March 2016

THE WORLD’S BEST BEACH TOWN

[JOSE IGNACIO, URUGUAY]  — That’s right, this might be it. This is my favorite place to be in this world. About a half hour north of the Miami-like Punta del Este is a small peninsula that juts just right out into the ocean. Surrounded on three sides by beaches, Jose Ignacio is the definition of “rustic elegance”. A sleepy town most of the year, it may have the shortest high season on earth, lasting last just weeks and starting, exactly on the day after Christmas. Like locusts that all come out of the ground on a single day, on December 26th, the sleepy town comes alive as the world’s wealthy descend from Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Greenwich, France and Italy. Seriously, you’ve never seen so many

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THIS MAY BE THE BEST RESTAURANT IN THE WORLD (I’M NOT ALONE ON THIS..)

[JOSE IGNACIO, URUGUAY] — It’s 3pm, the day after Christmas. It’s 82 degrees and sunny, with a light breeze gently flapping the white canvas awnings, fanning the cool shade underneath. The place is packed, everyone’s knee-to-knee. Cool pitchers of Clerico — the local Uruguayan version of a white sangria — are flowing past above the heads of the crowd, headed toward an antsy, thirsty table. There’s a DJ tucked in the back, but affecting moods in the front; like the breeze, causing everyone to gently sway along with him in a cool, mellow vibe. The smell of woodsmoke wafts out onto the beach. The best smell there is. Large wood cutting boards burdened with a grilled whole smiling fish swim by, browned at the edges, flaky

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A RESTAURANT LIT ONLY BY THE STARS, FIRE AND CANDLES

[JOSE IGNACIO, URUGUAY]  — I was reading in the New York Times about this sweet little under the radar beach town, in Uruguay of all places, and the picture at the top of the article had a photo of one of the most magical restaurants I’ve ever seen.  A restaurant out in the beach bush, sand floors, no roof, open to the stars. Lit only with with candles and fire. All the food, cooked with fire. It was called Marismo. The more I read about this town and about this restaurant, I knew I had to go. So I booked a trip immediately. A restaurant out in the beach bush, sand floors, no roof, open to the stars. Lit only with with candles and fire.

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THE PERFECT LITTLE HOTEL, IN THE PERFECT LITTLE BEACH TOWN

[JOSE IGNACIO, URUGUAY] — The first time I tried to book a room, I got an email back from Jose, the owner, saying “There is no luxury in Jose Ignacio, the roads are unpaved, there is no ATM.  We are just a small place and also not a luxury hotel. There is no restaurant, no room service and no gym.”  That’s when I knew I had to go there. And I’ve been coming back ever since. Posada del Faro is one of my go-to places. I’ve been five times now and each time it is like coming back home. It’s a small place and one of the few hotels in Jose Ignacio. Just a handful of rooms, it books up early and often, and nearly impossible to get into

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A city of reds, ochres, porticos and pork.

[BOLOGNA, ITALY]  — Bologna was about 237th on my list of places I wanted to visit, but when a Rome school buddy of mine suggested we meet there to eat, I jumped at the chance. Man oh man what a gorgeous city. Almost every block is covered with some sort of portico, centuries old. I was there in October, so the warm autumn sunlight weighed heavy on all the nooks and crannies of the city. Each corner revealing some beautiful hue of red, with the perfect patina. You walk around the corner and BOOM, another amazing palette of colors.  And the reflected light gave off a glow that washed the whole city in red. There’s reason why Italians have always called Bologna “La Rossa” (The Red

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A PERFECT TWO WEEKS IN MOROCCO

Here’s a quiet little video summary I made of a fabulous two week trip in Morocco in April 2015. I tried to capture the sights, sounds and incomparable experiences of all of Morocco.  Marrakesh, the High Atlas Mountains, the desert oasis of Skoura and camping in the Sahara.   If you want more detailed information of all the sights in this video, check out the Morocco page on my website. Lots of great pictures, information, maps and links to other resources to help you plan your trip. Of course, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below.  

A WEEK OF SAILING THROUGH CROATIA’S DALMATIAN COAST

[DALMATIAN COAST, CROATIA] — Highly recommend you try and swing a sailboat charter in Croatia. You can backpack or ferry between islands, but having your own steam allows you to duck in and out of the thousands of islands along the Dalmatian coast. These pics are a companion post to my boat pics, following along our route chronologically so you can get a feel for how you can visit a completely different place every single day, without leaving your boat. You pick up your boat in the surprisingly cool Split, then poke your way amidst the islands towards Dubrovnik. The itinerary is your own. Only a start and end date. The rest is up to you. You can get a boat of virtually any size to match

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TOUR CROATIA IN STYLE ON YOUR OWN 100FT TURKISH GULET

[SPLIT, CROATIA] — I knew she would be big. I had no idea she’d be THIS big. It was the pictures that got me first. Our awesome travel agent Ginny had been sending me pics of boats all over. “We want something cool” I’d said, these are my best friends. “Can you find a Turkish gulet in Croatia?” I’d seen gulets in Greece, so much better than a typical sailboat. I liked how they’re all built around a big broad dining table straddling across the back, not everyone scrunched in a tight cockpit all the time. There were only a few gulets in Croatia, she found: Awesome boat. Awesome boat. “But THIS one…” Ginny teased. “Oh.My.God.” I became That Guy, the one who talked 11

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A YEAR ROUND COLORADO RANCH IN GRAND COUNTY

[TABERNASH, COLORADO] — If you’re looking for a Colorado ranch getaway, away from the slopes, but close enough, Devil’s Thumb Ranch is what you’re looking for. Outside the ski resort of Winter Park and just past the little town of Tabernash, Devil’s Thumb is setup to be its own self-contained year-round mountain resort. Focused in winter on the 100km of groomed cross-country ski trails, spa and other cold activities. There’s 100km of groomed cross-country ski trails like this at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, weaving in and around 6,000 glorious acres on a big ranch not far from the Continental Divide* in Colorado. At 8,500ft (2,600m) elevation you not only see your breath, but breathlessly feel it too, under the big bluebird sky. You can scoot and

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FOLLOWING THE GREAT MIGRATION OF THE SANDHILL CRANES

[KEARNEY, NEBRASKA] — When you first get to the river, it’s 6am and pitch black. You feel your way down a path, heading toward The Noise. You want to get there before they see you coming. Slowly, the shrieks get louder and louder as the first light slowly begins to open its eyes. Suddenly, you start to make out shapes stepping out of the darkness. Big dark masses grow more detailed the lighter it gets. What you thought was an island or sandbar is actually a throbbing, humming mass of birddom. And they suddenly appear out of the darkness, like the invasion of Normandy on DDay. Hundreds of thousands of them, nearly covering the shallow river from shore to shore. We wait while the first pilot

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DISCOVER THE HIDDEN WEST COAST OF TUSCANY

[MONTE ARGENTARIO | MAREMMA, TUSCANY] — Maremma is the southern edge of Tuscany and goes from the hilly and ferrous inland to the varyingly wild-horse-roaming, swampy and rocky coast. A lot of people just hang out in eastern Tuscany — what Conde Nast Traveller funnily dubbed Chiantishire — and don’t know much about “Hidden Tuscany”, the underdeveloped and handsomely rugged western side. Where we’re going now is Monte Argentario, once an island, but like my stomach, grew beyond its britches, loosened the top button and is now double-belted to the shore. Go check it out on google maps. Some call Monte Argentario the Capri of Tuscany, but I think it is more of its own special thing, much much mellower, less crowded and more treed. Long

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TAKE A DIP IN HOT SPRINGS IN WILD WESTERN TUSCANY

  [SATURNIA, TUSCANY] — Just a few miles from Pitigliano is a cool sulfur hot springs called Saturnia.  Just a nice little natural stop to have lunch among all the undiscovered hill towns of Maremma.  It’s not much more than a slit in the earth on the side of the road, but it is still cool. If you want a fancier spa-like experience, check out the Terme di Saturnia resort a few blocks up the road. The springs date back to the Pelasgi, who were before the Greeks, before the Etruscans and waaay before the Romans finally hung out here in 200BC or so. So like me, the springs are very old but dependable, bubbly and naturally effervescent. 😜   Last visited October 2012      

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THE PERFECT TUSCAN HILL TOWN, CARVED OUT OF TUFA

[PITIGLIANO, MAREMMA TUSCANY] — One of the great medieval hill towns of Maremma in western Tuscany is the quiet little town of Pitigliano.  Not overly crowded, no cars in the city center, it’s a great town to stop in for a walk ’round and have a nice long lunch. Here’s a great guide that says it better than I could. View Larger Map

A QUIET PARADISE AT THE END OF THE ROAD TO HANA

[HANA, MAUI] — I was in Maui in 2015, the week before Thanksgiving scoping out a new project and got a chance to stay at the cool Travaasa experiential resort on the totally chill side of the island, at the receiving end of the Road to Hana. A lot of people take the white-knuckle drive, turn around and drive back the same day. But Hana is a world away from the Resort Crazy, white sock/white sneakers and muscle shirts (when did those come back in style? And why?) at the other end of the island. This is the way to do it. I love me some nice hotels and seek them out all over, but few can compare with the views of these bungalows, smack overlooking

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FLY IN A GLIDER OVER A HAWAIIAN VOLCANO

[HANA, MAUI] — I was scoping out a project in Hawaii and stayed at Travaasa, a new experiential hotel brand with an amazing location in Austin and a second here, in Hana. I’m not a big fan of all the high-rise hotels in the crowded parts of Maui, but this place is much, much different. Travaasa is an “experiential resort” so they do cool stuff beyond having the best spa in Hawaii. Besides free yoga and a killer workout space overlooking the sea, there are lessons on Hawaiian throw net fishing, outrigger canoeing, culinary classes, horseback riding and a dozen other cool experiences. In addition to geeking out over pools and nice hotels, I’m completely OBSESSED with flying, so what got me was the glider experience, long

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