Summer Camps for Grown Ups

Bermuda. The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club offers a new sailing camp © 2016 Karen Rubin/
Bermuda. The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club offers a new sailing camp © 2016 Karen Rubin/

Why should kids have all the fun of summer camp? Luxury travel companies such as BelmondCOMO and andBeyond, as well as individual properties in all corners of the world from Costa Rica to Provence, are keeping this nostalgic tradition alive with grown-up versions that cater to special interests.

Swap roasting marshmallows for cooking courses in Oxfordshire, arts and crafts for sculpting classes in Florence, and swimming in the pool for sailing in Bermuda. Oh, and juice boxes for wine in Napa Valley, of course. Adults can still have all the fun of summer camps (thankfully without the bunk beds). Here is a sampling of experiences across the globe:

Sailing Camp,  Hamilton Princess & Beach Club,: Be one of the first to experience the property’s $100 million renovation this summer. As the host hotel for the 35th America’s Cup, adults can learn to sail and see where the highly-anticipated races will take place in June 2017. 

Snuba Camp, Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, St. Lucia: All the fun and adventure of scuba diving without the time consuming certification process. Snuba combines the same swim fins, diving mask, regulator, and weights used in scuba diving, but instead sources air through a long hose connected to a surface-floating tank. 

Golf Camp, Hotel Royal, Evian les Baines, France: Improve your short game while taking in views of the French Alps and Lake Geneva at Evian Resorts’ Golf Academy, fit for everyone from beginners to experienced players. The 18-hole course hosts the annual Evian Championship in September – in its fourth year as one of the L.P.G.A.’s majors.

Fishing Camp, La Reserve, Geneva, Switzerland: Watch the sunrise over Lake Geneva while joining La Reserve’s fisherman aboard his private boat to catch plenty of local perch and fera. Guests then learn to fillet their fish before returning to the property where the chef prepares sea-to-table lunch.

Capoeira Camp,  UXUA Casa Hotel and Spa, Trancoso, Brazil: Learn the ancient art of capoeira, a traditional Bahian sport that blends martial arts, acrobatics, and dance, at the local school sponsored by this 11-casa property. Guests are invited to train privately in the hotel’s studio, or side by side with over 65 local children and young adults at the Casa da Cultura.

Sculpture Camp,  Belmond Villa San Michele, Florence, Italy: The tiny, private studio inside the Romanelli Galleria opens its doors to hotel guests for clay modeling and marble carving classes. Rafaello Romanelli himself, great-great-grandson of the famed sculptor, leads the class in his personal workshop, where his family has practiced for five generations.

Art Camp, Domaine de Manville, Les Baux de Provence, France: This restored farming estate offers tours of the Van Gogh trail, allowing guests to see where the artist painted his most famous works including ‘Starry Night.’ Bonus: through September 11, Domaine de Manville is offering guests 2 tickets to the Van Gogh en Provence exhibition at the Fondation Van Gogh in Arles, featuring 31 original paintings.

Cooking Camp, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire, England: Celebrity chef Raymond Blanc offers a Four Day Residential Course through the property’s in-house cookery school. Participants take on a different culinary task each day, from breads and basting to sauces and soufflés.

Wine Camp, B Cellars Vineyards & Winery, Napa Valley: Truly just for the grown-ups, the winery teaches the secrets to wine blending. Learn how to combine different varietal wines into one supreme wine with B Cellars’ Wine Blending class. 

Tea Camp, The Berkeley, London, England: Guests at the iconic Knightsbridge hotel can join the creative team in the Pastry Kitchen to create a Prêt-à-Portea, the original afternoon fashion tea. In honor of the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations this month, the Royal Masterclass available through June 30 teaches the art of making treats such as a Coronation Crown biscuit. Afterward, participants sample their creations over champagne. 

Eco Camp, COMO Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos: Nature lovers can group together a 2.5-mile kayak trip, 1-mile plantation run, and biking to create their own ‘mini-triathlon.’ The kayaking waterway, hand-cleared to not disturb the ecosystems, is home to leatherback sea turtles and nurse sharks. Follow with a Plantation Run through the working banana plantation and a bike ride around the island to continue spotting the ‘locals.’

Bird Watching Camp, andBeyond,  Asia: From the proud peacock of India and the humble raven of Bhutan to the colorful jungle fowl of Sri Lanka, South Asia boasts a diverse range of bird species that makes this a birdwatching paradise. The many varied landscapes and spectacular wilderness areas are home to about 433 species in Sri Lanka, 680 in Bhutan, and 1,314 species in India. 

Massage Camp,  Nayara Springs, Costa Rica: Take the spa experience home after a private massage class with the property’s professionally trained therapists. Guests leave well educated in basic massage and relaxation techniques – a romantic experience couples can relive long after their stay.

Language Camp, Royal Mansour,  Marrakech, Morocco: Never too old to learn a new language. Guests can tour the property’s gardens, inspired by the Alhambra gardens and including 100-year-old olive trees, to discover countless species of flowers and plants – learning the Arabic words for gardenia, jasmine, and rose along the way. The Arabic terms can then be put into practice during a flower arrangement class.

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Favorite Travel Adventures to Beat Summer Heat

Iceland is one of best places for a 'beat the heat' adventure © 2016 Karen Rubin/
Iceland is one of best places for a ‘beat the heat’ adventure © 2016 Karen Rubin/

With summer temperatures rising, many travelers have started looking for ways to escape the heat. Below are six favorite “beat-the-heat-adventures” for 2016.

  • Lofoten Islands & Western Fjords of Norway – Experience the midnight sun in Norway’s Lofoten Islands, one of the world’s most beautiful archipelagos. Explore dramatic scenery north of the Arctic Circle. Embark on a Midnight Sun Cruise and search for whales and other life. Visit millennium-old archeological sites, tour a reconstructed Viking longhouse and kayak quiet waters north of the Arctic Circle.
  • Explore Chile North to South – Experience Chile’s main highlights on this journey starting in the North and ending in the South of the country. Explore the arid Atacama Desert, stroll Santiago’s streets, and adventure in the Lakes District near Puerto Varas. Finish your Chile tour with hiking in the remote Torres del Paine National Park. Add on an extension to Easter Island to round out your Chilean exploration.
  • Iceland and The Diamond Circle – Visit incredible waterfalls, lakes, mountains and experience stories of trolls and elves. This six-day tour travels by 4WD car from Reykjavik through the Skagafjordur Region to the highlights of the Diamond Circle in the north, returning to Reykjavik by plane. Long nights and clear skies provide high chance of Northern Lights sightings.
  • Nova Scotia Bike/Hike Tour – Enjoy scenic rides and hikes amid pristine beaches, marshland, quaint villages, and beautiful vineyards. Highlights include: absorbing the region’s history at UNESCO World Heritage Sites; cycling a variety of picturesque paved roads and trails; wildlife viewing opportunities; exceptional local cuisine and fresh seafood; and four-star accommodations.
  • Fly Fish Alaska – Bristol Bay Lodge offers fishing for all five species of Pacific salmon, leopard-spotted rainbow trout, Dolly Varden trout, arctic char, grayling and northern pike. The most unique aspect of this operation is the exclusive overnight out-camps. No other lodge can offer this unique rotation schedule which combines day and overnight fishing trips, first-class accommodations and attentive service.

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Stonewall, in NYC’s Greenwich Village, is First National Monument to Honor Story of LGBT Americans

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell applauded President Obama’s historic designation of the Stonewall National Monument, the first national monument that honors the history of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in the United States. The designation permanently protects the site that played a pivotal role in the nation’s LGBT civil rights movement.

Secretary Jewell joined members of the New York Congressional delegation and other federal, state and local officials and LGBT community members at the monument site for a public dedication ceremony.

“This designation ensures that the story of the courageous individuals who stood up for basic rights for LGBT Americans will be forever told, honoring their sacrifice and inspiring our Nation towards greater tolerance and understanding,” said Secretary Jewell. “The tragic events in Orlando are a sad and stark reminder that the struggle for civil rights and equality continues – where who we love is respected and honored – on our march toward a more perfect union.”

The new monument is located at Christopher Park, a historic community park at the intersection of Christopher Street, West 4th Street and Grove Street directly across from the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. The monument’s boundary encompasses approximately 7.7 acres of land, including Christopher Park, the Stonewall Inn, and the surrounding streets and sidewalks that were the site of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, an event that inspired the modern LGBT civil rights movement.

The monument designation today is the result of a year-long effort led by U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler and U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, who introduced legislative proposals in Congress to establish a Stonewall National Historic Site as a unit of the National Park System. Separately, in a letter to President Obama, Representative Nadler, Senators Gillibrand and Schumer, and other members of the New York congressional delegation requested that the President use his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate Stonewall a national monument. State Senator Brad Hoylman and State Assemblymember Deborah Glick, along with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, worked together to donate the land to the federal government and make the designation possible.

“The National Park Service is marking its centennial anniversary this year with a renewed commitment to tell a more complete story of our nation, and we are incredibly proud to be entrusted with the responsibility to share the story of LGBT Americans through this historic new national park site at Stonewall National Monument,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “We will work closely with the community to ensure that the history we share at this site is inclusive and gives a complete perspective of the historic events that happened there.”

Immediately following President Obama’s designation, the National Park Foundation announced that it will conduct a fundraising campaign to support the effort to prepare the National Park Service’s 412th site to welcome visitors.

The Stonewall Inn, located across from the newly designated national park site, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in June 1999 and subsequently, with Christopher Park and the surrounding streets and sidewalks, designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2000, recognizing the significance of the events that took place in the late 1960s. The Stonewall Inn was the first LGBT site to ever be designated a National Historic Landmark.

In February of this year, the National Park Service finalized a reconnaissance study that concluded that additional evaluation would likely find that the Stonewall site meets the new unit criteria for inclusion in the National Park System.

In April, the Governor of New York signed state legislation that authorized the City of New York to transfer Christopher Park to the Federal Government, and the City then approved that transfer, paving the way for the site’s designation as a national monument.

In May, nearly 250 people gathered at PS 41 Greenwich Village School to express their views about designating Christopher Park as a national monument. The two and half hour public meeting attracted state and local elected officials, veterans of the Stonewall Uprising, as well as modern-day LGBT advocates, neighbors and preservationists. The majority of speakers enthusiastically expressed support for a Stonewall monument designation.

New additions to the National Park System can be accomplished by an act of Congress or by presidential designation. In Congress, a bill can be introduced to designate an area as a national park unit. That bill must then be approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and then signed into law by the president.

A unit of the National Park System can also be created through the use of the Antiquities Act, which allows the president to designate a site as a national monument. Since the enactment of the Antiquities Act by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, 16 presidents have used the authority to protect unique natural and historic features in America, such as the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients and more than 140 national monuments. Almost half of the national parks in the National Park System today were first protected as national monuments under the Antiquities Act.

With today’s designation, President Obama will have used the Antiquities Act to establish or expand 24 national monuments. Altogether, he has protected more than 265 million acres of public lands and waters – more than any other President – as well as preserved sites that help tell the story of significant people or extraordinary events in American history, such as Cèsar E. Chàvez National Monument in California, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland (now a National Historical Park in Maryland and New York), and Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio.

Last year the Obama Administration recognized the Henry Gerber House in Chicago as a National Historic Landmark and since 2011 eight other LGBT sites have been named to the National Register of Historic Places including:

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Historic Maine Windjammers Offer More Specialty Itineraries this Season

Coming down the home stretch: historic Maine windjammers make quite a sight as they dash for the Rockland Lighthouse at the end of the Great Schooner Race © 2016 Karen Rubin/
Coming down the home stretch: historic Maine windjammers make quite a sight as they dash for the Rockland Lighthouse at the end of the Great Schooner Race © 2016 Karen Rubin/

Midcoast, Maine — With the addition of creative new specialty cruises, growth in the fleet and a special parade to celebrate Acadia National Park’s Centennial, the Maine Windjammer Association (MWA) has lots of new offerings for visitors in 2016.

This year, brand-new specialty cruises include bluegrass and beer aboard Ladona, a sail and kayaking cruise aboard Lewis R. French and a wellness cruise aboard Victory Chimesthat includes massage therapists, art therapists and yoga instructors.

2016 also welcomes a new member to the MWA fleet: the 82-foot schooner Ladona. Launched in 1922 as a private yacht, she spent her early years cruising the eastern seaboard and, in 1923, winning her class in the Bermuda Cup. Other adventures included a stint as a US Navy submarine patrol, a fishing dragger, a sail-training vessel, and now a Maine windjammer. After a nearly two-year restoration, Ladona will provide guests with the opportunity to experience vintage cruising once again.

For visitors looking to experience that once-in-a-century sailing opportunity, the MWA is hosting a parade through Somes Sound on August 2nd as part of the Acadia Centennial Celebration. Guests can sign up to sail for the week, or just show up in the Park and enjoy spectacular views of the windjammers as they sail in company through the Northeast’s only fjard with its towering 600-foot cliffs.

“Every trip is different and every trip is a wellness cruise where you slow down, reconnect to nature and enjoy your fellow travelers,” says Captain Linda Lee of Schooner Heritage.

Captains know that some guests want to indulge their passions or dive deeper into their hobbies which is why they’ve created specialty cruises that include activities like wine tasting, photography, knitting, lighthouse tours, full moon cruises, and live music cruises. Children will enjoy pirate adventures while older kids may enjoy sharing a weekend away with Dad.

With nine windjammers sailing from mid-May to October, there are 227 trips to choose from, ranging from in length from 1-8 days. Average prices range from $188-$250 per day, everything included, depending on the length of trip, ship and season.

There are specialty themed cruises all season long and the various vessels have their own specialty, plus there are festivals and events throughout the season  (favorite are the tie-ups, when all the vessels come together).

But my absolute favorite experience is the annual Great Schooner Race, hailed as the largest annual gathering of historic landmark sailing vessels and one of the oldest races of its type in the United States – this year, the 40th, takes place on July 8.  It is a spectacular event, and utterly thrilling to be aboard one of the 20 schooners. The race is usually a part of the cruise, so you don’t miss out on the other experiences that are hallmarks of a Maine Windjammer sailing.

For more information about the Great Schooner Race, visit To learn more about visiting Penobscot Bay, visit

The Maine Windjammer Association represents the largest fleet of traditional sailing vessels in North America. From May to October, the windjammers offer three- to six-day sailing adventures to vacationers seeking an authentic sailing experience that includes great scenery, wildlife, delicious meals and plenty of time to go ashore and explore.

For more information about the historic vessels of the Maine Windjammer Association, visit

See also:

Onboard Maine Windjammer ‘Victory Chimes’ for the Great Schooner Race and slideshow

A Schooner Gam on the American Eagle, historic Maine Windjammer

Sailing Maine’s Penobscot Bay on the Windjammer American Eagle

Windjamming on the Nathaniel Bowditch: Sailing a Historic Ship on Maine’s Penobscot Bay is a Voyage

Rockland, ME: Windjammers, Wyeths, Lighthouses & Wonder


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