DREAMSCAPES Fall/Winter 2017
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TRAVEL GALLERY - WINTER/SPRING 2016
 
(2016 - Winter/Spring Issue)

Writer: CYNTHIA DAVID



Mexico Beach, Florida, a tiny town on the Gulf of Mexico, was recently named a “top affordable destination” by TripAdvisor and has appeared on numerous “best places to live” and “best places to vacation” lists. Exuding a small-town intimacy, Mexico Beach has no traffic lights or chain restaurants, and its laws restrict the height of buildings to four storeys. Stroll along eight kilometres of white-sand beaches. Hike at St. George Island State Park or paddle through mangroves at Wakulla Springs State Park. Fish from shore or offshore, explore natural and artificial reefs complete with shipwreck sites, go horseback riding on the beach, pursue myriad water sports activities or hunt for seashells on Crooked Island. Visit a historic lighthouse. Browse the nearby shopping outlets of Panama City Beach, the little boutiques along Highway 98 or the antique shops of Apalachicola. Then cap off your day with a stunning sunset as you dine on fresh seafood. mexicobeach.com

Air Canada has unveiled new non-stop services between four key Canadian cities and 12 U.S. cities beginning in May and June 2016. New transborder routes include Toronto–Washington-Dulles, Vancouver–San Jose, Montréal–Denver and Calgary–San Francisco. For those travelling onward into the U.S. or Latin America, these new routes offer more travel options and convenient connections. The carrier is also adding non-stop flights between Toronto and Seoul beginning June 17, with special introductory fares starting as low as $1,399. Also in mid-June, the airline will increase frequencies from Vancouver to Brisbane, Australia, from three times a week to daily service. aircanada.com.

The new US$500-million SKYPLEX entertainment complex on I-Drive in Orlando, Florida, is set to break world records by opening the world’s tallest roller coaster in 2017. The 174-metre structure will be the tallest in Central Florida and feature the first Polercoaster, a vertical ride dubbed the Skyscraper, which will weave in and around the tower on coaster-length tracks. The top of the tower will offer views of the city from an observation deck, restaurant and lounge. A second ride, called Skyfall, will be the world’s tallest drop ride, rising up to 140 metres then dropping riders at 145 km an hour. The project’s first major restaurant and nightclub, Mango’s Tropical Café Orlando, opened in December 2015.  mangos.com/skyplex 

A new exhibit, Beauty’s Legacy, Gilded Age Portraits in America, at the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, Florida, presents stunning portraits of prominent Americans of the Gilded Age, from the 1870s to 1900, painted by leading American and European painters. The museum itself is located on Henry Flagler’s grand 1902 estate. The exhibition explores the interest in European portraits documenting the rich and famous at a time when Americans were amassing great wealth. Portraits range from society beauties to powerful titans of business and industry. Organized by the New-York Historical Society, Beauty’s Legacy ends April 17. flaglermuseum.us  

Catching up on email or obtaining directions while travelling is easy with a short-term cellular data plan from AlwaysOnline Wireless. Operated by Vancouver-based Otono Networks, AOW offers a high-speed global LTE roaming service for iPad users in more than 45 countries. With Apple SIM installed, there’s no need to hunt for a local SIM card when you land. The app allows customers to view and select data plans directly on their iPad in increments as short as one hour. Apple SIM is compatible with iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 and iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi + Cellular models. Alwaysonlinewireless.com

No trip to London is complete without attending a live stage performance. Five of the most famous theatres just happen to be near equally magnificent hotels. A short stroll through Hyde Park takes you from The Royal Albert Hall to the 200-year-old Corus Hotel Hyde Park, while the Royal Opera House is just a four-minute stroll from the luxurious One Aldwych Hotel. The Ham Yard Hotel, meanwhile, is an oasis of calm just 10 minutes from The London Palladium in the busy West End. The Royal Horseguards, overlooking the Thames and the London Eye, is close to several theatres including the London Coliseum. If you’re planning a summer visit to take in opera at Holland Park Open Air Theatre, check out the nearby K West Hotel & Spa, with its Rock ’n’ Roll theme. corushotels.com/London

WestJet recently announced it is increasing frequency on two of its new non-stop transatlantic operations to London (Gatwick) from seasonal to year-round service. Effective May 6, flights between Calgary and London will operate three times weekly whereas service between Toronto and London will be daily. Services from Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg and St. John’s to London will continue to be seasonal. One-way fares, including taxes, fees and charges, start as low as $271 from Toronto, $323 from Vancouver, $349 from Calgary and Edmonton, $318 from Winnipeg and $248 from St. John’s. westjet.com/londongatwick  

Nestled on the Big Bend of the Florida Panhandle, Wakulla County is an easy-on-the-eyes wonderland that’s still in its original state. Kayakers and canoeists head to the Apalachee Bay Maritime Heritage Paddling Trail system while hikers and birdwatchers explore 160 kilometres of the Florida National Scenic Trail that winds its way through the county. Motorists can take in the natural splendour along the beautiful Big Bend Scenic Byway where huge old oak trees drip with Spanish moss. Other gems in the area include the Apalachicola National Forest, Wakulla Springs, the circa-1679 fort at San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park, the Gulf Specimen Aquarium in Panacea and the St. Marks Lighthouse (Florida’s second oldest light station) in the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Wakulla County is also where to go to enjoy mullet, flounder, grouper, red snapper, cobia, blue crab and oysters as well as Old Florida favourites such as slow-cooked ribs, brisket, chicken and pork. visitwakulla.com

New Zealand, a land of striking shorelines and majestic peaks, offers plenty of activities and attractions throughout the year. Take, for instance, the world-class World War I exhibit created by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson at Wellington’s Dominion Museum. And, due to open in 2016, his new Great Trench Experience promises a chilling, multi-sensory experience. Marathoners might check out a brand new marathon in Hawke’s Bay in May where the last 10 kilometres take runners through private vineyards and olive groves to the finish line at the gorgeous Sileni Estates Winery. Cyclists might embark on a four- or five-day adventure on the South Island’s rugged West Coast from Ross to Greymouth. Or relatively fit bikers might head to the epic Lake Taupo Challenge in November to join 8,000 other cyclists for New Zealand’s most beautiful cycling experience. For white-sand beaches and fine wine, hop aboard a ferry in Auckland heading over to Waiheke Island, where wineries are pouring 2013 syrahs, a vintage considered among the island’s best. NewZealand.com

Maligne Tours is a world-class business that provides interpretive boat tours and related services at Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park. Maligne, the largest lake in the park, is widely known for its scenic splendour, vivid water colour and views of three glaciers and Spirit Island. Seven tour boats operate from May through October. The company also includes a marina and a day lodge where food, beverage and retail services are offered, a historic chalet complex for catered special events, and a historic boathouse where visitors can rent canoes, kayaks and rowboats. Owned by Viad Corp., sister operations in Alberta include the Glacier Adventure and Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park and the Banff Gondola and Banff Lake Cruise in Banff National Park, offered by Brewster Travel Canada. malignelake.com; brewster.ca

 
 
 
 
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