By Adrienne Smith
The Grand Finale
Apr. 15, 2020: When I last left off, our ship, the Silver Spirit, was turned away from docking in Manila and we were headed to Australia.
Our captain informed us that it would take over four days to reach it, positioned as we were somewhere in the midst of the Philippines.
I had run out of dining options, the M&M’s supplied in my room, and the patience to watch the rolling seas outside my tiny patio.
The main dining room was facing its own problems: no lettuce, no fresh fruit. Would scurvy soon follow?
Every two days, we were lined up to have our temperatures taken. Mine was always awkward as it had to be taken by two different gadgets, running, as it did, quite subnormal (which actually, according to recent news reports, is actually the norm these days).
We also had to fill out applications for Australian transit visas online. We were informed that, when we reached Darwin, Australia, which is at the very tip of the immense island, we would have the choice to either quarantine for fourteen days and then find our own way home OR take a bus straight to the airport to fly home at no additional expense.
Given that the news at home was growing extremely worrisome and fearing that I might soon not be allowed into the country, I elected option two.
But this was not without regret. It’s a long, long way to Australia, and here I was going to be there and head straight home. Crazy!
Fifteen years ago, my family stayed in Darwin for several days. The city was seriously threatened by possible Japanese invasion during WWII, although it was ultimately spared.
Some distance outside Darwin is one of the loveliest places I’ve ever been: Kakadu National Park. It is filled with gorgeous lagoons and billabongs, crocodiles, and waterlilies.
Kakadu remains sharply in my memory because my husband, twins, and I set forth for it from Darwin in a sturdy Jeep. The park had two ways in, one a somewhat boring-sounding highway, and the other, a dirt road. I, of course, opted for the latter.
After we had driven probably 40 miles, with the occasional kangaroo hopping across the road, we came to a stream crossing, marked with danger signs indicating that crocodiles lurked beneath the surface.
We had no idea how deep the water was, knew that our Jeep did not have the kind of exhaust pipe that could avoid being flooded with water, so we parked, stymied, at the banks. The idea of driving the 40 miles back to the good road was unbearable. But it wasn’t particularly appealing to think of what would happen if we were to stall in the middle of the stream.
With visions of horror-movie tragedy, I gunned the engine, roared across the water, and arrived victoriously on the other side.
Lucky thing, or I might not be writing this now.
We arrived in Darwin and were transported to the airport. I boarded a flight to Brisbane. On arrival, I had a few hours to shop, avoiding impulse purchases of boomerangs and Crocodile Dundee hats. I then got onto an interminable flight to Los Angeles, followed by a red-eye connection to Newark, seated in front of a man who coughed copiously the whole flight.
After 30 hours of travel, I was a mess. The idea of facing bills, umpteen back copies of The New Yorker, and a stale-smelling apartment was too much for me, so I checked in to the Hilton Newark Airport for two days, watching completely senseless TV and soothing wracking foot cramps from my dehydration-inducing travels.
And then I was home, just in time to start another, far more serious, form of quarantine.
Photo by Eric Middelkoop (Image No. 133135805).
Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.
The Four Seasons Washington
Enjoy a weekend in Washington, DC during Cherry Blossom Season (late March/early April). Stay at the Four Seasons Washington, an elegant hotel that is part of the Four Seasons chain. Located right in the center of Georgetown, the hotel is “great for kids” providing welcoming touches in the room (confetti, yellow duck, balloons, cookies) as well as an indoor pool. Enjoy everything that Washington has to offer.
2800 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Escape to the Martha’s Vineyard for a week or weekend in the summer. Enjoy the beaches and all the great activities the Vineyard has to offer. If not renting a house or staying with friends, consider staying at the Hob Knob , a “casually elegant boutique hotel” in Edgartown.
128 Main Street Box 239
Edgartown, Mass 02539
Grace Mayflower Inn and Spa
Located in the idyllic town of Washington in Connecticut, Grace Mayflower Inn & Spa is an exquisite country retreat, nestled in 58 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and woodland. Just two hours’ drive from New York City, it is renowned as one of northeast America’s most distinguished luxury hideaways, offering the perfect accommodation for those looking for a boutique hotel in Connecticut and one of the finest spas in New England.
118 Woodbury Road, Route 47
Washington, Connecticut 06793
Mohonk Mountain House
If you’re looking for a family getaway, the Mohonk Mountain House might be for you. It is a historic hotel that, depending on the time of year, offers many activities including hiking, tennis, lake swimming, ice skating, cross country skiing and horseback riding, They also offer a Kids Club and a “Kids Stay Free” program on specific days throughout the year.
1000 Mountain Rest Road
New Paltz, New York 12561
Mont Tremblant Ski Resort
Mont Tremblant Ski Resort makes for a ski vacation with an international flair. Best of all, you can combine great skiing with site seeing in beautiful Quebec and create a family ski vacation that is a little different from most. There are many ski-in, ski-out hotels and condominiums right on the mountain.
The beautiful island of Nantucket is a wonderful place for a vacation or getaway. If you aren’t staying with friends or renting a house, consider staying at the Wauwinet, a premiere waterfront resort on the island. The Inn offers attractive rooms along with private beach, spa, tennis and fine dining at its Topper’s restaurant. in Nantucket. The Inn’s also has an excellent restaurant called Topper’s.
A weekend or vacation in Newport, Rhode Island is always fun. Depending on your mood, consider staying at the Castle Hill Inn and Resort, which was built in 1874 as a summerhouse and has a variety of accommodations including rooms right on the beach or The Chanler at Cliff Walk, which was voted “one of the 15 best new luxury hotels in the world” by Food & Wine (2003). Your weekend can include a Mansion Tour, Cliff Walk, tennis on the grass courts of the Tennis Hall of Fame and, depending on the time of year, a jazz festival, folk festival or flower show.
Castle Hill Inn & Resort
590 Ocean Drive
Newport, Rhode Island 02840.
The Chanler at Cliff Walk
117 Memorial Boulevard
Newport, Rhode Island 02840
The historic Skytop Lodge, located in the Pocono Mountains, is “fun for little kids.” The Lodge offers a variety of accommodations and a myriad of activities for children and adults during both the winter and summer. It also offers morning and afternoon camps for children ages 4 to 10.
Skytop, Pennsylvania 18357
Many people who go to the Hamptons own a house or rent one, but, if you don’t plan to “summer” there, you might consider spending a weekend either in season or just before or after the season - - such as early fall when pumpkins have replaced corn at the farm stands and the summer crowd has returned home. It is a beautiful part of the world and offers pristine beaches, wine tasting, cycling, kayaking, tennis, great window shopping and fine dining. Consider staying at The Maidstone, a historic Inn which is walking distance to downtown East Hampton.
207 Main Street
East Hampton, New York 11937
The Homestead is America’s oldest destination resort. Located in the mountains of Virginia, the resort is “steeped in the rich and timeless tradition of Southern hospitality” and offers every activity imaginable for adults and children. Take a closer look!
1766 Homestead Drive
Hot Springs, Virginia 22445
Woodstock Inn & Resort
If you’re looking for something to do for a week during the Holidays, consider the Woodstock Inn & Resort. Located in the heart of lovely Woodstock, the Inn offers easy access to skiing at Suicide Six. You can also enjoy a sleigh ride or spend time in the low-key athletic facility that includes tennis courts and an indoor pool. Finally, you can walk to town for dinner and simply enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Fourteen The Green
Woodstock, Vermont 05091-1298
A Bar A Ranch
Plan ahead if you want to stay at the A Bar A Ranch in Wyoming. Families come back year after year and it can be difficult to get a reservation. Located in Encampment, Wyoming, the A Bar A offers simple phone-free cabins, fun riding, great fly fishing and the opportunity to relax. They also have a small pool, one tennis court and a quirky golf course if you can’t leave those clubs at home. Many of the summer staff are college-age men and women (many from the south) who are there to help you with a smile. Finally, the A Bar A offers a camp for kids age four and up.
Encampment, Wyoming 82325
Beaver Creek Resort
Everyone looks for something different in a ski vacation - - some want the best possible skiing, some are there to enjoy the “après-ski”, while others want a good place for their children to learn to ski. Known as a “family friendly resort” Beaver Creek, located in Colorado, has a homey feel and offers a little bit of all of the above. There are many places to stay right on the mountain and the “interactive lodging map” under “travel plans” on Beavercreek.com provides a review of all the options.
Caneel Bay is one of those places honeymooners enjoy and families return to year after year. Located in St. John, Virgin Islands, the resort can be defined as “low key” luxury. It has very nice accommodations and offers everything from tennis to snorkeling to fine dining, but it has purposely eschewed the glitz of some of today’s upscale resorts.
PO Box 720
St John, Virgin Islands, USA 00831-0720
The Coral Beach & Tennis Club
The Coral Beach Club in Bermuda has a feel of old world casual elegance in a beautiful, dramatic setting. While it is well known for its tennis club, it also offers swimming, squash, croquet, snorkeling, and fitness and has reciprocal rights with some of the great golf courses on the Island. Its accommodations range from rooms and suites to cottages. The Club has a membership and members can introduce guests to the Club.
Coral Beach & Tennis Club
P.O. Box PG 200
Paget PGBX, Bermuda
The Gasparilla Inn & Club
The Gasparilla Inn & Club is a great place for a spring break vacation for the family. It is a “classic old Florida resort located on Gasparilla Island on the Gulf of Mexico” and offers golf, cycling, spa, fitness, croquet, boating and tennis.
P.O. Box 1088
500 Palm Avenue
Boca Grande, Florida 22921
The Golden Door
"The Golden Door experience has been designed to empower our guests to reposition themselves at the center of their own lives by tending to their bodies, their minds and their spirits. Here, a hike is as much a rigorous morning exercise as it is a chance to reflect on the day ahead, and a meal is the means by which we learn to satisfy rather than simply feed our hunger."
The Ritz Carlton in Key Biscayne
It’s hard to go wrong with a Ritz Carlson and the Ritz Carlton in Key Biscayne doesn’t disappoint. Key Biscayne is a barrier island east of Miami with beautiful beaches, nature preserves and shopping villages. The Ritz Carlton offers elegant accommodations, two outdoor swimming pools, a fitness center, a large tennis center, a kids recreation program, a variety of excellent dining options and easy access to South Beach and other nearby attractions.
455 Grand Bay Drive
Key Biscayne, Florida 33149
The Tryall Club
Located 12 miles west of Montego Bay in Jamaica, Tryall is a special place. It is a private Club but many members rent their beautiful homes and the rental includes a staff that does the shopping, cooking and cleaning. Many families come back year after year and get to know each other. If you don’t need the space provided by a house, you can also stay in rooms at the “Great House.” The Club has an excellent tennis pro and golf pro and also offers beach swimming and dining.
If you are looking for a great ski vacation with your family, Deer Valley is for you. An easy flight from New York (Delta flies direct to Salt Lake City), Deer Valley is less than 45 minutes from the airport. There are no snowboarders allowed and they have a large number of groomed slopes that are good for children. They also limit the number of skiers during peak times to avoid overcrowding. Consider staying at the Stein Eriksen Lodge, which is nestled "mid" mountain and is considered the premier hotel in the area. You can rent your equipment there, store your skies and boots, which are dried overnight, and enjoy all the convenience of ski in/ski out accomodations. If you want to take advantage of ski school, make reservations well in advance. You can eat a casual cafeteria-style lunch at the Silver Lake Lodge. Other restaurants good for the evening include the Mariposa at Silver Lake Lodge, The Glitretind Restaurant at the Stein Eriksen, the Seafood Buffet at Snow Park Lodge or the the Fireside Dinner at Empire Canyon Lodge.
Stein Eriksen Lodge
7700 Stein Way
Park City Utah 04060
Bayside Travel is a full service travel agency specializing in leisure travel. It has been in business over 55 years and is located in Bronxville NY. The company's travel consultants are experts in the art of travel, and offer their firsthand travel experience to their clients. Through Bayside Travel's membership in Virtuoso, an organization of the top travel agencies, the finest travel providers, and premier destinations in the world, their clients will have the priviledge of receiving exclusive amenities not available to the general public, such as complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, one of a kind shore excursions. Bayside Travel will make a difference in the way you experience travel. Contact one of their consultants today.
69 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, NY 10708
914 833- 8880
Let me tell you a little bit about Herzerl Tours and then you will agree that we are a very good choice for tours to Austria, Northern Italy, Germany and Switzerland !
We believe in doing tours to places that we know well - have lived there or visited there - so that we can give our clients the best for their money.
Susanne Servin, owner of Herzerl Tours is a native of Vienna, Austria; she has lived in Europe and traveled there extensively. She started her company to share her experiences with Americans by taking them to tour her birthplace and other favorite spots of hers.
Herzerl Tours Philosophy: we offer destinations that are very well known to us -where we have stayed and know the people- the owners, chefs, vintners and guides etc. personally.We only organize small, intimate tour groups (or mini groups / FIT's) to enable personal contact such as the use of traditional public transportation as much as possible, meeting and talking with locals (most of whom speak some English), listening to their music; learning to cook the local cuisine and pairing it with local wines, eating in typical restaurants - avoiding the known "touristy" venues. This will give the tour participants a chance to find out what the country of their choice is really all about.
Susanne Marie Servin
Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc.
Headquartered in New York City, with an international client base and offices nationwide, Valerie Wilson Travel offers its clients first-hand knowledge and dedicated service. The company is owned by a Bronxville family and has a network of 315+ highly specialized Travel Advisors and Associate Agents who each bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the company and its clients. VWT services a global clientele for both business and personal travel. It handles the travel management needs for companies and organizations in a diverse array of industries, from fashion and finance to publishing and pharmaceuticals.
605 Third Avenue
New York, New York 10158
Grace Farms is a place for “people to experience nature, the arts, justice, community and faith in New Canaan, CT. It’s a really fun day trip where you can spend time in a beautiful, peaceful environment and enjoy a casual lunch in the café. Kids can enjoy kicking around a ball on the field or playing basketball at the beautiful indoor court. Or just enjoy reading a book in the beautiful library.
365 Lukes Wood Road
New Canaan, CT
The High Line
Urban Adventure! Have you been to the High Line yet? It is the park located on Manhattan's West Side that runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues. It is a fun place to see and a nice place to take a walk before dinner at one of the many cool meatpacking district restaurants! They have ongoing events. Click here to learn more. http://www.thehighline.org/
Hike Leatherman's Loop in the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation Plus Lunch Ideas
NOTHING LIKE A GREAT HIKE AND A GREAT OUTING RIGHT IN OUR BACKYARD! There is a beautiful hike called the Leatherman's Loop within the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. It brings you up to Point Lookout with an incredible view over the Cross River Reservoir. Pick up a trial map at the entrance. Bring a picnic or go for a morning hike then hop back in your car and continue south on Rt. 121, for approx. 2 or 3 miles, to Richard Gere's restaurant Bedford Post for lunch.....very nice and casual hiking clothes are fine.
Katonah Museum of Art Plus Lunch Ideas
There are always great exhibits the Katonah Museum of Art called Mapping: Memory and Motion in Contemporary Art. This museum is a gem! Closed Mondays. Fun learning center for kids. Click here for more information. http://www.katonahmuseum.org/
Have lunch in Katonah (right out of driveway and immediate left on Jay Street) at The Blue Dolphin Diner (Great Italian) or Willy Nicks (American).
From the Museum you can also easily get to Bedford Post.
Pepsico Sculpture Gardens
These beautiful gardens and open space are a great place to go for a lovely walk with the family. The sculpture collection was started in 1965 and consists of works by major twentieth century artists. Individuals are welcome to enjoy the gardens and sculptures Saturday and Sunday 10am to 4pm.
700 Anderson Hill Rd.
Purchase, NY 10577