8 Places to Go in 2018: A Destination Gift Guide with Tradewind

8 Places to Go in 2018: A Destination Gift Guide with Tradewind

For the travel enthusiast in your life, memorable gifts are less about the materials and more about the experiences. Hence why this holiday season, we are proposing eight inspiring trips to surprise your family and friends as alternatives to material items.

Whether you are searching for a gift for a loved one or making your own holiday wishlist, here are our top choices for discerning travelers in the coming year:

Nevis

Photo: Don Riddle / Four Seasons

Photo: Don Riddle / Four Seasons

Miles of secluded beaches, lush rainforest, and centuries-old plantations and sugar mills set the stage for a relaxing getaway on the island of Nevis. Abundant in natural beauty, the Caribbean destination has much to offer from snorkeling the vibrant reefs of Herbert’s Beach to visiting the beloved hot springs of Bath Village.

Plan to stay at the five-star Four Seasons Resort Nevis, the romantic Montpelier Plantation, or Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, the Caribbean’s only historic plantation inn on the beach. For exquisite cuisine, Bananas Bistro & Art Gallery provides a charming garden setting near the ruins of the Hamilton Estate sugar plantation, while Coconut Grove offers a local, sustainable menu and Wine Spectator award-winning wine list.

How to Get There: Fly Tradewind’s scheduled shuttle to Vance W. Amory International Airport (NEV).

Stowe

Photo: Stowe Mountain Resort

Photo: Stowe Mountain Resort

Fresh powder and world-class skiing await this winter in Stowe, one of the most acclaimed ski destinations in the Northeast offering 40 miles of beginner-to-expert trails. Stowe Mountain Resort’s Mt. Mansfield is the highest mountain in Vermont at 4,395 feet and home to the renowned Front Four double-black diamonds.

After a day on the slopes, retreat to luxurious accommodations at Stowe Mountain Lodge, the only ski-in, ski-out resort in Stowe, then partake in winter favorites from ice skating to snowshoeing. Should your visit fall during January or February, check out the family-friendly Stowe Winter Carnival or the Stowe Derby, the oldest downhill ski race in North America.

How to Get There: Fly Tradewind’s scheduled shuttle to Morrisville-Stowe State Airport (MVL) from mid-December through March.

Bluffton

Photo: Montage Palmetto Bluff

Photo: Montage Palmetto Bluff

In the heart of the South Carolina Lowcountry, Bluffton’s Montage Palmetto Bluff spans 20,000 acres along the May River, encompassing a verdant nature preserve, walking trails, a marina, and a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course. Stay in Southern-style accommodations ranging from elegant guestrooms to entire village homes, and enjoy an array of activities from horseback riding to clay shooting. On the water, you can fly fish for redfish, paddleboard, or explore the marshlands by boat. And at just 30 minutes away each, Hilton Head and Savannah beckon.

How to Get There: Charter a flight with Tradewind to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) or Hilton Head Island Airport (HXD).

St. Barth

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In the wake of Hurricane Irma, St. Barth has experienced an incredible revitalization. Restaurants and boutiques have reopened, beaches like Colombier have returned to their natural states, and annual events like the St Barths Bucket Regatta and Les Voiles de Saint-Barth are scheduled to go on as planned. There’s no need to be wary of planning a trip. In fact, tourism is essential to recovery, and the best thing you can do to help the island is to visit.

Most of St. Barth’s luxury hotels are slated to reopen in summer of 2018, so you should reserve your stay in one of the island’s exquisite villas – from expansive beachfront estates to intimate retreats tucked among the hills. Le Tamarin with its lovely garden and Jean Claude Dufour’s L’Esprit are both open, and Bonito is expected to welcome guests again by early 2018. Although recovery is ongoing, the island still offers the same stylish exclusivity that longtime visitors have come to love.

How to Get There: Fly Tradewind’s scheduled shuttle to Gustaf III Airport (SBH).

Asheville

Photo: Omni Grove Park Inn

Photo: Omni Grove Park Inn

Tucked among the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina, Asheville is an elegant mountain getaway with a vibrant arts and restaurant scene. Miles of hiking trails leading to rushing waterfalls and scenic overlooks surround the city, while downtown and in the eclectic new River Arts District, you can find sculpture and painting galleries alongside farm-to-table dining experiences, breweries, and quirky live music venues.

Stay at the authentic Omni Grove Park Inn, built in 1913 on the western slope of Sunset Mountain, and dine on local, sustainable cuisine at chic eateries like Nightbell, Zambra, and Posana. Before your trip comes to a close, make time to visit the immense Biltmore House, a 175,000-square-foot French Renaissance-style home built in 1895 by George Vanderbilt.

How to Get There: Charter a flight with Tradewind to Asheville Regional Airport (AVL).

Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket

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Though traditionally regarded as summer destinations, Massachusetts’ iconic islands are peaceful, welcoming respites even during the cooler months. Plan a winter getaway filled with long walks on windswept coastlines, uncrowded dining experiences, and leisurely shopping.

On Martha’s Vineyard, Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company and the Scottish Bakehouse are just a few of the restaurants that remain open year-round. You can find live music at The Wharf, and for shopping, head to Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks, Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, and Tuck & Holand Metal Sculptors – renowned for their weathervanes that have been designed for the likes of Steven Spielberg.

To the east, Nantucket welcomes visitors with snow-covered beaches and a harbor often completely covered in glistening ice. Visit Sankaty Lighthouse on the beach, the Dreamland Theater for movies and theatrical performances, and Cisco Brewers for local craft beer.

How to Get There: For trips in early 2018, charter a flight with Tradewind to Martha’s Vineyard Airport (MVY) or Nantucket Memorial Airport (ACK). Tradewind’s scheduled shuttles begin in May for Martha’s Vineyard and April for Nantucket.

Antigua

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One of the Caribbean’s top boating destinations, Antigua is home to endless stretches of white sand and turquoise waters with an estimated 365 beaches. Shorelines like Jolly Beach (among the widest on the island) and Half Moon Bay (an isolated snorkeling destination) tempt beachgoers, and weekly boat races and annual regattas like the spring Sailing Week draw experienced sailors from all over the world.

While the neighboring island of Barbuda was decimated by Hurricane Irma, Antigua was spared the worst of the storm. Luxury hotels like Jumby Bay Island, Carlisle Bay, and Hermitage Bay are open, along with exquisite restaurants from the oceanfront Catherine’s Café to the clifftop Sheer Rocks.

How to Get There: Fly Tradewind’s scheduled shuttle to V.C. Bird International Airport (ANU).

Fisher Island

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Located three miles from mainland Miami, Fisher Island is an exclusive enclave for residents and few visitors that was once the home of the Vanderbilts. The destination is awash with exquisite, Spanish-style architecture from the residential mansions and apartments to the luxurious Fisher Island Club, the island’s only hotel. Reserve a room amid a lush, tropical landscape to enjoy the hotel’s beach club and marina, world-class spa, and seaside golf course with views of the Miami skyline.

How to Get There: Charter a flight with Tradewind to Miami International Airport (MIA).

 

*Featured Image: Starus

Boston: America’s New Foodie Destination

Boston: America’s New Foodie Destination

In a plot twist we never saw coming, old-fashioned Boston is earning destination status as a new-fashioned, culinary hotspot. As part of its evolution into a true metropolis, the New England capital has solidified a star role in the global foodie movement with a surge in new, chef-driven restaurants helmed by both established and rising talent. From a pan-Asian restaurant by Top Chef royalty to a fast-casual seafood eatery by James Beard award-winning chefs, here are some of the places throwing a Red Sox’s curve ball into Boston’s formerly predictable restaurant scene.

Tiger Mama

Photo: Tiger Mama

Photo: Tiger Mama

At her uber-popular pan-Asian restaurant, Top Chef alum Tiffani Faison, who trained under Todd English, wows with small plates inspired by her personal travels throughout Southeast Asia. Neon lights, a massive mosaic elephant, and a jungle chic setting replete with lush gardens lend to a fun and festive atmosphere for an eclectic, gastronomic voyage through Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore. You really can’t go wrong with any dish, but don’t pass up an opportunity to try the crispy blowfish with sherried black bean sauce or Faison’s sweet-and-savory, modern take on Pad Thai.

www.tigermamaboston.com

Bar Mezzana

Photo: Andrea Merrill

Photo: Andrea Merrill

After three decades working under celebrity chef Barbara Lynch and her eponymous restaurant group, Chef Colin Lynch (no relation to Barbara) and two of his colleagues branched off in 2016 to open their own coastal Italian restaurant. Specializing in seasonal crudo dishes, generously topped crostini, and handmade pastas, Bar Mezzana impresses with its fresh—and delicious—simplicity. Add to the mix a snazzy mid-century modernist design, a superbly curated wine list, and Italian cocktails perfected, and you have a winning recipe for one of the city’s hottest tables.

www.barmezzana.com

Eventide Fenway

Photo: Zack Bowen of Knack Factory

Photo: Zack Bowen of Knack Factory

2017 James Beard Foundation award-winners Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley bring a fast-casual version of their iconic Portland, Maine-based Eventide Oyster Co. to Boston’s burgeoning Fenway neighborhood. Step up to the counter and order from a menu board which features many of the original’s top—and best—items, including the Eventide Brown Butter Lobster Roll™, the tuna crudo with ginger-scallion, tare, and radish, and local oysters on the half-shell.

www.eventideoysterco.com/eventide-fenway 

Bastille Kitchen

Photo: Bastille Kitchen

Photo: Bastille Kitchen

In September 2017, Executive Chef Brendan Burke was tapped to revamp and reinvent the menu at French-inspired Bastille Kitchen in Boston’s trendy Fort Point neighborhood. Mission accomplished—and in a major way. Look forward to Burke’s iteration of Parisian-style gnocchi (tossed with fresh crab, sweet potato, and baby Brussels sprouts), dreamy black truffle and mushroom duxelles flatbread, and almond-crusted halibut on a bed of fresh corn and baby lima bean succotash.

www.bastillekitchen.net

Strip by Strega

Photo: Benjamin Joel

Photo: Benjamin Joel

Dress to impress at this celebrity-frequented, modern Italian steakhouse, where Boston’s calorie-conscious ‘in’ crowd unapologetically feasts on a menu that includes house-made ricotta with honey, truffle butter-basted prime cuts, 3-pound lobsters with bacon and goat cheese, and twice-baked potatoes. The dimly lit, seductive dining room—anchored by white leather, semi-circular booths and celebrity black-and-white photos—oozes a decidedly Vegas nightlife vibe, and unsurprisingly, dinner typically evolves into a wild, all-night affair.

www.stripbystregaboston.com

Bar Boulud

 

Photo: Mandarin Oriental, Boston

Photo: Mandarin Oriental, Boston

At the Boston outpost of his famed bistro and wine bar, celebrity Chef Daniel Boulud mingles traditional French fare with New England’s prolific farm-to-table assets and ocean-to-table riches on a menu that changes seasonally. In fall, for example, indulge in the likes of duck confit with Lyonnaise potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and huckleberry, followed by a dessert of maple pear coupe (whole, spice poached pears, biscoff crunch, and maple foam).

www.barboulud.com

Row 34

Photo: Morgan Yeager

Photo: Morgan Yeager

Boston’s seafood dream team—oyster farmer Skip Bennett, chef Jeremy Sewall, and restaurateurs Garrett Harker and Shore Gregory—take us on an unforgettable epicurean journey under the sea at this much-buzzed-about restaurant. Sip on craft beer and savor a lobster roll, piled high (with thick, hand cut fries, no less), after polishing off a half-dozen of the restaurant’s namesake oysters—the most mature bivalves from Bennett’s Island Creek Oyster Farm in Duxbury Bay, positioned along the 34th row of cages onward.

www.row34.com

Doretta Taverna

Photo: Doretta Taverna

Photo: Doretta Taverna

James Beard award-winner Chef Michael Schlow and chef de cuisine Brendan Pelley bring the sublime flavors of Greece to life at this lively Back Bay restaurant. From its bustling kitchen, Doretta delivers hearty plates of cold mezze (we recommend the spicy whipped feta and smoked eggplant), hot mezze (don’t miss the baklava-inspired, pan-roasted shrimp with honey), and even larger mains such as the fresh whole Mediterranean Sea Bass, served with red quinoa, ouzo fennel, and roasted peppers.

www.dorettaboston.com

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Fly into Boston with Tradewind’s regularly scheduled shuttles, offering four daily flights Monday through Friday from New York (White Plains).

 

*Featured Image: Bar Mezzana via Brian Samuels

Ski the East: A Guide to New England Resorts

Ski the East: A Guide to New England Resorts

Fresh powder and challenging terrain are not reserved solely for the West. With inspiring natural landscapes and impeccable snowmaking and grooming techniques, Eastern mountains have given rise to the some of the best competitive skiers and snowboarders in the world.

Below are six resorts that define skiing in the East, organized by category from family-friendly retreats to the best in expert trails. All are easily accessible when you fly Tradewind with private charters or regularly scheduled shuttle flights in the Northeast.

Sustained Vertical: Stowe Mountain Resort

Photo: Stowe Mountain Resort

Photo: Stowe Mountain Resort

Regularly named the best ski resort in the East, Stowe Mountain Resort stands out from the region’s more stepped mountains with a sustained vertical. 40 miles of ski trails and 12 high-speed lifts – including more mile-long lifts than any other Eastern ski resort – are headlined by the Front Four, a group of steep double-black diamonds (National, Liftline, Starr, and Goat) that really allow you to feel gravity as you descend Mt. Mansfield.

“Better skiers tend to enjoy the terrain more,” says Doug Veliko, Chief of Stowe Mountain Rescue. “There are parts of the mountain where the novice can be perfectly comfortable, but to fully enjoy the mountain, you’ve got to be in good shape.”

Stowe Mountain Resort is now part of the Epic Pass; read all about it in Goodspeed Magazine

Where to Stay: Stowe Mountain Lodge provides luxury accommodations, spa experiences, and activities from sleigh rides to snowmobiling as the mountain’s only ski-in, ski-out resort.

How to Get There: Fly Tradewind’s scheduled shuttle to Morrisville-Stowe State Airport (MVL).

Family Getaway: Smugglers’ Notch

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Affectionately known as Smuggs, Smugglers’ Notch in the same mountain range as Stowe is the place for families to enjoy extensive children’s programs and a diverse network of trails for all skill levels. “As a family resort, Smugglers’ Notch is fantastic,” says Veliko. “They have a wealth of really good intermediate terrain and a great ski school program.”

Morse Mountain offers easy slopes for learning, while a scenic lift ride to the top of Madonna will reveal more advanced terrain at nearly the same elevation as Mt. Mansfield’s lifts. (It is there where you can also find the only triple-black diamond trail in Vermont.) Off the slopes, partake in snow tubing, ice skating, and snowshoeing with the entire family.

Where to Stay: There are cozy, family-style accommodations right at Smuggs in the resort’s five distinct condominium communities.

How to Get There: Fly Tradewind’s scheduled shuttle to Morrisville-Stowe State Airport (MVL), located about 30 minutes from the resort.

Challenging Terrain: Whiteface Mountain

Photo: ORDA / Whiteface Lake Placid

Photo: ORDA / Whiteface Lake Placid

Spanning 288 acres in New York’s Adirondacks, Whiteface Mountain is known for its rugged intermediate and expert terrain. Skyward and Paron’s Run offer spectacular views from Whiteface Summit and thrilling, technical rides, while Wilmington takes you down 2.1 miles of mountain in the longest single intermediate run in the Northeast. Nearby, the town of Lake Placid has wonderful off-hill activities including bobsledding, ice hockey, and Nordic skiing at the Olympic venue Mt. Van Hoevenberg.

Where to Stay: The Whiteface Lodge offers a luxurious stay amidst the woodlands surrounding Lake Placid, while Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa sits directly on the water.

How to Get There: Charter a flight with Tradewind to Lake Placid Airport (LKP).

Fresh Powder: Jay Peak

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349 inches of average annual snowfall make Jay Peak one of the best destinations in the East for powder (and one of Veliko’s personal favorites). Located in Vermont near the Canadian border, the isolated northern resort is famous for great tree skiing, encouraging skiers and snowboarders to get off the beaten track of its 78 diverse trails. “The mountain is laid out quite nicely,” says Veliko, “and they get really good, consistent snowpack up there.”

Where to Stay: Discover The Pump House Indoor Waterpark at Hotel Jay, or take in the impressive design of Tram Haus Lodge, built with locally crafted materials. The lodges offer easy access to the resort’s championship golf course, hockey rink, and the nearby slopes.

How to Get There: Fly Tradewind’s scheduled shuttle to Morrisville-Stowe State Airport (MVL), located about 45 minutes from the resort.

Après Ski: Killington

Killington lives up to its nickname as the Beast of the East with an impressive 1,509 acres of skiable terrain across six peaks. Consistently great conditions and accessibility make the resort a popular retreat, but you can easily escape the crowds by cutting over to Outer Limits or taking a break in the après ski scene for which the destination is known.

Despite its location between two sleepy Vermont towns, Killington has more than 100 restaurants, bars, and shops near the slopes, making for lively entertainment during a midday break or well into the night. Check out Lookout Tavern for casual light bites or The Foundry at Summit Pond for exquisite entrées like arctic char and rack of lamb.

Where to Stay: The Red Clover Inn provides a picturesque setting and locally sourced cuisine just minutes from the mountain.

How to Get There: Charter a flight with Tradewind to Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport (RUT), located about 30 minutes from the resort.

Cross Country Skiing: Acadia National Park

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Snow-covered trees and spectacular vistas of the wintery Atlantic coastline await in Acadia National Park. The beautiful Maine destination has incredible scenery year-round, but during the winter, you can explore some of the park’s 47,000 acres with 45 miles of groomed roads for cross-country skiing.

Where to Stay: Check into Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina or West Street Hotel in Bar Harbor for close proximity to Acadia National Park. Just minutes from the park, the coastal town is renowned for its fresh-off-the-boat lobster and outdoor experiences.

How to Get There: Charter a flight with Tradewind to the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport (BHB).

 

*Featured Image: Stowe Mountain Resort

A Craft Brewery Tour of Stowe, Vermont

A Craft Brewery Tour of Stowe, Vermont

Widely regarded among the top craft brewing destinations in the world, the Green Mountain State brims with crisp lagers and full-bodied ales inspired by the outdoor New England lifestyle. Some of its best can be found in and around Stowe, where you can also indulge in world-class skiing each winter and a spectrum of vibrant fall colors when the leaves change.

Here are some of our favorite breweries within 45 minutes of Stowe – all easily accessible when you fly Tradewind aboard regularly scheduled shuttle flights in the Northeast or private charters. In-flight, enjoy a memorable selection of Vermont craft beers.

Lost Nation Brewing

Morrisville, Vermont

Photo: Lost Nation Brewing

Photo: Lost Nation Brewing

Nine miles north of Stowe and just five minutes from the Morrisville-Stowe Airport, Lost Nation Brewing in Morrisville is home to exceptional year-round brews with clean flavor profiles like the smooth and malty Rustic Ale, the Pitch Black Ale with subtle notes of smoke and roast, and the crisp Mosaic IPA. Life in Vermont, combined with lesser-known European styles, is the inspiration for these brewers, who have one guiding mission: producing honest beer.

Read our interview with Lost Nation's co-brewmasters, Allen Van Anda and Jamie Griffith, in Goodspeed Magazine.  

Rock Art Brewery

Morrisville, Vermont

Photo: Rock Art Brewery

Photo: Rock Art Brewery

The first solar-powered brewery in Vermont is Rock Art, an environmentally-conscious micro-brewery and tasting room that highlights original flavors on eight rotating taps. Find your seat in the viewing room to watch the brewing process, or take home a few of the signature 22-ounce bottles with the Kokopelli logo. Some local favorites include the Vermonster barleywine, the Ridge Runner double IPA, and the Sun Rocked IPA – a citrus-packed beer with hints of pine and grapefruit that is the brewery’s first to be made entirely with solar power.

Idletyme Brewing Company

Stowe, Vermont

Photo: Oliver Parini via Idletyme Brewing Company

Photo: Oliver Parini via Idletyme Brewing Company

Set in an 1830s building that has been home to classic Stowe establishments like a cider mill and a beloved local restaurant, Idletyme Brewing Company is a European-inspired brewery led by Brewmaster Will Gilson. Acclaimed creations like the English Brown Ale, Danube Blueberry Hefeweizen, and Idletyme Double IPA combine classic brewing techniques with Vermont hop culture, and they pair beautifully with refined comfort food like the Truffle Mac-N-Cheese.

The Alchemist

Stowe, Vermont

Photo: Danielle Visco/LuvLens Photography via The Alchemist

Photo: Danielle Visco/LuvLens Photography via The Alchemist

Fresh, unfiltered IPAs have built a cult-like following around The Alchemist, located just around the corner from Idletyme. The family-run brewery first opened in Waterbury in 2003 (where they still brew the nationally renowned IPA Heady Topper, an American double) and added a second, low-impact location in Stowe last year. Try the brewed-on-site Focal Banger American IPA or one of an array of rotating seasonal beers.

von Trapp Brewing

Stowe, Vermont

Photo: von Trapp Brewing

Photo: von Trapp Brewing

After two decades of dreaming about an Austrian-style brewery, Johannes von Trapp opened von Trapp Brewing at the Trapp Family Lodge in 2010. A passion for clean Austrian lagers and a love of Vermont contribute to brews like the Vienna Style Lager (amber), Kölsch Style German (hoppy summer session ale), and Dunkel Lager (roasted brown with a creamy, toffee aroma). Sip your beer of choice with kebabs or chicken schnitzel from von Trapp Brewing Bierhall Restaurant, where many of the Austrian entrées are prepared on the wood-fired Parrilla grill.

Burlington Beer Company

Williston, Vermont

Located on the edge of Burlington, Vermont’s vibrant lakeside city, Burlington Beer Company finds the balance between tradition and innovation with new takes on classic styles. Owner Joe Lemnah brewed more than 200 batches of home brew – while working in acclaimed breweries like Dogfish Head Brewing Co. – before opening the locals’ favorite in 2014. The menu features standouts like the Peasant Bread dry-hopped brown ale made with wild rice and the Barista coffee porter.

Magic Hat Brewing Company

Burlington, Vermont

Photo: Magic Hat Brewing Company

Photo: Magic Hat Brewing Company

There’s more to Magic Hat Brewing Company than its ever-popular #9 ale, renowned nationwide for its dry, crisp, and refreshing flavor. Also try one of 15 brews on draft like the Circus Boy hefeweizen or the Low Key session IPA, along with an ever-changing lineup of small-batch and seasonal selections. Ingredients from local purveyors are highlighted on the casual-but-singular menu, which includes artisanal cheese plates and one-of-a-kind grilled sandwiches.

Zero Gravity Craft Brewery

Burlington, Vermont

Photo: Zero Gravity Craft Brewery

Photo: Zero Gravity Craft Brewery

A sun-drenched beer garden is the design highlight of Zero Gravity Craft Brewery, where you can sip balanced beers like the Green State Lager pilsner, Conehead IPA, and Leipzig-style Gose outdoors. The South End Arts District brewery actually got its start in 2004 inside American Flatbread Burlington Hearth, today known as Flatbread Brewpub (where 18 Zero Gravity beers are on tap and flatbreads are baked with local ingredients in a wood-fired, clay-domed oven built by the owners of both establishments). The new location opened in 2015 and is home to the brewery’s barrel-aging program led by talented Brewmaster Paul Sayler.

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Still can’t get enough? Continue your brewery tour of the Stowe area at up-and-coming breweries like Foam Brewers and Hill Farmstead Brewery, each of which offer one-of-a-kind, craft experiences to round out your taste of Vermont.

*Featured Image: Zero Gravity Craft Brewery

In Search of New England’s Best Clam Chowder

In Search of New England’s Best Clam Chowder

A rich, creamy bowl of New England clam chowder is essential to winter in the Northeast. So with the season nearly upon us, we set out in search of the region’s best, from light broths filled with briny flavor to thick, velvety chowders perfect for warming up in the New England cold.

Here are the winners, all easily accessible when traveling with Tradewind’s regularly scheduled shuttle flights to destinations in the Northeast, as well as private charters.

Neptune Oyster

63 Salem Street, Boston

On the edge of Boston’s North End, the intimate dining room at Neptune Oyster is the perfect hideaway from the cold weather. Although the elegant seafood restaurant is best known for its oysters, which we highly recommend, it is the light and creamy Wellfleet Clam Chowder that attracts the winter diner. Made-to-order with pink cherrystone clams, salt pork, and heaps of potatoes, the fresh, flavorful chowder is filling enough on its own – but not so heavy that you can’t enjoy an oyster or two on the side.

Because Neptune is always packed, you will want to call ahead for both lunch and dinner then take a stroll around the North End until your space is ready. Try to sit at the wraparound marble bar if possible as it overlooks the oyster shucking.

Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company

9 Oak Bluffs Avenue, Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard

Not only does Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company have some of the best clam chowder around, it is also regularly named the number one restaurant on the island. The award-winning Martha’s Vineyard Clam Chowder – rated Best Chowder for five years running by both Cape Cod Life magazine and Martha’s Vineyard Magazine – headlines an incredible selection of fresh, local seafood.

The savory dish is thinner than your typical New England clam chowder but absolutely filled with flavor. Made from scratch daily and gluten free, it contains hearty chunks of clams and potatoes, just the right seasoning, and a topping of classic oyster crackers. You can get yours in a cup or bowl to enjoy with a regional craft beer from one of 15 taps. The restaurant is also open year-round – a rarity on the island.

Legal Sea Foods

Photo: Legal Sea Foods

Photo: Legal Sea Foods

255 State Street, Boston and locations along the Eastern Seaboard

It doesn’t get more classic than a cup of Legal Sea Foods clam chowder. The traditional recipe filled with tender Cape Cod clams, salt pork, and potatoes has been served at every presidential inauguration since Reagan and is also the clam chowder served at Fenway Park. In the Legal Sea Foods restaurants, it has been on the menu for more than 50 years.

Like the chowder, the family-owned establishment has history, having first opened in 1950 as a fish market in Cambridge. (You can actually check out the Legal Sea Foods history on your placemat if you choose to dine in.) Along with restaurants up and down the East Coast, there are 11 restaurants in Boston alone. We like the Long Wharf location near the aquarium for its modern exhibition-style kitchen, patio, and consistently delicious clam chowder.

Island Creek Oyster Bar

500 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston

When in the mood for a fresh take on New England clam chowder, head to Island Creek Oyster Bar, located just between Fenway Park and Charles River. Blending the fisherman’s lifestyle with casual elegance, the space is a work of art with thousands of oyster shells filling gabion cages along one wall, high ceilings, and stunning statement artwork.

On the seafood-heavy menu, diners will find incredible lobster rolls, an ever-changing raw bar selection, and various fish from grilled Maine salmon to Cape Cod monkfish. But the chowder takes center stage with a unique recipe that features hand-dug clams, house-cured bacon, and actual biscuits on the side. A complex flavor profile favors the heavy, smoky bacon, so purists may want to look elsewhere, but those searching for a one-of-a-kind clam chowder will find what they are looking for at Island Creek.

SeaGrille

45 Sparks Avenue, Nantucket

For the best quahog clam chowder on Nantucket, head just outside of town to SeaGrille, a family-friendly restaurant with a lot of local appeal. Founded in 1991, the cozy eatery has always been known for fresh local and regional seafood like their seafood-packed bouillabaisse as well as an incredible selection of daily homemade pastas and breads.

Chef de Cuisine Tucker Harvey makes the Island Quahog Chowder, a deliciously creamy dish with large chunks of quahog clams and bacon rather than salt pork. The widely recognized chowder owes its flavor to a few key ingredients (Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce, so we hear).

 

*Featured image: Flickr

Jim Remy’s Autumn Golf Tour through Vermont

Jim Remy’s Autumn Golf Tour through Vermont

Written by David Gould, a former Executive Editor of Travel + Leisure Golf who has authored several books on golf history and course architecture.

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On a map of New England you notice Vermont’s silhouette—narrow at the bottom and widening toward the top. That’s how it feels to any fall-foliage seeker motoring north, as the road opens up and the scale of the topography increases. If rather than drive you’ve booked a Tradewind flight—a private charter to the classic Vermont town of Stowe—the sense of anticipation will be similar and your views (from above) naturally grander.

Come autumn, trees and bushes here controvert the Green Mountain State nickname, flaring into yellow, orange, and red. Arriving to view the fiery results are vacationers of every sort, and yet it’s golfers who get the best of it. “Where you want to be is on an elevated tee somewhere along Route 100 in the first week of October,” says Vermont golf expert Jim Remy, “with the maples coming to peak and sunlight flooding the fairways.”

Jim Remy with Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush. Courtesy of The PGA of America.

Jim Remy with Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush. Courtesy of The PGA of America.

Remy was a hotshot ski-racer kid who left his hometown in central Massachusetts after graduation and settled in the Vermont town of Ludlow, working at golf courses in the summer while waiting for the double-diamond trails to turn white again.

Despite not treating golf as his number one sport, Remy honed his game, turned professional, mastered the nuances of the golf business, rose ever higher in his peers’ estimation, and wound up as president of the PGA of America, a massive organization with 27,000 member pros and hundreds of millions in sponsorship contracts to manage. When his years of constant events and travel as a PGA officer ended, Jim was even more of a Vermonter than when he started.

“This is a part of the world where people tend not to overdo things,” Remy explains. “While golf was growing at an unhealthy rate elsewhere, Vermont was adding just the right type of courses and resorts, in just the right locations—mostly up and down Route 100, the old ‘Skier’s Highway.’ ”

Whatever Vermont highway you travel, you may see ‘Moose Crossing’ signs, but you don’t ever see billboards. Likewise, you see very few big-box stores. All part of not overdoing things—commercialism particularly. But the quaint towns come along reliably every 20 minutes or so, with their general stores, craft barns, antique shops, glassblowing studios, wood stove suppliers, and other “country things,” as Robert Frost referred to them.

Okemo Valley Golf Club. Courtesy of Okemo Mountain Resort. 

Okemo Valley Golf Club. Courtesy of Okemo Mountain Resort. 

Remy’s base of operations, going back 20 years, is Okemo Mountain Resort and the Okemo Valley Golf Club. In 1997, the couple that owned the resort (the Mullers, who own it still), hired Remy to assemble a team that would build and manage a first-class golf amenity, making Okemo a four-season force to be reckoned with. Twice this decade, Okemo Valley has been anointed by Golf Digest as the Best Public Course in the state, and it has hosted major regional tournaments like the Vermont PGA and the New England PGA Senior Championship.

“It’s got a beautiful collection of par-3 holes,” says Remy, “and par-5s with a lot risk-versus-reward choices for the golfer to make.” At plenty of spots the errant shot bounces back into play, preserving the enjoyment factor—this on a course built at a time when brutal difficulty was in fashion across the golf landscape.

Okemo is nearly on the opposite, or southern, end of Route 100 from your Tradewind-served town of Stowe, where you find the fairways of The Golf Course at Stowe Mountain Club, a high-country layout designed by golf polymath Bob Cupp and built a dozen years ago. Vermont’s highest peaks, Mt. Mansfield and a neighboring bump called The Chin, are in full view for golfers nearly throughout the round. The course is a wonder of engineering, the way its fairways have been ramped onto hillsides and its greens perched on precipices. Pick the right afternoon and this place offers as much visual beauty as one can take and still swing a club.

Courtesy of Stowe Mountain Resort. 

Courtesy of Stowe Mountain Resort. 

To play Vermont National Country Club, located west of Stowe in South Burlington, you have to be a private-club member elsewhere. Have your own club’s professional call ahead and set things up so pay a Reciprocal Guest fee, then take your shots at this Jack Nicklaus-designed course that seems eminently playable but can very easily wind up playing you. The layout was carefully routed in respect of prevailing winds, which in the meadow-like confines of the Champlain Valley are dependable. Vermont National has 17 holes that run north-south and just one, the 10th, oriented east-west.

There is enough variety and novelty—a split fairway on No. 3, a shared green for holes 10 and 15—to make the course seem like a charmer rather than the taskmaster it really is. Between fairways of the early holes are lively swaths of bottlebrush, goldenrod, and even thick stands of cattail. 

Rutland Country Club, a citadel of Vermont golf history, looks and feels like a private enclave but opens its first tee to anyone who calls in advance and covers its $80 green fees. The ancient layout has good bones and fine character throughout. It opened in 1896 as a nine-holer and was expanded to 18 in 1928 by the under-appreciated course architect Wayne Stiles. With greens that are smooth and gospel-true—but only lightly contoured—it’s a course where you could show up with a hitchy putting stroke and perhaps make it well again.

No. 6 is where RCC begins doling out the distant views of Killington Peak, Ram’s Head, and all the various high points to the east. Putting out on the sixth you are soothed by the sound of a nearby falls. Other than a short, deep plunge to the green of the par-3 15th, the inward nine climbs steadily up the ridge until you hole out on lofty No. 16. From there it is down toward the creek again before a testy par-4 finishing hole with a curling fairway and a tucked green. 

Courtesy of Green Mountain National. 

Courtesy of Green Mountain National. 

With not too much travel time in between, you can play your next day’s round at Green Mountain National, which cuts merrily through noble woodland and packs a great variety of shotmaking challenges into its 6,500 yards. Course architect Gene Bates laid out his No. 8 hole at Green Mountain National as a bite-it-off dogleg to the left that punishes the greedy. On No. 16, you blast down a hill then have to thread your approach into a well-guarded green; it’s like a ski run you’ll want to turn around and scoot down again.

These courses all come with a nod of approval from our guide, Jim Remy, as do many smaller, lesser-known layouts—many of them family-owned. “You can take your autumn vacation here and divide it between the courses that are elite and the ones that are more humble,” he advises. “Whichever you choose on a given day, it’s still Vermont.”