE; tomb repeatedly mentioned in 17th Century witch trials as witch meeting place & black sabbath venue (8 annual meetings to celebrate events like equinoces, etc., & attended by Devil).
Vale Castle – Castle Road (Vale);; original name “Le Chateau St Michel,” then became “Chateau de Val” or “Chateau de Valle”; over 1K years old; defends both St. Sampson’s harbor at eastern end of Braye du Valle, Guernsey & Bordeaux Harbour.

Archirondel Tower – northeast Jersey (close to St. Catherine’s woods); 011-44-015-3463-3304;; 1 of 24 Martello towers that dot Jersey coastline; built on rocky outcrop in St. Catherine’s Bay in 1792 and used as artillery soldier garrison; red and white tower now linked to shore by St. Catherine’s Breakwater’s abandoned southern arm; no running water or toilet facilities (beach café 100 yards away with 24-hour access to toilets and showers); guests must bring own sleeping bags; tower has electricity and lighting; only 7 day beds provided.
Fort Leicester – Bouley Bay; 011-44-015-3463-3304;; split across 3 levels; 2 large furnished bedrooms, living room, fully fitted kitchen, and bay views; large private garden and terrace; beach café and pub nearby.
Radio Tower – close to Corbiere; 011-44-015-3463-3304;; former occupying Nazi forces watchtower; top flower has 360° views; overlooks lighthouse.
Seymour Tower – Grouville; 011-44-015-3463-3304;; have to follow guide along mile and half trek at low tide to this 223 year-old structure; completely surrounded by water when tide comes in.
La Tour Carree – St. Ouen’s Bay; 011-44-015-3463-3304;

Company Shed – 129 Coast Road; 011-44-012-0638-2700;; need to bring your own bread, mayonaise, and wine; unprepossessing establishment, best visited in good weather; excellent seafood.

SARK – 1st island ever designated Dark Sky Space because of extraordinary starwatching conditions.
Stocks Hotel – Stocks Lane; 011-44-014-8183-2001;

Sights & Sites
Le Moulin – highest point on Sark & highest point of Bailiwick of Guernsey, with 114 meter altitude.
Pilcher Monument – above Havre Gosselin on west coast;; on evening in October 1868 Agnew Giffard, engineer-in-charge of new breakwater at Creux harbour, set off back to Guernsey in 18' gig; left Havre Gosselin with his brother Walter, Russell Renouf (breakwater lighthouse keeper), Dr. Gatehouse (medical officer, about to take up practise in Alderney) & J.G. Pilcher, London oil merchant; per Rev. Cachemaille, they were told it was dangerous to go & would soon be dark; tide carried them long way south, then wind blowing from north freshened into tempest; night fell & suddenly became intensely dark; wreck found 7 miles from Dielette (Normandy coast); Agnew Giffard’s body came ashore in Havre Gosselin; Walter Giffard’s body found in small cave at Pointe du Nez, Eperquerie; Russell Renouf’s body found in Gouliot caves; w months later Pilcher’s body came ashore at Niton (Isle of Wight); doctor’s body never found; granite monument erected by Pilcher’s widow; made from Guernsey granite by Henrys Monumental Masons, Bordage, Guernsey, with leaded letters.

Scillonian III – Penzance to Scilly; 011-44-084-5710-5555;
Isles of Scilly Skybus – Newquay Cornwall Airport to St. Mary’s Airport; 011-44-084-5710-5555;

Flying Boat Cottages – Old Grimsby (Tresco); 011-44-017-2042-2849;; stylish beach-houses with indoor pool, spa, bar, and restaurant.
Hell Bay Hotel – Bryher Island; 011-44-017-2042-2947;; 25 suites, some with private balconies and patios, decorated in warm colors; world’s edge setting.
Island Hotel – Tresco Island; 011-44-017-2042-2993;; 48 room lodge; Isles of Scilly; more like Caribbean than England.
New Inn – Tresco Island; 011-44-017-2042-2844;; Michelin-listed gastropub with airy rooms and great views.
St. Martin’s on Isle – St. Martin’s Island; 011-44-017-2042-2092;; little dingy inside (renovated 20 years ago) but smart outside with great restaurant.
Sea Garden Cottages – Old Grimsby (Tresco); 011-44-017-2042-2849;; 25 self-catering cottages; sea-facing.
Star Castle Hotel – St. Mary’s Island; 011-44-017-2042-2317;; once Elizabethan castle built in 1593; converted to hotel in 1933; wonderful views; rooms have antiques and rich fabrics.
Tresco Holidays Cottages – Old Grimsby (Tresco); 011-44-017-2042-2849;

Ales of Scilly – St. Mary’s Island; 011-44-017-2042-2419; microbrewery.
Ruin Beach Cafe – Old Grimsby (Tresco); 011-44-017-2042-2849;; charming place that serves great coffee, pizzas, and homemade granola; wholesome eco vibe; very laid-back and relaxed, barefoot but civilized, with lots of driftwood and stone; can watch beach from terrace.
St. Martin’s Bakery – St. Martin’s Island; 011-44-017-2042-3444;; sourdough and Lawrence Loaf are specialties; also, Cornish pasty using Tresco beef.
St. Martin’s Vineyard – St. Martin’s Island; 011-44-017-2042-3418;
Troytown Farm – St. Agnes Island; 011-44-017-2042-2360;; 14-acre property.

Bird-Watching – William Wagstaff; consult naturalists’ notice board on St. Mary’s Quay.
Island Sea Safaris – 011-44-017-2042-2732;; boat around isles.
Walks – contact Katharine Sawyer;; guided tours.

Hillside Farm – Bryher Island; 011-44-017-2042-3156;; roadside stall for produce.
Tresco Stores – Tresco Island; 011-44-017-2042-2806; impressive goody range; specially cheeses.

Sights & Sites
Abbey Garden – Tresco Island; 011-44-017-2042-4105; staggering array of botanicals.
Isles of Scilly Museum – St. Mary’s Island; 011-44-017-2042-2337;; artifacts from shipwrecks, wildflowers.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


(includes Aledo, Roanoake, Watauga & Weatherford)

Blue Bonnet Bakery – 4705 Camp Bowie Boulevard; 817-731-4233;; open since 1934; great sandwiches.
Brewed – 801 West Magnolia Avenue; 817-945-1545;; combo coffeehouse & gastropub with lively patio; worth special trip.

Brewed – 801 West Magnolia Avenue; 817-945-1545;; combo coffeehouse & gastropub with lively patio; worth special trip.
Grace Fort Worth – 777 Main Street; 817-877-3388;; ultra-modern; hopping terrace, weather permitting; housemade cocktails.
TP Tavern – 221 West Lancaster Avenue; 817-885-8878;; in old Texas & Pacific railroad station; bar with modest selection sandwiches, sliders, salads and tacos; also cheese board; beer, martinis, and wine.

Ashton Hotel – 610 Main Street; 817-332-0100 or 866-327-4866;; renovated from 2 buildings on National Register of Historic Places.

Angelo’s Bar-B-Que – 2533 White Settlement Road; 817-332-0357; barn-like barbecue joint.
Aventino’s – 3206 Winthrop Avenue; 817-731-0711;; classic and modern Italian; operated for 26 years.
Bonnell’s – 4259 Bryant Irvin Road; 817-738-5489;; modern Texas food; closed Sundays & Mondays.
Brownstone – 840 Currie Street; 817-332-1555;; soulful, Southern-inspired cuisine.
Café Modern – 3200 Darnell Street (at Museum of Modern Art); 817-840-2157;; named 1 of America’s best restaurants by Gourmet.
Carshon’s – 3133 Cleburne Road; 817-923-1907;; deli since 1928; great chocolate meringue pie.
Cattlemen’s Steakhouse – 2458 North Main Street; 817-624-3945;; Jesse E. Roach opened on whim in 1947; internationally renowned for aged beef & massive steaks.
Chef Point Café – 5901 Watauga Road (Watuaga); 817-656-0080;; in gas station convenience store; serves escargot and rack of lamb; gourmet food in strange setting; make sure to try bread pudding.
Cousin’s Bar-B-Q – 6262 McCart Avenue; 817-346-2511;; several different locations - including 2 at DFW Airport - but original, unprepossessing, locale is best.
Dutch’s – 3009 South University Drive; 817-927-5522;; hamburgers.
Ellerbe Fine Foods – 1501 West Magnolia Avenue; 817-926-3663;; in former gas station; charming, southern-style, home-cooking; very good with well-sourced ingredients.
Esperanza’s Mexican Bakery & Café – 2122 North Main Street; 817-626-5770;; simple but good Mexican food.
Esperanza’s Mexican Bakery & Café – 1601 Park Place Avenue; 817-332-3848;; simple but good Mexican food.
Fire Oak Grill – 114 Austin Avenue (Weatherford); 817-598-0400;; rustic Texas cuisine.
Fred’s Texas Café – 915 Currie Street; 817-332-0083;; burgers.
Joe T. Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant – 2201 North Commerce; 817-626-4356;; Tex-Mex food; ask for menu if they don’t bring out; enormous gardens and grounds; open since 1935; doesn’t accept credit cards.
Grace Fort Worth – 777 Main Street; 817-877-3388;; ultra-modern; seasonal fare.
Hedary’s Mediterranean Restaurant – 6323 Camp Bowie Boulevard; 817-731-6961;; middle-eastern food.
Inzo Italian Kitchen – 2747 Hulen Street; 817-924-2749;; excellent pizza; reliable Italian standards; popular neighborhood watering hole.
Inzo Italian Kitchen – 101 South Oak Street; 817-890-4280;; excellent pizza; reliable Italian standards.
Kincaid’s Hamburgers – 4901 Camp Bowie Boulevard; 817-732-2881;
Kincaid’s Hamburgers – 4825 Overton Ridge Boulevard; 817-370-6400;
Kincaid’s Hamburgers – 3124 Texas Sage Trail; 817-750-3200;
Lanny’s Alta Cocina Mexicana – 3405 West 7th Street; 817-850-9996;; high-end European-Mexican food in elegant, modern Latin setting; perfect atmosphere encompasses Fort Worth’s best restaurant; worth special trip.
Lonesome Dove Western Bistro – 2406 North Main Street; 817-740-8810;; rattlesnake nachos; wild boar ribs.
Longoria’s BBQ – 100 Christopher Drive; 817-568-9494;; massive pork ribs; sausage is 100% ground brisket; also, house made chorizo.
Love Shack – 110 East Exchange Avenue; 817-740-8812;; hamburgers.
Magnolia Cheese Co. – 1251 West Magnolia Avenue; 817-945-2221;; antique chairs, dishes, and tables; cheese and cured-meat planks; salads, sandwiches & soups.
Mexican Inn – 6709 Lake Worth Boulevard; 817-237-7691;; open since 1936 and has several locations; Tex-Mex standby.
Nonna Tata – 1400 West Magnolia Avenue; 817-332-0250;; excellent Italian.
Our Place Restaurant – 7420 North Beach Street; 817-514-0033;; breakfasts are worth special trip.
Our Place Restuarant – 7630 Northeast Loop 820 (North Richland Hills); 817-485-5454;; breakfasts are worth special trip.
Paris Coffee Shop – 704 West Magnolia Avenue; 817-335-2041;; open from 6:30 to 2:30, Monday-Saturday.
Pegaso Mexican Diner – 3516 Blue Bonnet Circle; 682-708-3127;
Piattello Italian – 5924 Convair Dr. #412, Fort Worth; 817-349-0484;; bright, cheery spot for seasonal, housemade pastas & pizzas, plus espresso drinks & cocktails.
Ryan’s Fine Grocer – 815 West Magnolia Avenue; 817-945-2770;; specialty grocer with delectable artisan sandwich menu; salads; good Saturday people-watching.
Spiral Diner – 1314 West Magnolia Avenue; 817-332-8834;; vegan.
St. Emilion – 3617 West 7th Street; 817-737-2781;; brick-walled, country French.
Szechuan Chinese Restaurant – 5712 Locke Avenue; 817-738-7300;; Asian eatery with cult following; try lemon chicken and/or River Shaing pork.
Tillman’s Roadhouse – 2933 Crockett Street; 817-850-9255;; avant garde Texas food; make sure to have s’mores for dessert.
Waters Bonnell’s Coastal Cuisine – 2901 Crockett Street; 817-984-1110;; fine seafood in West 7th District.
Woodshed Smokehouse – 3201 Riverfront Drive; 817-877-4545;; wildly popular; on Trinity River’s banks; good Sunday morning experience (live music).

Brumbaugh Fine Home Furnishings – 11651 Camp Bowie West Boulevard (Aledo); 817-244-9377;; Western furniture.
Magnolia Cheese Co. – 1251 West Magnolia Avenue; 817-945-2221;; artisanal cheeses.
Ryan’s Fine Grocer – 815 West Magnolia Avenue; 817-945-2770;; specialty grocer with delectable artisan sandwich menu; salads; good Saturday people-watching.

Amon Carter Museum – 3501 Camp Bowie Boulevard; 817-738-1933;; American art museum, with some focus on Western art.
Beer Can House – 2901 Whitmore Street (Arlington Heights);
Burger’s Lake – 1200 Meandering Road; 817-737-3414;; 30-acre park with 1-acre, spring-fed swimming pool; sandy beach; popular hangout for Fort Worth residents; fountains, diving boards, water slides, sandy beaches & plenty of shade.
Chandor Gardens – 711 West Lee Street (Weatherford); 817-613-1700;; small, beautiful and quirky.
Coyote Drive-In – 223 Northeast 4th Street; 817-717-7767;
Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art – 3200 Darnell Street; 817-738-9215;; tremendous architecture, very good standing collection, including 2 Anselm Kiefers worth special visit; good cafe.
Kimbell Art Museum – 3333 Camp Bowie Boulevard; 817-332-8451;; note, see Caravaggio’s Cardsharps (1594).
Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park – 7301 East Lancaster; 817-451-3333; where Lee Harvey Oswald buried.


(includes Rawai)

White Box Restaurant – 245/7 Prabaramee Road; 011-66-76-346-271;; trendy upstairs bar with sweeping ocean views through floor-to-ceiling windows; try spicy Tom Yum martini (chili, galangal, kaffir lime, lemon grass, and vodka).

Bang Tao
Kamala – Kamala Beach Road; hit hard by Tsunami but recovered substantially.
Mai Khao – part of Sirinat National Park, along Phuket’s northwestern shore; undisturbed.
Nai Harn – has Thai temple sitting directly behind it; fairly undeveloped.

Boonsung – up coast by short drive.
King Cruiser – car ferry sunk in 1997; now flourishing artificial reef.
Koh Bida Islands – couple hours cruise away; trip there will take you by Koh Phi Phi limestone karsts immortalized in Beach.
Siam Bay Underwater Statues – off southern coast; giant, coral-encrusted elephant & yak statues; placed after 2004 tsunami.
Similan Islands – best reached by live-aboard; huge, horseshoe-shaped rock that forms natural shelter for fish, seahorses & harlequin shrimp.
Richelieu Rock – uninhabited islands surrounded by calm, pristine waters; manta rays off Koh Bon, just north of islands.

Aleenta Resort & Spa – 3 Lardprao Soi 95 (Phangnga); 011-66-76-580-333;; 30-villa resort in Phang Nga where nearly deserted Natai Beach is central focus; some suites right on beach and come with tropical gardens, outdoor showers, and floor-to-ceiling retractable windows that open onto private infinity pools; 8 duplex suites have double-height ceilings while 2 villas are outfitted as spa residences for hotel guests; excellent food; January-February best months; ask for any of 4 pool suites that face Andaman Sea.
Amanpuri – 118/1 Moo. 3 Srisoonthorn Road (Chengthalay, Pansea Beach); 011-66-76-324-333 or 800-477-9180;‎; ocean views; beautiful beach; former coconut plantation.
Anantara Phuket Layan Resort & Spa – Phuket Layan; 011-66-76-317-200;; tropical sanctuary in tranquil bay setting on Phuket’s western coast; opens onto private stretch of Layan Beach, soft white sands lapped by Andaman Sea; 30 rooms & suites, as well as 47 pool villas in 7 styles.
Andara – 15 Moo 6 (Kamala Beach); 011-66-76-338-777;; massive 3-6 bedroom private villas; although great hillside views, bit of hike to beach.
Banyan Tree – 33, 33/27 Moo 4, Srisoonthorn Road (Amphur Talang, Cherngtalay); 011-66-76-324-374;; surrounded by gardens and water courts; on Bang Tao Bay; Thai village architecture.
Indigo Pearl – Nai Yang Beach; 011-66-76-327-006;; modern and unexpectedly funky; lush landscaping with encircling lagoons creates sense of exclusivity; have to cross street to get to public beach; January-February is best time to go; 2-story Bensley Suite has private pool and sauna.
Mom Tri’s Villa Royale Phuket – 12 Kata Noi Road, Kata Noi Beach; 011-66-76-333-568;; boutique resort with 35 sumptuous, Thai-style suites.
Paresa Resort – 49 Moo 6, Layi-Nakalay Road (Kamala); 011-66-76-302-000;; lovely.
Phuket Pavilions – 31/1 Moo 6 (Cherngtalay); 011-66-76-317-600;; hushed resort overlooking Bang Tao and Layan beaches; 21 spacious, hillside, 1-bedroom villas with kitchens; big infinity pool; secluded; driest months are January-February; Villas 15-20 have best sea views.
Phulay Bay (Krabi) – 111 Mood 3 (Nongthalay); 011-66-75-628-111;; huge villas with huge beds; note that beach at low tide looks muddy; stunning rock formation views.
Regent Phuket – 101 Cherng Talay Road (Cherng Talay, Talang); 011-66-76-304-539;
Regent Phuket Cape Panwa – 84 Moo 8, Sakdidej Road (T. Vichit, Muang); 011-66-2-653-0555;
SALA Phuket Resort & Spa – 333 Moo 3, Mai Khao; 011-66-76-338-888;‎; serene hideaway, to north; 79 rooms and villas, most with private pools.
Six Senses Yao Noi – 56 Moo 5 (Tambol Koh Yao Noi); 011-66-76-418-500;; secluded on island; quite rustic; great restaurant.
Trisara – 60/1 Moo 6, Srisoonthorn Road (Cherngtalay); 011-66-76-310-100;; quiet on gorgeous, semi-private beach; note that entry-level rooms are tiny; all rooms with private pool and ocean view.

Mom Tri’s Boathouse Regatta – 63/302 Moo 2, Thepkasattri Road; 011-66-76-360-855;; breezy boardwalk spot on Royal Phuket Marina; try lobster ravioli with morel mushroom veloute or curried fried rice with seafood, pineapple, and cashews.
Reserve – 56 Moo 5 (Tambol Koh Yao Noi, at Six Senses Yao Noi); 011-66-76-418-500;; great restaurant on hilltop with lovely views.
White Box Restaurant – 245/7 Prabaramee Road; 011-66-76-346-271;; ocean views through floor-to-ceiling windows and on elegant terrace; foodie favorite.

Elephant Rides – Bang Pae Safari, 12/3 Moo 5, T. Srisoonthorn Road; 011-66-76-311-163;
Thailand Aggressor – 209 Hudson Trace (Augusta, Georgia); 706-993-2531 or 800-348-2628;; live-aboard dive accommodations that are luxurious and perfect for dive vacations.

Love Art Studio – Art Village, 88 Moo 1, Viset Road (Rawai); 011-66-8-9471-5653;; art.
Red Gallery – Art Village, 88 Moo 1, Viset Road (Rawai); 011-66-8-7890-3722;; artist Somrak Maneemai's paintings.
Tawan Ook Art Gallery – Art Village, 88 Moo 1, Viset Road (Rawai); 011-66-8-1956-5872; art.

Bang Pae Waterfall – at Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Sanctuary; open for swimming.
Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Sanctuary – Amphoe Thalang; 011-66-76-30-4100;; only remaining virgin rainforest on island; visit Gibbon Rehabilitation Project (
Mount Nagakerd – Karon sub-district, Muang District (follow red-and-white signs from Chalong);; see Phraphutthamingmongkhol-akenagakhiri Buddha, enormous (147' high), white jade marble-covered statue; magnificent Andaman Sea views.
Ong Sim Phai Road – night food market.


Daniel Briand Patissier & Chocolatier – SCLN 104, Bloco A, Loja 26; 011-55-61-3326-1135;; breakfast and brunch lovers’ dream; great pastries, pates, and quiches.

Beirute – CLS 109, Bloco A; 011-55-61-3244-1717; 55 years-old; traditional watering hole; massive outdoor patio packed with edgier crowd than most (called “LS point,” Brazilian acronym for gays, lesbians and sympathetics); for beer.
Boteco – CLS 406, Bloco D, Loja 35; 011-55-61-3443-4344; Rio de Janeiro-style bar; great shrimp croquettes (coxinha de camarao).
Cade Tereza – CLS 201, Bloco B, Loja 1; 011-55-61-3225-0555;; named after Jorge Ben Jor song whose title means “Where’s Tereza?”; less-than-impressive ambience offset by cold beer, lively crowd, and active late-afternoon sambas on Saturday afternoons.
Calaf – SBS, Quadra 2, Bloco S; 011-55-61-3325-7408;; longtime classic, Samba bar; brings unexpected life to otherwise abandoned Southern Banking Sector.
Libanus – CLS 206, Bloco C, Loja 36; 011-55-61-3244-9795; for beer.

Brasilia Palace – SHTN, Trecho 1, Conjunto 1; 011-55-61-3306-9100;; not as comfortable as other hotels but has history and style; very 1960s.
Royal Tulip Brasilia Alvorada – SHTN, Trecho 1, Conjunto 1B, Bloco C; 011-55-61-3424-7000;; functional.
Tryp Brasil 21 – SHS, Quadra 6, Conjunto A, Bloco F; 011-55-61-3218-4700;; business-style, comfortable; steeply discounted on weekends.

Alice Brasserie – SHIS, Quadra 1, Comercio Local 17, Loja 201-204 (Lago Sul, at Ed Fashion Park); 011-55-61-3248-7743;; conservative, French home-cooking.
Aquavit – SMLN, Trecho 12, Conjunto 1, Casa 5; 011-55-61-9167-0037 or 011-55-61-3369-2301;; glass-walled dining room in Chef’s home; in tropical garden; Brazilian-French-Scandinavian fusion; try grilled foie gras with caramelized pineapple and corn brioche.
Beirute – CLS 109, Bloco A; 011-55-61-3244-1717; 55 years-old; Middle Eastern food.
Mangai – SCE Sul, Trecho 2, Conjunto 41 (near Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge); 011-55-61-3224-3079;; north-east cuisine; chain branch; 80 dish and 40 dessert buffet; pay by weight; also included are juice and hammock on porch overlooking Lake Paranoa.
Patu Anu – SMLN, Trecho 12, Conjunto 1, Casa 7; 011-55-61-3369-2788;; among city’s finest; 30-seat “aerie” decorated with riotous tropicalia; hidden in forest on city’s eastern edge; glass-sided dining room looks out over distant city, whose reflection twinkles in Lake Paranoa.
Zuu a.Z. d.Z. – SCLS, Quadra 210, Bloco A, Loja 38; 011-55-61-3244-1039;; slow food; high society.

Clube de Vento – SCES, Trecho 2, Conjunto 13 (at Clube Naval); 011-55-61-8124-8596;; rent SUP (pronounced “Soupie”), Stand-Up Paddleboard; paddle over Lake Paranoa towards Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge.

Confraria – SHIS, Quadra I 9, Bloco A, Loja 6 (Lago Sul); 011-55-61-3386-0882;; wicker, leather, and cowhide bags.
Magrella – SHIS, Comercio Local 3, Bloco F (Lago Sul); 011-55-61-3364-4977;; fashion emporium, dominated by Brazilian women’s labels, like Adriana Degreas, Raia de Goeye, and Gloria Coelho.

Biblioteca Nacional de Brasilia – SCS, Lote 2 (Esplanada dos Ministerios), Complexo Cultural da República João Herculino); 011-55-61-3325-6257;; 390-foot-long wedge faced with intricate, concrete screening, again in gleaming white; watches over inky pool series; also known as National Library Leonel de Moura Brizola; next to Monumental Axis and part of Republic’s Cultural Complex; for some time known as “library without books” because remained for some time without collection and closed to visitors; along with National Library, forms Herculino Cultural Complex.
Ermida Dom Bosco – Quadra I 29 (Lago Sul); Oscar Niemeyer-designed shrine across Lake Paranoa from Pilot Plan; best place to watch sunset; daily crowd appears.
Espaco Cultural Contemporaneo – SCN, Quadra 3, Bloco C, Loja 5; 011-55-61-3327-2027;; tucked away close to hotel zone, just north of Eixo Monumental; among country’s main photography venues.
Honestino Guimaraes Museu Nacional – SCS, Lote 2 (Esplanada dos Ministerios, Complexo Cultural da Republica Joao Herculino); 011-55-61-3325-5220;; brilliant, white 150-foot-high hemisphere with curving, cantilevered balcony partially encircling it, with long grand ramp leading to its gaping entrance; visual arts museum; along with National Library, forms Herculino Cultural Complex.
Igrejinha de Fatima – Entrequadras 307/308, Asa Sul; 011-55-61-3242-0149;; city’s 1st church, also by Oscar Niemeyer; very modest in dimension and execution.
Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady Aparecida (Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida) – SCS, Lote 2 (Esplanada dos Ministerios); 011-55-61-3224-4073;; crown-shaped structure that represents 2 hands reaching up to heaven, fingers splayed, lined with stained glass.
“Pilot Plan” – original, planned city by Oscar Niemeyer; for walking tour, start at Praca dos Tres Poderes (“3 Powers Square”), which has 3 Niemeyer-designed, government buildings, including Planalto Palace (where President works), Federal Supreme Court, and (towering over both) 2-domed and 2-towered National Congress.
Palacio do Planalto – Praca dos Tres Poderes (Esplanada dos Ministerios, Eixo Monumental); 011-55-61-3411-2317;; Presidential workspace; public areas filled with Brazilian art and modernist furniture by Sergio Rodrigues.
Santuario Dom Bosco – SEPS, Quadra 702; 011-55-61-3223-6542;; 50' high Gothic arches filled with 12 tones blue and purple stained glass.

Friday, December 2, 2011


(does not include Angra Dos Reis & Paraty, Bahia, Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro (city itself), & Sao Paulo)

Brazilian Beach House Company – 98 Rua Visconde de Pirajá (Rio de Janeiro, Ipanema); 011-55-21-2225-9476;; run by Steven Chew; excellent villas for rent in beach areas & some hotel recommendations.

Belo Horizonte
Mercure Belo Horizonte Lourdes – 7315 Avenida do Contorno; 011-55-31-3298-4100;; not luxurious but comfortable rooms; English-speaking staff.
Restaurante Xapuri – 260 Rua Mandacaru; 011-55-31-3496-6198;; rustic, mineiro dishes.
Sights & Sites
Igreja Sao Francisco de Assis – 3000 Avenida Otacílio Negrão de Lima; 011-55-31-3427-1644‎;; Oscar Niemeyer-designed church, open to public.
Ouro Preto –; UNESCO World Heritage site; 2 hours south of Belo Horizonte.

Nhô Hotel – 20 Rua B (at Centro de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim); 011-54-5531-3571-9700;; onsite hotel.
Sights & Sites
Centro de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim – 20 Rua B; 011-54-5531-3571-9700;; cutting-edge contemporary art & beautiful landscaped park.
Instituto Cultural Inhotim – Rua B 20; 011-55-31-3227-0001;; hire guide through institute; pavilions by Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney, and Chris Burden’s “Beam Drop”; good café on-site.

Reserva do Ibitipoca – Fazenda do Engenho (entrada Lima Duarte III); ;; brick, mortar & spectacular location; some think best hotel in Brazil.

Solar da Ponte – Praca das Merces; 011-55-32-3355-1255;; 18 elegant apartments.
Tragaluz – 52 Rua Direita; 011-55-32-3355-1424; mineiro modern food.

Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
Sorverteria Cairu – 1570 Travessa 14 de Marco; 011-54-5591-3242-2749; ice creams and popsicles; other locations.

Foz de Iguacu
Bourbon Cataratas – Rodovia das Cataratas, Km 2.5; 800-451-010 or 011-55-45-3521-3900;; beautifully appointed rooms; in original wing, standard rooms look out over front while superior rooms have veranda and look over pool; new wing houses master suites with newer furnishings and huge windows providing lovely views; 2km trail through orchards and lovely gardens; toucans, parakeets, and colorful butterflies in aviary; vast pool complex (3 large pools, 1 for children); top-notch gym and indoor pool, climbing wall and tennis courts, soccer field, and beach volleyball court.
Hotel das Cataratas – Parque Nacional do Iguacu; 800-837-9051 or 011-55-45-2102-7000;; Iguaçu’s most famous hotel; emphasis on outdoor activities; pool; standard rooms not overly large, but hardwood floors and firm twin or double beds; bathrooms have large granite countertops and modern tub/shower combos; (some rooms have carpet instead of hardwood floors, state preference when reserve); superior rooms slightly larger, with forest or garden views; deluxe rooms all have beautiful hardwood floors, dark-wood furniture, and bathrooms with large bathtubs; few have balconies; rooms spread out over wings connected by spacious corridors; large pool complex and forested area behind hotel with nature walks and trails to explore.
Bufalo Branco Churrascaria – Rua Engeneiro Rebouças 530; 011-55-45-3523-9744;; churrasco (grilled meat), such as picanha (rump steak), alcatra (top sirloin), filet mignon, maminha (fattier rump steak), and contra filet (entrecôte).
Zaragoza – Rua Quintino Bocaiuva 882; 011-55-45-3574-3084;; international cuisine with strong Spanish flavor; particularly strong on seafood; on Saturday, feijoada and on Sunday paella for lunch.
Trapiche – Rua Marechal Deodoro 1087; 011-55-45-3527-3951;; seafood.
Sights & Sites
Parque Nacional do Iguacu – Rodovia dos Cataratas, Km 18; 011-55-045-3572-2261;; Brazilian Falls; rafting and zodiac trips; pathway zigzags down gorge and trundles along cliff face, providing views across narrow gorge at water cascading down in 100 different places; 275 separate waterfalls; colorful butterflies fluttering about trail and grumbling coati (larger raccoon relative) begging for food; elevated walkway leading out in front of 1 fall.

Mercurius – purpose-sunk wreck.
Sights & Sites
Olinda – artsy suburb where Europeans first settled.

Buzios (includes Rocka)
Bars & Nightclubs
Rocka Beach Lounge & Restaurant – Praia Beach (Rocka); 011-55-22-2623-6159;; sexy beach club bohemia (indoor-outdoor architecture) set along hillside outcropping series.
Casas Brancas – Alto do Humaita 10; 011-55-22-2623-1458;; reigning queen.
Insolito Boutique Hotel – Rua E1, Lotes 3 & 4 (Condomínio Atlântico); 011-55-22-2623-2172;; stylish boutique; perced on ridge above Praia Ferradura; Brazilian furniture, art, and objects decorate 11 rooms and suites; French restaurant; 2 pool decks.
Insolito Boutique Hotel – Rua E1, Lotes 3 & 4 (Condominio Atlantico); 011-55-22-2623-2172;; French restaurant.
Quintal – Praia de Manguinhos (specific address given on reservation); 011-55-22-2623-1934; semi-secret restaurant in beautiful, clay-tiled mansion; globally influenced; try gnocchi president.
Rocka Beach Lounge & Restaurant – Praia Beach (Rocka); 011-55-22-2623-6159;; not-so-serious menu of seafood classics that somehow taste like best thing you’ve ever eaten; fish specialties cooked on open grill.

Fernando de Noronha
Praia do Conceicao.
Baia dos Porco – among Brazil’s top 3 beaches.
Praia do Leao – among Brazil’s top 3 beaches; secluded; sea turtle nesting spot.
Praia do Sancho – among Brazil’s top 3 beaches; reachable only by ladder.
Brothers Bay – sharks.
Cagarras – large rock formations.
Caverna da Sapata – green turtles.
Cordilheiras – 60' drop to rock-strewn bottom; lobsters, octopi, squirrel fish, turtles.
Pedras Secas – best diving site, with electric colors and rock formations.
Ecopousada Teju-Acu – Estrada de Alamoa; 011-55-81-3619-1277;; 12 bungalows; jungly pool; Penelope Cruz & Javier Bardem stayed here.
Pousada Ze Maria – 1 Rua Nice Cordeiro; 011-55-81-3619-1258;; rustic but with unparalleled views.
Ze Maria – 1 Rua Nice Cordeiro (at Pousada Ze Maria); 011-55-81-3619-1258;; Wed.-Sat. night seafood buffets.
Atlantis – 20 Caixa Postal; 011-55-81-3619-1371;; divemasters.
Sights & Sites
Buraco da Raquel – BR 363 (at road end); cave.
Morro do Pico – rocky outcropping; highest point.

Floresta Velha
Beijupira – 470 Rua Amaro Preto; 011-55-81-3619-1250;
Pousada Maravilha – Sueste Bay; 011-55-81-3619-0028;; luxe, 8-room resort.
Pousada Triboju – 133 Rua Amaro Preto; 011-55-81-3619-1370;; huge rooms with recycled hardwoods; breakfast poolside.
Beijupira – 470 Rua Amaro Preto; 011-55-81-3619-1250;; only 5 tables in this Greek-influenced restaurant.

Florianopolis (includes Jurere & Lagoa da Conceição)
Bars & Nightclubs
Barraco da Mole – Praia Mole; 55-48-3232-5585; popular with beach set.
Confraria das Artes – 31 Rua João Pacheco da Costa (Lagoa da Conceição); 011-55-48-3232-2298; nightclub niched in colonial edifice and outfitted with vintage furniture;
Pacha – Rodovia Maurício Sirotsky Sobrinho; 011-55-48-3282-2054;; megaclub chain member.
Parador 12 – Servidão J. Cardoso Oliveira; 011-55-48-3284-8156;; beach club awash in Champagne served to bronzed bodies on white canopy beds.
Praia Café – 1B Avenida dos Merlins; 011-55-48-3282-1325;; where parties go until 4 am.
Praia Mole – long strip talcum-like sand and world-class waves on Santa Catarina Island’s east coast; popular with bikini-clad girls, sculpted tanners, and surfers.
Il Campanario Villagio Resort – 1760 Avenida dos Búzios (Jurere); 011-55-48-3261-6000;
Mergulhao – Porto de Santo Antonio; 011-55-81-3619-0215; innovative seafood with lovely harbor views.
Nascimento – Vila do Trinta; 011-55-81-3619-1546; windows and wood spot by water that serves grilled fish and traditional dishes.
Ponta dos Ganchos – 104 Rua Eupídeo Alves do Nascimento (Santa Catarina Island); 011-55-48-3953-7000 or 800-643-3346;; on little island linked to peninsula by long, wooden bridge; most romantic dinner ever; in gazebo; menu changes every day; must try world-famous Santa Catarina oysters with drizzle of lime juice.
Porto Marlin – Porto de Santo Antonio; 011-55-81-3619-1452; rustic room with 12 tables; sushi at dinner.
Praia Café – 1B Avenida dos Merlins; 011-55-48-3282-1325;
Sights & Sites
Lagoa da Conceição – boho-chic, inland village; artists, intellectuals, and media types.

Governador Celso Ramos
Ponta dos Ganchos – Rua Eupidio Alves do Nascimento (on Costa Esmerelda); 011-55-48-262-5000;; 20-bungalow retreat spread over 20 acres Brazilian beachfront, rain forest looming just beyond shore and fishing village provide only land action; off Arvoredo Biological Marine Reserve (less than hour away), sustaining rainbow of aquatic life, from 300-pound green sea turtles to tiny pocket-size sea horses.

Quinta do Bucanero – Estrada Geral do Rosa; 011-55-48-3355-6056;; carved into cliffside; luxurious, 10-room pousada with beautiful gardens and small spa.
Lua Marinha – Estrada Geral de Ibiraquera; 011-55-48-3354-0613;; unfussy but refined seafood dishes using local ingredients; wooden deck overlooks lagoon.

Praia do Rosa
Bars & Nightclubs
Beleza Pura – 313 Rua Jardim da Lagoa (Praia do Rosa, near Praia da Ferrugem); 011-55-48-8829-1253;; heats up after dark (early) and closes around 3-4 am; open daily December-April and weekends rest of year; cosmic-themed mural on ceiling; outdoor patios; live bands.
Morada da Praia do Rosa – Rua Geral da Praia do Rosa (Praia do Rosa); 011-55-48-3355-7342;
Sapore di Pasta – Caminho do Alto do Morro; 011-55-48-3355-6100;

Vila do Trinta
Varanda – 130 Rua Major Costa; 011-55-81-3619-1546; seafood.

São Luis
Sights & Sites
Lençóis Maranhenses National Park – Barreirinhas; 011-55-98-3349-1267;; known as Brazilian Sahara; 155K hectares; rains 3 times more than in African desert; rainy season, from November-June, so intense that creates enormous temporary crystalline fresh water lagoons; golden and white sand meadows, constantly shifting shape, extend around oases; along 90 kms littoral, beautiful, deserted, and extended beaches are linked; some dunes resemble mountains up to 40 ms h and sometimes cluster along 50 ms of beaches and inland deserts; lagoons, whose surfaces undulate with strong trade winds, range from blue-turquoise to green-emerald; vegetation limited to relatively small area where mangrove reach up to 12 m h; diverse fauna, such as blue-winged cassin’s auklet, woodcutter deer, southern spectacle caiman, and paca; no roads, so use sports utility vehicle; most common accesses are through Atins, Barreirinhas, and Bella Balsa, or through Sucuriju; worth seeing are: Blue Lagoon; Boa Esperanca Lagoon; Bonita Lagoon (beautiful natural pool that keeps its waters perennially); and Santo Amaro Lagoon.


(includes South Shore (Ashland, Bayfield, Brule, Iron River, Madeline Island, Port Wing & Superior))

Hotel Chequamegon – 101 Lake Shore Drive West (Ashland); 715-682-9095 or 800-946-5555;; modeled on Mackinac Island; lakeside rooms offer unparalleled views of Bayfield Peninsula.
Rittenhouse Inn – 301 Rittenhouse Avenue (Bayfield); 715-779-5111 or 888-611-4667;; grand dame of city’s bed&breakfasts.

Anchor Bar & Grill – 413 Tower Avenue (Superior); 715-394-9747; hamburgers.
Black Cat Coffee – 211 Chapple Avenue (Ashland); 715-682-3680; organic, fair trade coffee.
Egg Toss Bakery Café – 41 Manypenny Avenue (Bayfield); 715-779-5181;; great breakfasts.
Ethel’s at 250 – 250 Rittenhouse Avenue (Bayfield); 715) 779-0293;; try whitefish liver pizza.
Gabriele’s German Cookies & Chocolate – 413 West Main Street (Ashland); 715-682-2114;; try almond crescent cookies or Berliner Brot confections.
2nd Street Bistro – 201 East Main Street (Ashland); 715-682-6444;; 715-682-6444; excellent food; nightly specials and good wine list.
South Shore Brewery – 808 Main Street West (Ashland); 715-682-4200;; try apple ale.
Wild Rice Restaurant – 84860 Old San Road (Bayfield); 715-779-9881;; try wild rice soup (made with smoked chicken and granny smith apples); sophisticated menu.

Blue Vista Farm – 34045 County Highway J (Bayfield); 715-779-5400;; pick berries.

Blue Vista Farm – 34045 County Highway J (Bayfield); 715-779-5400;
Hoth-Lee Art Gallery – 83010 Washington Avenue (Port Wing); 715-774-3117; baskets, photography, and wood carvings.
Oulu Glass – 1695 West Colby Road (Brule); 715-372-4160;; handblown glassware.
Port Wing Pottery – 82980 White Birch Road (Port Wing); 715-774-3222;; wood-fired, handmade ceramics in renovated, 19th Century church.
Trout Run Art Gallery & Ice Cream – 83315 Washington Avenue (Port Wing); 715-774-3799;; paintings, pottery, and wood carvings.
What Goes Around Used Books – 28 South 2nd Street (Bayfield); 715-779-5223;; bookstore with patio and bench to sample wares.
White Winter Winery – 68323 Lea Street (Iron River); 715-372-5656;; mead.

Big Bay State Park – Madeline Island; 715-747-6425;; have to take ferry to get there; beach is worth effort; sunbathers’ paradise.
Raspberry Island – 715-779-3397;; play croquet; lighthouse; 1 of Apostle Islands.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Williamsburg Inn – 136 East Francis Street; 757-253-2277 or 800-447-8679;; built in 1937; National Trust Historic Hotel; indoor pool.

Cheese Shop – 410 West Duke of Gloucester Street; 757-220-1324; gourmet sandwiches.
Fat Canary – 410 West Duke of Gloucester Street; 757-225-3333; nouvelle cuisine in Art Deco location; above usual touristy fare; try cornmeal oysters.
Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que – 447 East Rochambeau; 757-565-2955;; local legend.

Spa of Colonial Williamsburg – 307 South England Street; 757-220-7720 or 800-688-6479;

J. Fenton Modern American Crafts – 110 South Henry Street; 757-221-8200;; updated interpretations of clothing, jewelry, and quilts.
Nancy Thomas Gallery of Folk Art – 407 West Duke of Gloucester Street; 757-259-1938;; pricey and unusual interpretations of traditional American crafts.

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum – 325 West Francis Street; 757-220-7693;; take docent-guided tour.
Colonial National History Park – 757-898-3400 or 757-898-2410;
Colonial Parkway – on Virginia peninsula between James and York Rivers, short distance from I-64; 757-898-3400;; 1 of 27 US “National Scenic Byways”; scenic 23-mile parkway linking 3 popular attractions of Virginia’s Historic Triangle of colonial-era communities, Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown; part of National Park Service’s Colonial National Historical Park.
Colonial Williamsburg Historic District – 102 Information Center Drive; 757-229-1000 or 800-447-8679;; don’t miss Governor’s Palace and Bruton Parish Church.
DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum – 325 West Francis Street; 757-229-1000;; extensive collection of American and British antiques, including ceramics, firearms, furniture, glass, metals, paintings, prints, and textiles from 17th-19th Centuries.
Williamsburg Winery – 5800 Wessex Hundred Road; 757-229-0999;; adjacent tavern serves snacks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


(does not include Quito)

Sights & Sites
Casa del Arbol –; rickety tree house overlooking active volcano in near distance with swing with no harnesses, inviting only bravest risk-takers to experience killer view.

Isla Santa Cruz
Pikaia Lodge – El Cascajo; 011-593-4268-1952;; on tortoise reserve atop dormant volcano.

Mashpi Lodge – Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve; 800-527-2500;

Los Frailes – in Machalilla National Park; from park entrance gate at Los Frailes, 2-mile trail down to beach.
Machalilla Tours – Malecon; 011-593-5-230-0234 or 011-593-9-610-9185; or (for Fausto); run by Fausto Choez Castro.
Naturis – General Cordova y Juan Montalvo Calles; 011-595-5-230-0218;; tour agency.
Sights & Sites
Agua Blanca – 6 miles north of Puerto Lopez; small archaeological museum and nearby ruins.
Humpback Whale – Puerto López’ greatest draw is annual humpback-whale breeding, mating, and migration event.
Machalilla National Park – Calle Eloy Alfaro (Puerto Lopez office); 011-595-05-230-0170; park includes Isla de la Plata, among world’s premier manta-viewing sites (; named “Isla de la Plata” because Sir Francis Drake reportedly hid huge treasure here; island 14 miles west of Puerto López; park also includes vast forest tracts and couple ancient archaeological sites; bird-watching and wildlife-viewing.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Cane Bar – Soufriere (at Jalousie Plantation); 011-758-456-8000;; owned by Rolling Stones’ former accountant, Roger Myers; unique artwork abounds.
T’Cholit Bar – Soufriere (at Ladera Resort); 011-758-459-7323;; try rum and lime, Ti Punch.
Whispers – Bridge Street (Soufriere); 011-758-720-8486; weekday bar turn night club on weekends; cadence, reggae, and soca lovers delight; many themed dances; up above dance floor and away from strobe lights is private lounge where more reserved can hang out with friends or by oneself.

Anse Chastanet Beach – Old French Road (Soufriere); not beautiful in blue-water-white-sand sense; dark water and gray sand; but, excellent visibility and great for diving and snorkeling.
Anse Cochon Bay – Castries (access at Ti Kaye Village Resort); 011-758-456-8101;; best for snorkeling to see seahorses; resort sells day passes to non-guests.
Sugar Beach – Jalousie Drive (Anse des Pitons); between two Piton mountains; beach bar and restaurant; also, snorkel rentals; at cove’s north end, trumpet fish abound below Petit Piton.

Anse Chastanet Reef.
Fairy Land – coral reef washed by strong currents; drift-diving spot.
Key Hole Pinnacles – 4 coral-encrusted seamounts, home to grouper, jacks, wrasse, etc.
Lesleen M – sand eels, seahorses, and turtles; intentionally sunk in 1986.
Rosemond’s Trench.
Soufriere Marine Management Area.
Superman’s Flight – 1.6K' coral wall.

Anse Chastanet – Old French Road (Soufriere); 011-758-459-7000 or 800-223-1108;; on 600 acres of dense greenery; Piton views; Jade Mountain is part of resort (see below); unmemorable food.
Balenbouche Estate – Laborie; 011-758-455-1244;; 4 cottages on historic plantation that grows own fruit; inconvenient if no car.
Cap Maison – Smugglers Cove Drive (Cap Estate, Gros Islet); 011-758-457-8678;; Spanish-style villas arranged around courtyards.
Discovery at Marigot Bay – Marigot (Marigot Bay); 011-758-458-5300;; perched on hillside fronting Marigot Bay; 124-room resort with long, frangipani and ginger lily lined footpath; guest rooms have wide verandas and Brazilian hardwood flooring; pillowtop beds; slate-tiled bathrooms; giant showerheads; Kiehl’s toiletries; friendly service; 1 restaurant; go late January and early February; book top-floor Bay View suites, which have unobstructed harbor views, plus 4-poster beds and lofted ceilings.
Fond Doux Estate – Soufriere; 011-758-459-7545 or 011-758-459-7548;; Creole cottages; ask for refurbished unit.
Hotel Chocolat – Rabot Estate (Soufriere); 800-757-7132;; 10-room, boutique hotel; 6 stone cottages.
Jade Mountain – 100 Anse Chastanet Road (Soufriere); 011-758-459-7000;; Soufriere; ask for sun suite; private infinity pools.
Jalousie Plantation – Soufriere; 011-758-456-8000;; 42 hillside bungalows with plunge pools; 100+ acres; UNESCO World Heritage site.
Ladera Resort – Soufriere; 011-758-459-7323;; former cocoa plantation looks out at Pitons; “missing wall” in all rooms allows views from canopy beds with mesquito netting; plunge pools; average food; spa.
The Landings – Rodney Bay; 011-758-458-7300;

Boucan – Rabot Estate (Soufriere, at Hotel Chocolat); 800-757-7132;
Coal Pot – Castries (on water); 011-758-452-5566; local food favorite.
Dasheene – Soufriere; 011-758-459-7323;; awesome view.
Fond Doux Estate – Soufriere; 011-758-459-7545 or 011-758-459-7548;; Creole lunches; call 1st.
Great Room – Soufriere (at Jalousie Plantation); 011-758-456-8000;; Caribbean dishes.
Jardin Cacao – Soufriere (at Fond Doux Estates); 011-758-459-7545;; almost all produce grown on site.

Anse Chastanet Resort – Old French Road (Soufriere); 011-758-459-7000 or 800-223-1108;; diving.
Chocolate Bean to Bar Experience Excursion – Castries; 011-758-450-0507; (ask for Alison);; they also offer other tours.
Dive Fair Helen – Marigot Bay (Castries); 011-758-451-7716 or 888-855-2206;
Fond Doux Estate – Soufriere; 011-758-459-7545 or 011-758-459-7548;; will arrange cocoa plantation tours.
Gros Piton Tours – Fond Gens Libre; 011-758-286-0382; will arrange hiking tours up Gros Piton (3-4 hours round trip).
Rabot Estate Cacao Plantation – Rabot Estate (Soufriere); 800-757-7132;; raw-to-refined tour, starting in orchard and ending in processing.
Rainforest Spa – Jalousie Plantation (Soufriere); 011-758-456-8000;; huge spa surrounding 18th Century Sugar Plantation.
Scuba St. Lucia – Soufriere; 011-758-459-7755;; diving.

Batik Studio – Anse Chastanet Road (Soufriere, at Hummingbird Beach Resort); 011-758-459-7985;; showcases owner’s work (Joan (Joyce) Alexander-Stowe), as well as son’s (David Simmonds).

Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens – Soufriere Estate; 011-758-459-7565;; make sure to see Diamond Falls and Mineral Baths.
Pigeon Island National Park – 011-758-452-5005;; 40 acres of abandoned forts and beaches.
Sulphur Springs Park – Soufriere (10 minutes south); 011-758-459-5726;; mineral-rich waters in collapsed caldera; admission fee allows you to enjoy these hot-springs and their enriching mud; dress in something you don’t care about.
Tet Paul Nature Trail – Soufriere (near Fond Doux Plantation); 011-758-720-1779;; hiking trail that follows gentle trail between 2 Pitons.
Treetop Canopy Adventure – Dennery; 011-758-458-0908;; zip-line rainforest tour.
Volcano – Bay Street; 011-758-459-5500; world’s only “drive-thru” volcano.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


(includes Castelmola, Gole dell’Alcantara, Letojanni, Mazzaro, Mt. Etna, Nicolosi, Sant’Alfio & Santa Maria La Scala)

Caffe Wunderbar – 7 Piazza IX Aprile; 011-39-0942-625-302; Tennessee Williams hung out here.

Caffe Wunderbar – 7 Piazza IX Aprile; 011-39-0942-625-302; Tennessee Williams started his evenings here.
Mocambo Bar – 8 Piazza IX Aprile; 011-39-094-223-350;; famous people-watching locale with mural depicting celebrities who have visited.

Isola Bella Islet – just past Capo Sant’Andrea headland, region’s prettiest cove; twin beach crescents sweep from sand spit out to minuscule islet; can walk here from cable car in minute; also can paddle from Lido Mazzaro around Capo Sant’Andrea, which hides grottoes with excellent light effects on seaward side.
Lido Letojanni – long wide beach north of Lido Mazzaro; more developed but less crowded than Giardini, large, built-up resort beach south of Isola Bella.
Lido Mazzaro – most popular beach; go south of town via cable car that leaves from Via Pirandello every 15 minutes; beach is among best equipped in Sicily, with bars, hotels, and restaurants; rent beach chairs, umbrellas, and watersports equipment at various kiosks from April to October.
Lido Spisone – long wide beach north of Lido Mazzaro; more developed but less crowded than Giardini, large, built-up resort beach south of Isola Bella.
Paradise Beach Club – Via Lungomare (Letojanni); 011-39-0942-36944; lies at beachfront’s east end; built on former Dr. Gayelord Hauser’s villa’s grounds (Greta Garbo’s confidant and dietician); for half or full day; freshwater pool; pleasant restaurant; registered lifeguard; open June to October; entrance fee includes all-day chaise longue and parasol.

Grand Hotel Timeo – 59 Via Teatro Greco; 011-39-0942-23801;; have Bellini on terrace.
Hotel Ashbee – 46 Viale San Pancrazio; 011-39-0942-23537;; boutique, luxury hotel; lovely.
Hotel Villa Sonia – 9 Via Porta Mola (Castelmola); 011-39-0942-28082;; former historic residence overlooking garden and swimming pool; most rooms have balcony with Mount Etna view.
Palazzo San Domenico – 5 Piazza San Domenico; 011-39-0942-613-111;; where Churchill stayed; former 14th Century Dominican monastery; best views of any hotel in city; some suites have jacuzzis on terraces facing sea.
Villa Sant’Andrea – 137 Via Nazionale (Mazzaro); 011-39-0942-627-1200;; seaside sister to Grand Hotel Timeo.

Caffe Wunderbar – 7 Piazza IX Aprile; 011-39-0942-625-302; Tennessee Williams hung out here.
La Giara – 1 Vico La Floresta; 011-39-0942-23360;; beautiful outdoor seating on veranda with tremendous views.
Granduca Ristorante Pizzeria – 172 Corso Umberto I; 011-39-0942-24983;; especially good seafood.
La Griglia – 54 Corso Umberto I; 011-39-0942-23980;; traditional Sicilian food.
La Grotta – 46 Via Scalo Grande (Santa Maria La Scala); 011-39-095-764-8153; atmospheric trattoria.
Casa Grugno – Via Santa Maria dè Greci; 011-39-0942- 21208;; some consider Taormina’s best restaurant.
Parco Reale – 9 Via Porta Mola (Castelmola, at Hotel Villa Sonia); 011-39-0942-28082;

Funivia dell’Etna – Rifugio Sapienza (Nicolosi); 011-39-0942-23605;; cable car.
Siciltrek – 27 Via Marconi (Sant’Alfio); 011-39-95-968-882 or 011-39-348-853-0310 (Andrea Ercolani’s personal cell);; ask for Ercolani for personalized tour of Mt. Etna with “vulcanologist.”

Carlo Panarello Antichita – 122 Via Corso Umberto I; 011-39-0942-23910; good selection Sicilian ceramics; also antiques, engravings, paintings, tablecloths, and umbrellas; also sells coppola (small hats) from Corleone.
Casa d’Arte Forin – 148 Via Corso Umberto I; 011-39-0942-23060; antique shop featuring bucolic Sicilian countryside and Ionian Sea scenes; excellent reproductions antique jewelry at good prices.
Ch’ien – 53 Via Bagnoli Croce; 011-39-0942-628-722; stylish and sophisticated gift shop.
Oggettistica e Arredi – 4 Via Fratelli Ingegnere; 011-39-0942-606-614; 18th-19th Century art reproductions.
La Torinese – 59 Via Corso Umberto I; 011-39-0942-23321; delicatessen established in 1936; good picnic foundations; breads, cheese, jams, pastries, pates, and sliced meats.

Alcantara Gorges – in Gole dell’Alcantara; 011-39-0942-985-010; gorges rushing with extremely cold water; bring bathing suit; allow at least hour for trip.
Biblioteca di Comune di Taormina – 3 Piazza XXV Aprile; 011-39-094-261-0260);; dignified, former Chiesa di Sant’Agostino, built in 1448 CE and majestically transformed into library around 1900.
Castelmola – 3km (2 miles) northwest of Taormina; small village; among eastern Sicily’s most beautiful places, with panoramic Mount Etna views on clear days.
Duomo Santa Caterina – Piazza Santa Caterina (off Corso Umberto I); 011-39-0942-23123).
Francavilla di Sicilia – village near Gola dell Alcantara; good for lunch.
Giardino Púbblico – Via Bagnoli Croce; pretty garden that overlooks sea; can order drinks at bar in park; open from dawn until dusk.
Mount Tauro – 3km (2 miles) northwest of Taormina; visit ruined castello (castle) on summit; hikers can follow footpath here; former acropolis ruins visible.
Museo Archeologico di Taormina – Via Circonvallazione (Palazzo Badia Vecchia); 011-39-0942-620-112; on ancient Roman baths site; archaeological remnants discovered during excavations in and around the city.
Palazzo Corvaja – Piazza Santa Catarina (Corso Umberto I); 011-39-0942-23243; among most famous palaces in Taormina; contains tourist office, Museo Siciliano di Arte e Tradizioni Popolari (Museum of Art and Popular Traditions).
Villa Communale or Parco Duca di Cesaro – Via Bagnoli Croce (off Corso Umberto I); among most beautiful little parks in all Sicily; gardens were Lady Florence Trevelyan’s creation (Edward VII’s exiled mistress) in late 19th Century; various amusements in gardens, including fanciful brick-and-stone pavilion conceived as teahouse.
Savoca – tiny, medieval village that Coppola used in Godfather movie(s).
SP 122 – national highway that leads into Taormina; very dramatic.
Stroll – along Corso Umberto I until reach small square, Piazza IX Aprile, which overlooks sea and Mount Etna; 1 side square open; other 3 sides enclosed by 17th Century Church of San Giuseppe, San Agostino (converted into library), and Torre dell’Orologio, from late 1600s.
Teatro Greco – Via del Teatro Greco; 011-39-0942-23220);; Taormina’s most visited monument, offering beautiful view over sea and Mount Etna; on premises display of artifacts from classical and early Christian periods; site of annual Taormina film festival.


(includes Santa Venerina)


Antica Focacceria San Francesco – 64 Via Paternostro Alessandro; 011-39-91-609-0261;; bakery.
Antica Gelateria Lucchese – 11 Piazza San Domenico; Sicilian “breakfast of champions” is brioche and granita (like sorbet), such as granita alle mandorle (almond granita); also try jasmine and mulberry gelato.
Bread Forreria – 29 Via Bonacorso; old-fashioned bakery.
Caflisch Cafe – 2b Viale di Regina Margherita di Savoia; 011-39-091-684-0444; try pezzo duro (candylike gelato cone).
Gelateria Ilardo Giovanni – 11 Foro Umberto I; 011-39-338-749-9757; ice cream vendor on seafront, open until 2 am; try prickly pear and/or walnut.
Panelle Stand – at corner of Via Torremuzza and Piazza Kalsa (mornings only); chickpea flour crepes in morning.
Panificio Porta Reale – 17 Via Niccolo Cervello; 011-39-091-616-4128; baked goods, sandwiches, and pizzas; as well as sweets.
Pasticceria Alba – 7c-d Piazza Don Bosco; 011-39-091-625-6390;; half-century old institution with endless takeout menu and ancient staff; get “ice-cream burger” – brioche with gelato on it.
Pasticceria Bar Russo – 105 Via Vittorio Emanuele (Santa Venerina); 011-39-095-953-202;
Pasticceria Scimone – 18b Via Vincenzo Micelli; 011-39-091-584-448;; city’s finest pastry shop; order “apostles’ fingers” – filled with chocolate or hazelnut ricotta filling.

Extra Bar di Polizzi Pietro – 49 Via Mazzini; 011-39-091-898-3006; this may be bar that Lampedusa frequented daily.
Picone – 36 Via Marconi Guglielmo; 011-39-091-331-300;; wine bar.
Taverna Azzura – 15 Via Maccheronai (Vucciria); gritty bar; cheap wine and fascinating patrons.
Malu – 21 Via Enrico Albanese; 011-39-347-820-0870; grown-up bar with outdoor seating.
Villa Igiea – 43 Salita Balmonte; 011-39-091-631-2141;; outdoor, terrace seating; 180° view of Palermo Bay.

Atlante – 5 Via Cadorna; 011-39-091-214-777;; early 20th Century apartment on traffic congested street; clean and modest; pays no mafia money.
BB22 – 22 Largo Cavalieri di Malta (Centro Storico); 011-39-091-611-1610;; cute, designer B&B.
Butera 28 – 28 Via Butera; 011-39-333-316-5432;; 17th Century palace/apartment owned by Lampedusa’s adopted heir; 11 apartments, each with own kitchen; cooking classes.
Centrale Palace Hotel – 327 Via Vittorio Emanuele; 011-39-091-336-666;; 18th Century palazzo.
Excelsior Palace – 3 Via Marchese Ugo; 011-39-091-790-9111;; renovated, 19th Century, lovely with specials on-line.
Hotel Garibaldi – 146 Via Emerico Amari; 011-39-091-601-7011;; modern and close to city’s shopping district.
Grand Hotel at Des Palmes – 398 Via Roma; 011-39-091-602-8111;; old world institution; French proto-surrealist Raymond Roussel lived here.
Grand Hotel Wagner – 2 Via Riccardo Wagner; 011-39-091-336-572;; slightly faded grandeur.
Hotel Villa Igiea – 43 Salita Belmonte; 011-39-091-631-2141; luxury hotel on Monte Pelligrino’s slopes; mentioned in Montalbano series.
Palazza Conte Federico – 4 Via dei Biscottari; 011-39-091-651-1881;; torchlit, antiques-laden castle from 1100s still inhabited, owned, and run by aristocracy.
Plaza Opera Hotel – 2 Via Nicolo Gallo; 011-39-091-381-9026;; “cosmopolitan.”
Hotel Porta Felice – 45 Via Butera; 011-39-091-617-5678;; renovated palace with modern décor and spa.
Hotel Ucciardhome – 34-36 Via Enrico Albanese; 011-39-091-34-8426;; boutique.

Antica Focacceria San Francesco – 64 Via Paternostro Alessandro; 011-39-091-609-0261;; wildly popular and seafood; avoid maritata (beef spleen); 176 year-old restaurant that is famous for not paying pizzo (protection money).
Bellotero – 3 Via Giorgio Castriota; 011-39-091-58-2158;; small formal restaurant; 10-tables in “new town”; draws nightly crowd of discerning and lively locals; spaghetti with stone bass, sea urchin and lemon zest, or lamb with oven-roasted pistachios and vegetable caponata.
Bye Bye Blues – 23 Via Dei Garafalo; 011-39-091-684-1415;; award-winning restaurant in beachy Mondello neighborhood.
Caflisch Cafe – 2b Viale di Regina Margherita di Savoia; 011-39-091-684-0444; try pezzo duro (candylike gelato cone).
Casa del Brodo – 175 Corso Vittorio Emanuele; 011-39-091-321-655;; 121 years old; reputedly never serves bad meal; try sea urchin pasta.
Cin Cin – 22 Via Daniele Manin; 011-39-091-612-4095;; fancier dishes.
Franco ‘U Vastiddaru – 102 Corso Vittorio Emanuele; 011-39-091-32-5987; fried meals, especially for lunch.
Kursaal Kalhesa – 21 Foro Umberto I; 011-39-091-616-0050;; separate restaurant and wine bar in magnificent Palazzo Forcella de Seta.
Osteria dei Vespri – 6 Piazza Croce dei Vespri; 011-39-091-617-1631;; delightful seafood and wine.
Pani ca Meusa – 62 Via Cala (Porta Carbone); 011-39-091-32-3433; sandwiches.
Panificio Porta Reale – 17 Via Niccolo Cervello; 011-39-091-616-4128; baked goods, sandwiches, and pizzas; as well as sweets.
Pasticceria Alba – 7c-d Piazza Don Bosco; 011-39-091-625-6390;; half-century old institution with endless takeout menu and ancient staff.
Piccolo Napoli – 4 Piazzetta Mulino a Vento; 011-39-091-32-0431; trattoria outside city walls; seafood and excellent Sicilian wines.
Pizzeria Bellini – 6 Piazza Bellini; 011-39-091-616-5691;; among Lampedusa’s regular haunts.
Ristorante Nabucco – 15 Largo Cavalieri di Malta; 011-39-091-58-4763; seafood and pasta.
Salvo – 30 Via Torremuzza; 011-39-091-616-8956; grill trattoria with street-side whiteboard menu and outdoor seating in sun.
Trattoria Da Toto – 5 Via Coltellieri; 011-39-333-315-7558; homey place for fresh seafood and local wine.
Trattoria Del Massimo – 25/26 Piazza Verdi; 011-39-091-326-155;; among Lampedusa’s haunts.
Trattoria Tipica Altri Tempi – 65 Via Sammartino; 011-39-091-323-480; classic Sicilian favorites.
Trattoria Zia Pina – 67 Via Argenteria (4 blocks from Tyrrhenian Sea); no sign welcoming diners, no written menus, no reservation book, no telephone; instead, half dozen tables, biblical paintings, and dented pots and pans gurgling and steaming on beat-up stove; you can’t simply walk in, if Pina doesn’t like your look, she’ll tell you trattoria is closed (and she’ll do it as she’s serving grilled swordfish and stuffed mushrooms to hungry fishermen); vegetables are crudely chopped, fish is served with head and tail, and everything comes under coarse sea salt veil; if you’re still hungry, you’re welcome to seconds, but don’t expect Pina to bring them, you can help yourself from cauldron on stove.

Alongi – 46a Via Ruggero Settimo; 011-39-091-582-927;; menswear.
Borgo Vecchio Market – in Borgo Vecchio district.
La Coppola Storta – 74 Via Bara all’Olivella;
011-39-091-324-428;; coppola are small, “snap-rimmed” hats, like berets.
Fecarotta – 103 Via Principe di Belmonte; 011-39-091-331-518;
Fratelli Battaglia – 12 Via Torremuzza; 011-39-091-617-0625; store for legumes, chick pea flour, and nuts.
Francesco Pantaleone – 25 Via Garraffello; 011-39-091-332-482;; owner formerly associated with Larry Gagosian gallery in New York.
Pescheria Isgro – 66 Via Porta Carini; 011-39-091-33-3775; fish market.
Pizzo & Pizzo – 1p-q Via XII Gennaio; 011-39-091-601-4544; food shop; place to shop for picnics and day trips; try piacentinu, local cheese with saffron.
Tasca d’Almerita – 13 Via dei Fiori; 011-39-091-645-9711;; make appointment to tour this winery on Mount Etna’s slopes.
Vucciria – Via dei Bambina; most famous food market.

Ballaro – city’s oldest, Arab-style market in Albergheria quarter.
Catacombe dei Cappucini – take 327 bus to city’s western outskirts; underground tomb with 8K corpses; has to be seen to be believed.
Cattedrale di Palermo – Corso Vittorio Emanuele; 011-39-091-334-373;
Chiesa della Spasimo – Via dello Spasimo; 011-39-091-616-6480; bombed during WWII, this 16th Century church is now atmospheric music venue.
Chiesa di San Cataldo – 2 Piazza Bellini (next to Piazza Pretoria and Church of Santa Maria Dell’Ammiraglio); 011-39-091-616-1692; 3 Saracen, cardinal-red domes.
Chiesa di Santa Maria Dell’Ammiraglio – 2 Piazza Bellini (next to Piazza Pretoria and Church of San Cataldo; 011-39-091-616-1692; built in 1143.
Eglise de la Martorana –3 Piazza Bellini; 011-39-091-616-1692; 10th Century church with Baroque façade and mosaics.
Galleria d’Arte Moderna Palermo – 21 Via Sant’Anna; 011-39-091-843-1605;; modern art.
Loggia District – baroque architecture; single pass will get you into 5 “architectural treasures,” including: Oratorio del Rosario del San Domenico (Via dei Bambiani, 16th Century chapel with Van Dyck alterpiece, Novello fresco ceiling); and Oratorio del Rosario di Santa Citta (Via Valverde 3, with 15 statues representing Virtues and Mysteries in splendid Rococo setting).
Monreale – bustling hillside village west of city; jaw-dropping display of Byzantine and Greek mosaics at Duomo (Piazza Gugliemo il Buono).
Oratorio Rosario di San Domenico – 2 Via dei Bambina; 011-39-091-332-779; make sure to see Serpotta’s frescoes; founded in closing years 16th Century by Holy Rosary Society, 2 outstanding members of which were sculptor Giacomo Serpotta and painter Pietro Novelli, both of whom left artistic work in this oratory; at high altar is Anthony Van Dyck’s Madonna of Rosary (1628).
Oratorio Santa Cita – 3 Via Valverde; 011-39-091-332-779; small, beautiful chapel.
Palazzo Mirto – 2 Via Merlo (on Piazza Marina); 011-39-091-616-4751; former residence of Lanza Filangeri family, Princes of Mirto (town in northeastern Sicily); built on 13th-14th Century structures’ foundations, palace completed in 18th Century’s last years; most salons, furnished with original items owned by family, Baroque; Chinese Salon is similar to Chinese Villa rooms built for King Ferdinando of Naples.
Palazzo dei Normanni (Palazzo Reale) – 1 Piazza del Parlemento; 011-39-091-705-1111;; used as governance building for centuries; currently, Sicily’s regional government seat; construction begun in 9th Century under Islamic rule; expanded and renovated by Normans from 1072 CE; once abandoned by Normans, untouched until 16th Century when restored; among main attractions are Cappella Palatina and royal apartments; guided tours are only provided in Italian.
Palazzo Valguarnera-Gangi – Piazza Croce dei Vespri; 011-44-20-7437-8553 (ask for Charles FitzRoy);; by prior arrangement only; ancestral townhouse 1st of Princes Valguarnera and then Princes Gangi; completed circa 1780; in Baroque style, although ornamentation more severe than that generally accepted as Sicilian Baroque; large circular and domed dining room with painted panels in dome by Giuseppe Velasco; in 1963, palazzo ballroom setting for Luchino Visconti’s film Il Gattopardo (The Leopard); house remains private residence.
Teatro Massimo Opera House – Piazza Giuseppe Verdi; 011-39-091-605-3521;
La Vicciria – Via dei Bambina; morning marketplace.
Villa Garibaldi Park – Piazza Marina; 011-39-091-740-7793; statue dedicated to Joe Petrosino, New York policeman killed in 1909 in connection with mafia investigation.


(includes Caltagirone, Ibla-Ragusa, Marina di Modici, Modica & Scicli)

Dolceria Bonajuto – 159 Corso Umberto I (Modica); 011-39-093-294-1225;; perhaps Italy’s finest cioccolateria; produces cold-pressed chocolate, process derived from Aztec practices in 16th Century; make sure to try cannoli (legendary) and mpanatigghi (chocolate-meat-filled pies).
Pasticceria di Pasquale – 104 Corso Vittorio Veneto (Modica); 011-39-093-262-4635;; near Duomo; best pastry in town; tearoom with pleasant service and plethora of cakes (torta alla crema di mandorle, torta al pistachio di Bronte, torta al limone, cassata siciliana, and crostata di foglie di ragusano); must try spinach and ragusano arancino.

Caelum Hyblae B&B – 11 Salita Specula (Ibla-Ragusa); 011-39-093-222-0065;; means “Ibla Sky”; bit of climb to get to; cozy alternative venue with piano in lobby and stunning Duomo views.
Casa Talia – 1/9 Via Exaudinos (Modica); 011-39-9-3275-2075;; affordable; local ceramic tiles, Moroccan rugs, hand-wrought ironwork; impeccable service; owners will chauffeur you into Modica, arrange excursions (cooking classes, trips to quarries), etc.
Eremo della Giubiliana – Contrada Giubiliana, SP 25, km 7.5 (in Val di Noto, near Marina di Ragusa); 011-39-093-266-9119;; former monastery lovingly converted by Nifosi family into delightful boutique hotel.
Locanda Don Serafino – 15 Via XI Febbraio (Ibla-Ragusa); 011-39-093-222-0402;; 4 stars; restored, 19th Century mansion; excellent restaurant of same name.
Villa del Lauro – 11 Via Ecce Homo (Ragusa); 011-39-093-265-5177;; elegant Baroque building, pathways in old town center; large and elegant bedrooms with 4 star comforts (mini-bar, tv set, video intercom, cash box air conditioning); inside rooms even more charming, with garden views; elegant swimming pool positioned on 2 levels with hydro-massage area; refined outside furniture and enthralling lighting create perfect environment for unique and special occasion.
Hotel La Moresca – 63 Via Dandolo (Marina di Ragusa); 011-39-093-223-9495;; chic, luxury hotel situated in Marina di Ragusa’s heart; 15 minimalist rooms with original furniture (alongside modern concept pieces such as those by Artemide, Castiglioni, Eames, Poulsen, and Zanotta, as well as pieces designed by architects involved in renovation process); sitting room; original house built in 1926 and belonged to same aristocratic family since; artworks by 2 local artists (photographer Giuseppe Leone and painter Giovanni Lissandrello).
Palazzo Hedone – 51 Via Loreto (Scicli); 011-39-093-284-1187;; weekly rentals; built in 1737; reached by ascending steep stairs from San Bartolomeo Church's base; 11 guest rooms and 4 suites; 2 large sitting rooms; grassy terrace looks out over ocean.

Coria – 24 Via Infermeria (Caltagirone); 011-39-093-333-4615;; competitively priced, imaginative restaurant.
La Gazza Ladra – 5 Via Blandini (Modica); 011-39-093-275-5655;; high-end.
Iblabla – Via Calle Bartolotti (Ibla-Ragusa, off Piazza della Repubblica); 011-39-093-265-1888; locally beloved; pizzeria and restaurant in Palazzo Rosso known for boisterous happy hours.
La Locanda del Colonnello – 6 Vico Biscari; 011-39-093-275-2423;; La Gazza’s trattoria offshoot.
Locanda Don Serafino – 15 Via XI Febbraio (Ibla-Ragusa); 011-39-093-222-0402;; 90% kitchen products are from Ragusa; elaborations on traditional Sicilian fare, especially rabbit and tuna.
Monoresort Beach Club – Piazzatta Santa Chiara (Marina di Modici, on Contrada Maganuco); 011-39-093-245-3308;; fresh seafood in seaside-chic surroundings.
Ristorante Duomo – 31 Via Bocchieri (Ibla-Ragusa); 011-39-093-265-1265;; 2 Michelin stars; truffle gelato served in salted toast; salami of goat with wild vegetables; antipasto of octopus; black pork in chocolate sauce.
Trattoria di Pesce Donnalina – 76 Via Doria (Marina di Ragusa); 011-39-093-223-9888;; serves fish “100 ways.”

Dolceria Bonajuto – 159 Corso Umberto I (Modica); 011-39-093-294-1225;; perhaps Italy’s finest cioccolateria; produces cold-pressed chocolate, process derived from Aztec practices in 16th Century; make sure to try cannoli (legendary) and mpanatigghi (chocolate-meat-filled pies).
Salumeria Barocco – 80 Corso XXV Aprile (Ragusa); 011-39-093-265-2419;; regional raw milk cheeses, especially ricottas.

Basilica di San Giorgio – 5 Via San Michele (Modica Alta); 011-39-093-222-0085 or 011-39-093-294-1279;; impressive Sicilian baroque specimen; erected in 1775 by Rosario Gagliardi, well-known architect from Syracuse; elegant façade with 3 tiers of columns; flanked by side-bay surmounted by volute; stairway and volute, though recently constructed, harmoniously adapted; beautiful decorated mirror, representing San Giorgio’s martyrdom, by painter Vito D’Amore, adorns nave; sacristy contains marble ancona, Gagini school sculptures, and precious Saint’s “treasures.”
Chiesa di San Giuseppe – Piazza Pola (Ibla-Ragusa);; façade very similar to San Giorgio’s, hence attributed to Gagliardi; houses precious stuccoes, paintings, and several baroque pieces; elliptical front, inside, adorned with nice portal, baroque bell-tower, and beautiful silvered 17th Century statue of San Giuseppe.
Chiesa di Sant’Antonio – Via Orfanotrofio (formerly Santa Maria La Nuova); nice ogival portal from original Gothic construction; baroque portaletto (small portal).
Chiesa di Santa Maria dell’Idria – Ibla-Ragusa; from 1639, built at Knights of Malta behest; doorway bears, still visible, order’s Cross; altar, inside, sumptuously adorned with order’s ornaments; bell-tower stands left of church, ornamented with lovely floral panels of majolica from Caltagirone.
Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Scale – Via 24 Maggio (between Ibla-Ragusa and Ragusa); largely rebuilt after 1693 earthquake; retains original Gothic portal and bell-tower; inside, remarkable Gothic-Renaissance arches and 16th Century terracotta image of virgin Mary, of Gagini school.
Duomo – 134 Via Roma (Ragusa); 011-39-093-262-1599;; also known as Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista; construction started in 1694; dedicated to Ragusa’s patron saint; front elevation in Baroque style with imposing doorway flanked by belfry; on inside are precious stuccoes and Canonical House.
Ecce Homo Church – Via Ecce Homo (Ragusa); 011-39-093-262-1778; neoclassical 19th Century façade and intricately tiled nave.
Museo Archeologico Ibleo – 107 Via Natalelli (Ragusa); 011-39-093-262-2963; under Ponte Nuovo (new bridge); housed in Mediterraneo hotel’s 1st floor; displays finds from excavations in Ragusa territory; collection is topographically and chronologically arranged; 1st section displays relics ranging in date from Neolithic to Bronze Age; 2nd, exclusively devoted to material recovered in Kamarina, contains Necropolises’ equipment and material, artefacts, Hellenic and Roman ceramics; 3rd, displays relics from most ancient Sikel settlements; 4th, documents referring to Greek sites, notably to excavations at Scornavacche; 5th, Roman and late-Roman’s specimens, mainly from Kaukana and Santa Croce Camerina excavations, where floor mosaics belonging to early-Christian church discovered.
Palazzo Bertini – Corso Italia (Ibla-Ragusa); 011-39-093-267-6111; erected by Florida family towards 18th Century’s end and successively acquired by Bertinis, local aristocratic family; masks on its façade, which, according to tradition, personify pauper, merchant, and noble.
Palazzo Cosentini – Piazza della Repubblica (Ragusa);; most typical of all 18th Century buildings in town, with elegant balconies supported by ornamented corbels and sculptured animals and masks typical of Baroque Art.
Villa Communale – Ibla-Ragusa (public gardens at far end); very well-mantained; beautiful mountain range and Irminio valley views; hosts 3 churches: San Giorgio il Vecchio; Capuchins; and San Giacomo; Chiesa di San Giorgio il Vecchio (Saint George “Elder”) has amazing Gothic-Norman doorway bearing depiction Saint George killing dragon and Aragon’s eagles; dates back to Chiaramonte’s age; erected towards mid-1300s; Chiesa dei Cappuccini Vecchi (old capuchin church) has simple façade enriched with 4 parastas with Corinthian capitals that support neo-classic front with 2 small bells; inside, truss roof and 1 of most beautiful paintings in Ragusa, triptych by Pietro Novelli, depicting Virgin Mary surrounded by angels and saints (1 represents, self-portrait, painter himself); 14th Century Chiesa di San Giacomo (Church of Crucifix).