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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The Grateful Traveler: 2013 Fall Getaways

CRL columnist Vikki Moran takes us to Connecticut and the Big Apple.

Views seem to be the focus of fall getaway experiences this year.

Breathtaking city views from Brooklyn and magnificent ocean views of The Waters Edge “Villas by the Sea” in Westbrook, CT.

Westbrook, CT

Inside we enjoyed a gorgeous two-bedroom villa with the most extraordinary kitchen I have ever seen for a vacation home or rental property.  It almost made me cook…but not quite, as we were anxious to enjoy the food prepared at The Waters Edge.  If you travel here with family, however, you will want to buy local foods and spend the evening cooking, sipping wines and enjoying the outside view of the Long Island Sound and the Connecticut shoreline which is apparent from every angle.

There are 20 luxurious villas, approximately 1,300 square feet each with state-of-the-art amenities such as: spacious, fully-equipped gourmet kitchen with Viking appliances, granite countertops and custom cabinetry, two bedrooms, two full baths with luxury spa showers and tubs, elevator access, gas fireplace, flat panel LCD televisions throughout, and my favorite – a large, comfortable balcony. Mother Nature does not make accidents and being a mere nine miles from Greenport, Long Island, these views are unique and calming for any soul.

I learned during my visit that the décor was not by accident either. DiLeonardo International, one of the industry’s most prestigious hotel designers, was involved in the design and décor. They have designed hotels for Ritz-Carlton, Fairmont and St. Regis throughout the world. While I visited for a night, the properties are available to rent for longer periods of time and are available for purchase.
On the topic of calming, the spa on the property is quite lovely. I enjoyed a facial designed for hydration and can still feel its’ effects. The technician was wonderful and sincere in her belief that facials should be as relaxing as massages. I relaxed and enjoyed feeling and looking pampered.

Later, dinner on the property at the award-winning, The Restaurant, was very enjoyable even if we did visit at a very busy time of year. The atrium look of the main dining area (a short walk from the Villas) is well-served by the helpful staff.  Wine specials are plentiful and the food is excellent and affordable.

Following dinner, we enjoyed the Seaview Bistro & Martini Bar and the talented singer. There was a mix of families and couples that made the experience enjoyable. The ability to unwind and enjoy adult beverages was much appreciated before heading back to our Villa for a peaceful night’s sleep.

Sunrise came early the next day and I wandered out onto the balcony in my pajamas to catch the first glimpse of the new day. It was inspiring and I highly recommend it to convince you that there are beautiful things to see and do in areas you might not ordinarily venture to; especially those that are a mere three hours away.
For more information visit www.ownwatersedge.com

Nearby attractions
Essex Steam Train
Florence Griswold Museum
Gillette Castle State Park
Mystic Marine Life Aquarium
Mystic Seaport
Ocean Beach Park
Foxwoods Resort Casino
Mohegan Sun
Ferry Service/Cruises to Long Island
Cross Sound Ferry
Bridgeport to Port Jefferson Ferry

Brooklyn, NY
I am always interested in seeing something new and creative when I travel and having it so close to the Capital Region is a real plus. Having always enjoyed the pace and the cultural climate in NYC, it was a treat to spend some time enjoying the borough of Brooklyn.

Arriving early in the day, Brooklyn, particularly the neighborhood of Williamsburg, takes on a whole different feel. Walking around the neighborhood where the young and creative reside was like walking down the streets of an industrial town, but you knew these buildings held much more then what their outer shells looked like in the daylight.  Several hours later, as the sun set, those same buildings were hopping with its’ own pulse of activity…my husband and I loved it.

We strolled to Kinfolk Studios on Wythe Avenue, home to one of Brooklyn’s most expensive and unique restaurants, the Scandinavian, Aska. The Studio building could be mistaken for a repair shop with an open garage door until you peer in and realize it was positively humming with people.  The design, like so many others in Brooklyn, was designed to be open yet intimate, with a cozy dining area in the rear of the building. The Kinfolk maintains a rotation of art exhibits, DJ’s and music.

For this trip, we chose to use my favorite website, Open Table, and found Parish Hall on 3rd and Berry Streets.  It is smart and casually elegant.  Farm to Fork, Farm to Table, whatever you may call it…the cuisine was fresh from local purveyors and extraordinary.

We stayed at the funky King & Grove hotel in the Williamsburg neighborhood, which was in the heart of the action.  The hotel only has 64 guest rooms and “quiet” is not something I would say in describing it, but “funky, carefree, and hip,” they have plenty of!

The salt water pool (open to the locals) was like something out of the production of “Rent”. Graffiti covered the pool’s wall and it was dotted with young locals. I had the feeling that the graffiti was not an accident or unwanted.  I have to admit…it caught this middle-aged eye.  The highlight, however, was the atmosphere in the Upper Elm Rooftop Lounge, the views of the Manhattan skyline on this wonderful crisp and clear night were unreal. As I was sipping my Moscow Mule I felt like I was in of a mural of Manhattan. I have been blessed with many great vistas, but this will always stand out to me.

The Dumbo area of Brooklyn was our next stop, just a short cab drive away. We noticed with interest that the site-seeing tours out of Manhattan were taking people here to capture the Brooklyn experience. Thriving once again with street gazing opportunities, we couldn’t help but notice an hour plus line for a certain pizza shop.  Really…how good could one person’s pizza be, even if you do use the wonderful Brooklyn water? Grimaldis was the pizza place and it is certainly a famous one. Bring cash here and plan to relax on line.

The view of the NYC skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge is larger than life itself and is worth the trip alone. Both the bridge and those vistas from Dumbo bring the multi-national tourist out of Manhattan.  It is an incredible vantage point to enjoy with those you love.

For two days, we strolled into galleries, shops, bars and lounges. This part of the Big Apple with a history of Hasidic and Latino communities that now attracts the young has made Brooklyn a very desirable place to visit for a great fall weekend away. You will love the history, the cultural experience, the energy and the uniquely New York getaway. On your way back to the Capital Region, stop by Arthur Avenue in the Bronx to pick up your Italian favorites, as we did, to round out your memorable trip.

For more information www.visitbrooklyn.org or www.brooklyn.about.com

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn
Prospect Heights

Brooklyn Bridge Park
Pier 1 – Old Fulton Street,
Pier 6 – Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn
Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy
334 Furman Street, Brooklyn,

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn
Prospect Heights

Brooklyn Philharmonic
189 Montague Street, Brooklyn

Dance Theatre Etcetera
480 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn
Red Hook

Mark Morris Dance Group
3 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn
Fort Greene

Micro Museum
123 Smith Street, Brooklyn
Boerum Hill

New York Aquarium
602 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn
Coney Island

Prospect Park
95 Prospect Park W, Brooklyn
Prospect Park

Prospect Park Zoo
450 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn
Prospect Park South

Regina Opera Company
5902 6th Avenue, Brooklyn
Sunset Park

Space 414
414 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn
Red Hook

Vikki Moran
Vikki Moran
Vikki Moran is a travel writer and the founder of the Grateful Traveler.

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