A Tried-And- Trending Hit List of Where To Go Next: It’s a great big world out there, so let us jumpstart your wanderlust with the experiences we deem most travel worthy. We’ve curated the foods to taste, wines to sip, people to meet, photos to snap, and the adventures you’ll talk about for years to come. From a float trip down one of Montana’s legendary fly-fishing rivers to a food crawl in Spain, these destinations guarantee Instagram-worthy moments that will leave friends with serious travel envy.
TAKE A NEW WILDLIFE SAFARI
Most people think an African safari is the ultimate wildlife experience. Yet they haven’t been to the Arctic. Svalbard, located far off the coast of Norway in the Arctic Circle, is the best place on the planet to view polar bears in their natural habitat. One of the Club’s new Adventure offerings and held in partnership with ER and Linblad Expeditions, this trip features the ultimate in animal discovery. Lindblad Expeditions has been cruising this region for more than 30 years, and the ship’s team of naturalists typically see more than 150 bears a season. Guests can spot them hunting for seals or playing with cubs right off the deck of Lindblad’s148-passenger National Geographic Explorer. For a closer encounter, Zodiacs replace Jeeps for wildlife tracking adventures. Naturalists steer around icebergs in search of walrus, reindeer, the elusive arctic fox, and polar bears sunning on ice packs. Kayaks allow Members a water-level view of sea life, including fur seals, or they can paddle ashore and hike in the footsteps of polar explorers, passing remnants of trapper’s huts and whale bones. A photography instructor provides tips throughout the trip, ensuring your Facebook feed will look straight out of the pages of National Geographic.
Wildlife Photography Tips
Photographer Ralph Lee Hopkins, founder and director of the Expedition Photography program for Lindblad Expedition and National Geographic, shares secrets for capturing magazineworthy wilderness and wildlife photos. (Hopkins will be joining ER’s Once-in-a-Lifetime Journey to the Galapagos in September 2016).
- GET UP EARLY + STAY OUT LATE Most birds and animals are active early and late in the day. No matter where you are in the world, waking up the with sun or taking a walk at sunset with your camera will offer opportunities for pictures of local wildlife.
- ZOOM TO GET CLOSE If you shoot with the big guns, like a digital SLR, consider a lens that zooms out to 300mm or 400mm. For something less expensive and lighter weight, consider one of the popular “Super-Zoom” cameras, like the Canon® PowerShot SX60, that have amazing range from wide-angle (21mm) to supertelephoto (1365 mm).
- USE BURST MODE Everyone wants that close up portrait of wildlife. However, the most engaging images are the ones that capture interaction between animals. Your chances for capturing the action will improve if you set your camera to burst mode, so that it will fire a fast series of shots when you press and hold the shutter button.
- DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE PHONE CAMERA Your iPhone® can capture great photos or videos of animals and their habitat. Use the panoramic function to capture a sense of place, like a sweeping view. Show wildlife in motion with a short video and keep it under 30 seconds so you don’t have to edit later.
- BE IN THE MOMENT The photographer’s mantra is “Light, Composition, Moment,” but it’s the moment that trumps all. By being in the moment, the quest for making images enhances your travel experience
EAT NASHVILLE HOT CHICKEN AT PRINCE’S
Nashville is one of America’s most buzzed about food cities, sharing top billing with Portland, Chicago, and New York. Nashville Hot Chicken, the dish that defines the city, is fast becoming a national phenomenon. The fiery fried chicken is so beloved that Nashville’s former mayor, Bill Purcell, started the annual Music City Chicken Festival to celebrate the dish. Dozens of hot chicken joints can be found throughout Nashville, but the original hot chicken experience can only be had at Prince’s Hot ChickenShack. Despite its dodgy location next to a nail salon in a nondescript strip mall in north Nashville, food pilgrims from around the globe make the trek to wait in line (and you will wait) at the holy grail of Nashville’s famed bird. Heat levels range from mild (advisable) to extra-hot (suicidal), and the chicken comes served with two slices of squishy white bread and kryptonite-green crinkled pickles. Your eyes will water, your brow will sweat, but something in the cayenne-spice mix makes you keep eating. 123 Ewing Dr., Nashville; 615.226.9942.
Nashville’s Top Tables Taste your way through the city’s classic and hot new restaurants.
- CITY HOUSE Chef Tandy Wilson’s menu has a distinctly Southern flavor, with inventive dishes like sour corn cake and white beans and catfish and grits with chard. 1222 4th Ave N., 615.726.5838; cityhousenashville.com
- THE CATBIRD SEAT A 22-seat, chef-driven restaurant that reinvents Southern classics with modern twists. Reserve well in advance. 1711 Division St., 615.810.8200; thecatbirdseatrestaurant.com
- ARNOLD’S COUNTRY KITCHEN This no-frills Nashville institution has been serving home cooked “meat-n-three” platters for more than 30 years. 605 8th Ave. S., 615.256.4455, arnoldscountrykitchen.com
- HATTIE B’S HOT CHICKEN A tamer introduction to Nashville’s specialty dish, Hattie B’s offers five heat levels ranging from mild to shut the cluck up, plus local brews and homey sides like pimento-studded mac ‘n cheese. 112 19th Ave. S., 615.678.4794; hattieb.com
TAKE A PRIVATE SUNRISE TOUR OF DONALD JUDD’S CHINATI FOUNDATION
Marfa may seem like an unlikely stop on the art world circuit, but this tiny west Texas cultural hub was named the New York Times’ “52 Places to Go in 2016” list and is often talked about in the same sentences as Basel and Berlin. The late minimalist artist Donald Judd is largely responsible for putting the town of less than 2,000 people on the art map. In 1971, Judd loaded his truck with art and drove from New York City to dusty Marfa, where he created huge, permanent outdoor installations in the high plains of the Chihuahua Desert. The artist gradually purchased 15 buildings, converting them to studios, libraries, and a residence. His most touted legacy may be the Chinati Foundation, a 340-acre contemporary art center comprised of 15 buildings. The collection includes works by such artists as Dan Flavin, Richard Long, John Chamberlain and Judd. To truly experience the relationship between light, land, art and architecture, book a two-hour sunrise tour of Judd’s untitled installation of 100 aluminum boxes and 15 works in concrete—the pieces most affected by the light at varying times of day.
24 HOURS IN MARFA
- STAY: An iconic, silver, 28-foot Airstream trailer—a mid-centurymodern capsule of cool that has been eliciting envy on American highways and parks since 1936. These hip trailers get hauled by GMC Yukon Denalis, luxury SUVs with seating for up to eight. Welcome to camping in style.
- EAT: COCHINEAL: This intimate, 30-seat restaurant also has an expansive courtyard. The nouveau Texas-inspired menu includes hits like chilaquiles and date pudding. 107 West San Antonio; cochinealmarfa.com
- DRINK: DO YOUR THING: Third-wave coffee served drip, pourover, or cold brew-style. 201 E. Dallas St.; doyourthing.us
- DO: BALLROOM MARFA: Housed in a converted dance hall that dates to 1927, this nonprofit includes two galleries plus a 6,000-squarefoot courtyard showcasing local and international artists. 108 E. San Antonio St.; ballroommarfa.org
- SOUVENIR: FREDA: Funky concept shop selling jewelry, art, prints, and accessories from Marfabased artists and artisans. 207 S. Highland Ave.; shop-freda.com
4. Sri Lanka
Stay at a Tea Estate
Sri Lanka has emerged from its civil war as one of the hottest travel destinations of 2016. Many tourists flock to the coast, but the hill country interiors provide a glimpse of the country’s colonial past and a stunning backdrop for trekking and biking. Ceylon Tea Trails, the country’s first Relais & Chateaux resort, has four colonial-era tea planter’s bungalows spread across Sri Lanka’s high altitude tea region between Hatton and Castlereagh. Guests can choose to stay at one specific bungalow or bungalow-hop along the Tea Trail. Mornings start when your butler arrives with bedside tea service. During the day, visit a century-old tea factory, watch tea pluckers harvest buds, and partake in a tasting of different grades of Ceylon’s famed black brew. After navigating manicured tea gardens, soak in a green tea-infused bath at the spa, then indulge in a multi-course meal that might include mint tea-crusted lamb rump with grilled herb polenta.
5 Essential Sri Lanka Experiences
Marco Polo described Sri Lanka as the finest island of its size in the world. Here are five natural and cultural wonders that continue to seduce travelers.
- Visit DAMBULLA CAVE TEMPLE, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its massive mural paintings and distinctive sculptures.
- Sri Pada, known as the SACRED FOOTPRINT, is a rock formation near the summit of Adam’s Peak, which legend claims Buddha himself left. For thousands of years, pilgrims have trekked up the 5,000-step footpath to view the mysterious print.
- THE GATHERING, an annual migration of hundreds of elephants to the ancient reservoir on the shores of Minneriya National Park.
- The UNESCO World Heritage site, GALLE FORT, is one of the best-preserved examples of 17th-century colonial fortifications in the world.
- REKAWA BEACH, on the uncrowded stretch of coast along the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka, welcomes hawksbill, green and leatherback turtles from April to September.
Scuba Dive Shipwrecks
With 40 dive sites located 20-45 minutes from shore, Nevis is a diving paradise. One of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets, this tiny island lies about two miles southeast of St. Kitts, across a shallow channel called The Narrows. Diving is diverse, with caves, mini-walls, ledges and deep holes teeming with tropical fish. The area is perhaps best known for its wrecks. More than 400 ships sank in the Narrows between 1493 and 1825. The HMS Solebay wrecked on the southwest coast of Nevis in 1782 during the Battle of Frigate Bay. Today, the remains, including encrusted cannons and large anchors, are scattered across the sandy bedrock off the coast of Charlestown. More recently, the MV River Taw, a 144-foot freighter, sank off the lee shores of St. Kitts in 1981. Divers can swim around the coral-encrusted wreck, which now houses angelfish, yellowtail snappers, squirrel fish, rays, and if you look closely, sea horses.
Just 36 square miles, Nevis is one of the Caribbean’s smaller islands. But you won’t have any trouble finding an unspoiled stretch of sand.
- LOVER’S BEACH. This mile-long secluded beach offers loads of privacy and views of neighboring St. Kitts.
- NISBET BEACH. A palmlined stretch of white sand ideal for swimming and sunbathing.
- CADE’S BAY BEACH. Powder-soft sand beach with fast-breaking waves and views of Nevis Peak.
- PINNEY’S. The island’s most famous beach is beloved for its smooth, sugar-white sands and calm, shallow waters.
- OUALIE. A lively beach bar and restaurant make this a Nevis hotspot. Beach chairs and hammocks line the sand and palms offer natural shade.
6. San Sebastian
Take a Tixikite- Basque for Pinxto Bar Crawl
San Sebastian is a culinary mecca. International super foodies flock here to dine at such gastronomic temples as Mugartiz and Arzak. But, if you want to eat like a local, head to the city’s pintxos bars. The Basque region’s famous bite-size tapas are served in humble bars throughout the city. The simple dish started out as a small piece of baguette topped with ingredients like anchovies and prawn and held together by a pinxto (spike). Parte Vieja, or Old Town, is home to a cluster of both traditional and more inventive pintxos bars. Taste the local culture on an eating crawl, starting at Gandarias, an excellent introduction to old-school pinxtos with dishes like skewered grilled baby squid dressed in squid ink. Borda Berri’s chalkboard menu lists more modern takes on traditional pinxtos, like salted cod tacos. Make A Fuego Nero your last stop and order the pear and kalimotxo dessert, which reimagines the low-brow local cocktail of red wine and Coca-Cola.
San Sebastian’s culinary scene hogs the spotlight, but there’s a reason the city was named the 2016 European Capital of Culture.
- SAN TELMO MUSEUM The oldest museum in the Basque country is housed in a former convent and showcases a collection of sculptures, photography, funerary art, and paintings dating back to the early 19th century. Plaza Zuloaga, 1, Donostia, +34 943 48 15 80; santelmomuseoa.com
- THE CRISTÓBAL BALENCIAGA MUSEUM The master couturier was born just west of San Sebastian in the small town of Getaria. His hometown paid tribute to him by opening a museum, which holds some of his most iconic collections. Aldamar Parkea, 6, Getaria, +34 943 00 88 40; cristobalbalenciagamuseoa.com
- GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM, BILBAO The avant-garde exterior of starchitect Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim outpost is enough to justify the 45-minute journey to Bilbao. Dedicate half a day to explore the collection, which focuses on postwar painting and sculpture in America and Europe. Abandoibarra Etorb., 2, Bilbao, +34 944 35 90 00; guggenheim-bilbao.es
Test Your Golf Game at St. Andrews’ Newly Renovated Hell Bunker
Known as the birthplace of golf, St. Andrews, Scotland, is the dream destination for golfers and boasts seven courses (with nearly 40 more just a short drive away). The Old Course at St. Andrews is indeed one of the oldest courses in the world, and tops the golf-fanatic bucket list. Follow in the footsteps of legends that have played this par 72 green. Of the course’s 112 bunkers, Hell Bunker on the 14th hole is one of its most iconic landmarks. It’s also the biggest bunker on the course, covering more than 300 square yards and sinking 6 1/2 feet deep. It’s captured the balls of many legendary golfers, among them Jack Nicklaus, who made a quintuple-bogey 10 on the hole during the 2000 Open Championship.
The menacing bunker received a major facelift in 2015 in anticipation of last year’s return of the Open Championship. A new floor was covered with 60 tons of sand and less clay to aid in drainage. It also now features a state-of-the-art TV camera. The Eden Club’s expert golf concierge can set up tee times or arrange private instruction at the famed St. Andrews Links Golf Academy
The exclusive Eden Club at Pittormie Castle in St. Andrews, Scotland, features distinctly Scottish experiences.
- FALCONRY. The ancient art of hunting with birds of prey has deep roots in the Scottish Highlands. The Eden Club’s falconers pair Members with a peregrine falco, and then outfit them with gauntlets—large gloves that protect their hands from the birds’ talons— prior to hunting excursions in pristine valleys.
- DEER STALKING. Channel your inner outdoorsman on a deer stalking adventure. A resident gillie, or stalker, accompanies Members as they seek out wild deer in the surrounding lowlands.
- WHISKY TASTING. The head butler at Pittormie Castle doubles as a whisky expert and hosts private tastings by reservation.
8. New Zealand
Sail an America’s Cup Boat in Auckland
Sailing rivals rugby as the national pastime in New Zealand. Worldwide, Kiwis have forged a formidable reputation as skilled yachtsmen. Their track record in the America’s Cup, the world’s foremost yachting regatta and oldest trophy in sporting, underscores their domination at sea. The inner circle of the America’s Cup has long been elite athletes, talented navigators, and billionaire yacht owners, but now, mere mortals have a chance to feel the thrill of flying atop the water in an authentic America’s Cup yacht. Find out what it takes to navigate one of these impressive race yachts during a two-hour sailing trip around Auckland Harbour. Members get to participate as crew, taking the helm and cranking grinders with the help of experienced sailors. Not only will you get a taste of New Zealand’s yachting culture, but you’ll enjoy top city views from the deck of the boat.
New Zealander, BRAD BUTTERWORTH, is one of the winningest yachtsmen in America’s Cup history. Here he shares highlights from his esteemed sailing career.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO SAILING? Sailing is a sport you grow up with in New Zealand, just like rugby, cricket, and soccer. I started sailing at age 6 and loved the interaction with the elements.
WHAT’S THE PHYSICALITY INVOLVED IN SAILING? When the Cup was sailed in monohull ships, the crews were quite static in their positions. Now the sport is raced in multihull ships—the crews are moving 60 feet from side to side. I see the crews doing more weight training and getting fitter than ever before.
YOU’RE CONSIDERED ONE OF SAILING’S GREATS. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE RACE? Winning, and defending, the America’s Cup title with both Team New Zealand in 2000 and Alinghi in 2007. It was a dream come true for New Zealand. For the first time it was a real team effort from shore team to administration to boat builders and sailors.
DURING THE LAST AMERICA’S CUP IN SAN FRANCISCO IN 2013 THERE WAS A LOT OF TALK ABOUT MAKING THE SPORT MORE SPECTATOR FRIENDLY. DO YOU AGREE? It’s a great idea to make sailing more spectator friendly, but the America’s Cup should be the pinnacle of the sport and should have no real boundaries other than some rules on the boats that keep it fair. You don’t want the event looking like any other beach regatta.
Tour the Legendary Chateau de Pommard
One of Burgundy’s most fairytale-like château, this 18th-century estate is considered a jewel of French heritage. The original château was built in the Regency style in 1726 by the secretary to King Louis XV, and hosted such famous guests as Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1802, a second empire-style château built from pink stone was added to the grounds. It’s easy to spend the better part of a day wandering the beautifully manicured gardens and buildings, including the old kitchen with its roasting spit and collection of copper pots. The estate’s farming and winemaking facilities now house a Wine and Vine Museum, filled with old winemaking equipment including an old wooden hooped wine vat and an enormous wine press that required the strength of 10 men.
Yet not everything is historic. A contemporary art gallery has been added to the grounds and displays works by sculptor Christian Lapie and photographer Peter Lippmann. No tour would be complete without a tasting. The stone cellars of Château de Pommard hold 600 oak barrels stamped with the coat of arms of the Château as well as 300,000 bottles of its prized juice. Breathe in the smell of fermenting grapes as you explore the labyrinth of wine, then follow a wine advisor to a tasting room to sample the Grands Vins of Château de Pommard. The staff can arrange for bottles or cases of your favorite varietals to be shipped back home—the ultimate wine country souvenir.
TOP 3 WINERIES
One of the world’s premier wine regions, Burgundy is dotted with castle-like châteaus, and it’s not uncommon for the winemaker to still greet you at the door.
- DOMAINE JOSEPH DROUHIN, BEAUNE. This storied producer has been making terroir-driven pinot noir and chardonnay since 1880.
- CHÂTEAU DE CHAMIREY, MERCUREY. Built in the 17th century, this gorgeous château recently added a new visitor center and tasting room. Tours can be complemented with a wine-paired lunch.
- DOMAIN DROUHIN-LAROZE, GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN. Anchored by a 19th-century manor house, the 28-acre, family-run estate is known for its impressive line-up of grand cru holdings.
Fish the Big Blackfoot, Featured in A River Runs Through It
Montana’s rivers lure avid anglers from around the globe with their rainbow, cutthroat, and bull trout. As such, the Ranch at Rock Creek, a luxury dude ranch in Philipsburg, Montana, is considered one of North America’s top fly-fishing destinations. The ranch claims four miles of private access, Blue Ribbon-certified waters stocked with seven species of fish, plus some of the country’s top guides, including fish whisperer Patrick Little. Stellar fishing experiences are just steps from your cabin, and the on-site Rod & Gun Club outfits guests with top-of-the-line waders, reels, and rods. Cast one of the five stocked ponds, take a float trip on Rock Creek, or experience a full-day, guided float trip along the fabled Bitterroot, Blackfoot, and upper Clark Fork rivers. The Big Blackfoot, located two hours northwest of the Ranch, had a starring role in A River Runs Through It. The Ranch’s 11-mile trip winds through the Box Canyon to Russell Gates, a particularly scenic section loaded with whopper trout.
ADVENTURE CHECK LIST
Big Sky Country offers endless opportunities for outdoor fun, from rafting to wrangling.
- This year marks the 100th anniversary of the national parks. The Ranch at Rock Creek offers a bird’seye view of the iconic wilderness during a helicopter adventure above Yellowstone.
- Whitewater raft the Class 3 rapids of the beautiful Clark Fork River, one of Montana’s biggest waterways.
- Kayak the East Fork Reservoir and spot wildlife along the shore.
- Channel your inner cowboy or cowgirl and learn to wrangle, rope, and barrel race during an arena-riding lesson.
- Recreate an authentic Montana bow-hunting experience at the Ranch’s hillside 3-D archery course.