Getaways

On a glorious spring afternoon in late April, the Capitol Limited, a regularly scheduled Amtrak train, pulled slowly out of Washington DC’s Union Station, bound for Chicago. Attached to the end of the train was an anomaly, a shiny blue dome railcar named Bella Vista. Built in 1955, the old

  Cruise line executives tremble when the name "Douglas Ward" is mentioned. Ward is the most fearsome critic in the cruise industry, a man whose words can remove the smiles from the faces of the most unflappable ship owners. If you’re looking for a family cruise, a romantic cruise or

WHY IT’S A CONTENDER: Lots of travelers have heard about the ultra-modern "design hotels" in the vibrant city of Barcelona, but they might not have a clue about why they’re special. On a recent trip to the capital city of Catalonia, we tried three hotels that exemplified this trend. At

I first met Tom Hale, the founder and president of Backroads, in his Berkeley, California headquarters about eight years ago. And I was a little floored by his exercise regimen. That morning, as on most mornings, he had risen somewhere between three and four to exercise. He had done 400

WHY IT’S A CONTENDER: It’s safe to say that there is not another ski hotel like the Alta Lodge. It looks like a 1940’s prep school dorm that was designed by a Bauhaus-trained architect. Think "pleasingly austere," with window walls of glass, Bertoia chairs and cement block walls. But those

Smack in the center of the Lone Star State, you’ll find great food and wine and a landscape that’s worth the trip BY TOM PASSAVANT Becker Vineyards (Photo by Karen Glenn) Many of the things I’d heard about the Texas Hill Country before my visit seemed hard to swallow, particularly

When I was in Budapest in 1989, the mood was dour, the city’s Art Nouveau treasures were crumbling, and there was nothing for anyone to buy except little souvenir bags of paprika. But fast forward 17 years. Not only is the Communist government history but I have to discard my

WHY IT’S A CONTENDER: The hotel opened in 2004 in the restored 1906 Gresham Palace in Pest, one of the grandest and most important Art Nouveau buildings in Europe. With its dramatic setting at the foot of the Chain Bridge and views across the Danube to Buda, the hotel is

WHY IT’S A CONTENDER: The words "deal" and "The Little Nell" rarely share the same billing, but this is the time of year when the leaves turn, the rates fall, and even the locals are known to check in for a romantic night or two. Luxury hotels don’t come much

     I was standing on a bed of quivering mud, the Irish Sea lapping away at my brand new Gore Tex hiking boots, at a point where the River Leven meets Morecambe Bay. Six other people in shorts and fleece and silly smiles stood there with me, engaged in