Nantucket, MA

Nantucket, MA

Nantucket is a truly a hidden gem, and needless to say, one of Miss Travel Guru’s newfound favorite places to visit. Throughout the summer months this charming and historic isolated Island off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, boasts dune-backed beaches, world class restaurants, and a huge array of activities to choose from.

To Get There

Depending on wether you are a trains, planes or automobiles kind of person, there are options. The Seastreak ferry runs from Manhattan to Nantucket (with one minor stop in Martha’s Vineyard.) While the journey takes 6 hours, the experience is actually pretty nice. Pack a picnic, grab a drink from the bar, take to the roof for sunset and, before you know it, you have arrived at your destination. For those who prefer to fly, you can now fly directly and easily to Nantucket with Blade (book by the seat, crowdsource a flight, or charter your own means of taking to the air.)

To Stay

The new 21 Broad brings urban chic to the island. This hotel is modern and sleek yet extremely relaxing, featuring hues of turquoise and sunshine yellow against simple white surfaces. Rooms are cool and refreshing yet charming. After being lulled to sleep by the sounds of the nearby marina, enjoy a simple, elegant breakfast on the outside terrace, before grabbing a couple hotel-provided beach chairs and taking to the local beaches.

To Eat:

Dinner: There are a lot of great places to check out in Nantucket, but on this trip I ventured to the well known Pearl Restaurant. The Pearl is focused on current coastal cuisine showcasing seasonal shellfish and seafood, produce from Island farmers and heritage meats. Some personal highlights included the vietnamese lettuce wraps with crispy pork and crab, and the steamed pork belly buns. The Pearl’s signature entrée, Salt & Pepper Wok Fried Lobster, is considered to be one of the Island’s best lobster dishes and was not to miss.
Brunch: When it comes to sunday brunch, The Brant Point Grill offers one that you are sure not to forget. The incredible spread buffet has something for everyone but isn’t overwhelming; choose from the raw seafood bar, omelette station, salad bar or pastry station to find your brunch fix. Of course this feast would’t be complete with the giant lobster bloody mary they offer, piled high with lobster meat. Enjoy all the latter while overlooking the breathtaking harbor and listening to live music.

To Do:

Hit the Surf: You may not see palm trees, or grass skirts, but the Old Grey Lady has a well deserved reputation as one of New England’s top surfing destinations. Nantucket’s advantages have everything to do with geography. Its location off the southern coast of Cape Cod, places it nearest to the Gulf Stream and its warm southern waters. The water can easily be 10 degrees warmer than other New England surfing spots and that can be the difference between surfing in shorts and surfing in wetsuits. Choose from the popular Cisco, Madaket, Miacomet, and Surfside beaches.
Stroll the Streets: Nantucket is well known for its array of beachy stores that line the charming cobbled streets of downtown, where you can find everything from silver starfish coffee coasters to pieces of exquisite artworks that portray the unique nautical nature of Nantucket.
Take a Boat: If you don’t already own a boat here, it can be tricky, however, there is always the option to rent one. On my recent trip to Nantucket I actually looked into boat memberships, which aren’t a bad deal depending on where you like to cast your anchor. Barton and Gray Mariner’s Club for example, offers unlimited access to a fleet of captained yachts from Nantucket to the Bahamas, fully stocked and ready for a unforgettable day on the water.
Visit a Brewery: Cisco Brewers is far more than just a brewery, it’s an experience. The festival like layout of this courtyard centered celebration features specialty brews, cocktails and wines that have made stopping here a staple for visitors and locals alike. Visit after a day at Cisco Beach and grab yourself a tour of the Brewery and Triple Eight Distillery, before kicking back in the courtyard, sampling local food, and listening to the sounds of great live music. While everything I gulped down in this spot was spectacular, not to miss for were The Gray Lady Ale,  Sharktracker Lager, and the Pineapple Express Cocktail (infused in house with local ingredients.)

Inspiring Vacation Destinations

Inspiring Vacation Destinations


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The Relaxing Option

Great Britain has a huge amount to offer, especially in the summer, and is extremely accessible; you can visit three countries in just one trip, all filled with rich history and surrounded by picturesque landscapes. From London’s historical palaces and tranquil gardens to Cardiff and Edinburgh’s rich heritage and stunning architecture, you can’t help but leave inspired! For more info go to

The Athletic Option (for those NOT afraid of heights)

 Ashville, NC is both known for its vibrant art scene as well as its breathtaking mountainous scenery, which provides some incredible uphill hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Hotels like The Grand Bohemian (where I recently stayed) make the experience all the more memorable, as a piece of artwork in itself decoratively (with an inspiring art gallery located right in the hotel lobby!)

The Athletic Option (for those who like to stay closer to ground level)

Consider a beach side yoga retreat, and if flying isn’t your thing (due to fear of heights) you can always drive to one on a nearby coast. The west coast runs some amazing retreats year round from Malibu to San Diego. Or consider learning to paddle board (or even paddleboard-yoga) in Florida Keys, which is flat in the summer months and provides some of the most inspirational sea life viewing right beneath your feet!


San Diego

The sunny city that I cant quite compare to anywhere else – San Diego really does have it all from sports and shopping to surfing and sensational dining. On my recent trip with family, I made a point of hitting up a few new spots that have been on the ‘must do’ list for a while.

The nightlife hotspot – King and Queens Cantina
If you are looking for a dinner spot with friends or family that packs a punch in music, vibe and cuisine – look no further. King and Queen Cantina brings a Latin flavor to San Diego’s Little Italy with colorful skull décor and a Dia de Los Muertos theme all year long. Seat yourselves at the downstairs bar or follow mood lighting upstairs outdoor bar where you can take to the San Diego skyline as you sip hand-crafted cocktails at this modern Mexican cantina. Creative owner and founder Jorge Cueva brings the ‘Mexican Cantine’ style and hisipanic popular menu from Orange County’s hotspot Tempo Urban Kitchen to create an eclectic menu from sushi to tacos as well as popular Latin dishes combined with inspiration from around the world. My choices include the sHISHITO PEPPERS (Soy glazed, malted salt, lime crema) the NO TORTILLA TACOS (Stuffed tempura jalapeno, spicy tuna, cheese, spicy aioli, pear and cucumber slaw, radish, cilantro, wrapped in jicama tortilla) and the DIABLO ROLL (Avocado, cucumber, crab meat, and shrimp tempura, wrapped in seaweed and rice, topped with spicy tuna and crispy onions.) Pair these with their famous Margarita Flight or a couple Modelas – and your set for a unforgettable night.

The ambient spot – Havana 1920
Havana 1920 brings Hemingway’s Cuba to life with authentic Cuban dishes, drinks and entertainment. Located just south of Market Street in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, you will find an atmospheric hideaway and hotspot serving up a most entertaining evening. Start your night with an aged rum, overlooking the street scenery from the upstairs balcony – and dig into their CEVICHE TROPICAL (shrimp, grilled pineapple, jalapeño, cucumber, tomato, onion, and cilantro.) For mains dig into the classic SANDWICH CUBANO (Cuban Sandwich Slices of slow roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban Bread) or a BISTEC HAVANA 24 (Angus skirt steak topped with our own chimichurri served with grilled Cuban bread, plantains and a side Caribbean avocado salad.) Once your done, head downstairs for a nightcap and soak up the buzzing scenery.

The brunch spot – The Mission
The Mission is a casual, local eatery with a brunch choice for everyone. Their concept specializes in simple, healthy, tasty food with a whimsical edge and a focus on artful presentation at an affordable price. By focusing on the use of simple and fresh ingredients, this vibrant urban bistro promotes living in an increasingly health-conscious world – which includes everything from classic pancakes and sandwiches to modern Chino-Latino cuisine! A few of my favorites include the SOY CHORIZO BURRITO (Black beans, crispy rosemary potatoes, scrambled eggs, jack cheese, cilantro, scallions, tomatoes and chipotle crema in a large whole wheat tortilla) and the ZEN BREAKFAST (Scrambled egg whites, braised tofu, brown rice, grilled zucchini & squash with tomato & onion garnish) but if you want to indulge there are every kind of pancake imaginable from blueberry to banana. This concept in healthy dining, combined with pleasant surroundings, is The Mission’s specialty and has made The Mission a huge favorite among local San Diegans and travelers from around the world.

The happening hotel – The Kimpton Solamar
This hotel boasts both a great location and great presentation- explore, indulge and recharge right in the center of the Gas Lamp District. This Kimpton offers an all-inclusive vibe with rich décor. Our regal-meets-vibrant, urban refuge provides modern comfort, a rooftop pool oasis, dazzling dining destinations, genuinely engaged service, plus a central location ideal for exploring some of the city’s latest dining trends and sizzling nightlife options. Of course, being a Kimpton, expect all the generous quirks – like happy of complimentary wine for guests at night, cold brew at 6am in the lobby and dog cookies for traveling fidos. By far, one of my favorite spots to stay in SD.

The activity- The San Diego Zoo
This is a great activity for all ages, aside of beaching it and shopping. Set in Balboa Park, The San Diego Zoo houses was a pioneer in the concept of open-air, cageless exhibits that re-create natural animal habitats. Walk around the park, jump on the Skyfari aerial tram or hop on a guided bus tour of the entire zoo – and experience live talks, feedings, and demonstrations. Meet over 4,000 rare and endangered animals, and over 650 unique species from all over the world in this 100-acre site.. You’ll get up close to koalas as well as gorillas, elephants, crocodiles and more in exhibits from the African Rocks to the Australian Outback!

Maui, Hawaii

The fantasy island of Maui recently became GW’s favorite vacation destination. The second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Maui boasts a breathtaking landscape, as well playground of activities and hospitality. As one of the most sought after locations on the planet, and with accommodation to suit almost any traveler, it’s no wonder why we had to visit it!

“The B&B” The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono – Just 10 minutes from Kahului Airport, one can find this hidden gem of a B&B. Boasting a 1930s-1940s Hawaiiana style, stretch you legs on the grand front lānai, overlooking a beautifully landscaped garden. The Hawaiian name “Ulupono” means “to grow and flourish in righteousness.” And although the name was newly bestowed when the property was opened in 1997, the feeling at the lovingly restored Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono is most definitely that of Hawai‘i as it used to be. Close your heavy eyes in cozy rooms, such as “The Bird of Paradise Suite,” and wake each morning to a home made breakfast, as native-born innkeepers Janice and Tom Fairbanks share their knowledge of the Island and culture.

“The Private Cottage” Haiku Cannery Inn – If you are looking for privacy, quaint intimacy and a lush Hawaiian jungle getaway, this is your spot. Situated on three tropical acres in Haiku, Maui, these cottages overlook pastures and the Haleakala volcano to the south and the blue ocean of the North Shore to the north. Originally the Manager’s Residence for the Haiku Pineapple Cannerys in the 1920’s, this fully restored inn, provides the ideal seclusion. Owner, Benni D’Enveau, has seen both the property, and island, change over the last 30+ years. The wisdom and warmth she brings to the Inn is obvious in it’s wooden charm, wild yet beautiful landscaping, and touches such as the breakfast brought to your door every morning. The local town of Paia is also worth checking out, for great boutique shopping and lots of fun ‘surfy’ restaurants.

“The Boutique Hotel” Hooilo House – Ever visited somewhere and thought, “yes I could live here;” well we did on arrival to the Hooilo House. Situated in the West Maui Mountains, this quiet, private Bed & Breakfast offers incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and islands surrounding Maui. Decor is luxurious yet minimalist, combining both Hawaiian tradition, with Asian and Balinese touches. Wooden four poster beds, complimented by white linen and dark marble floors, blend seamlessly into the raw natural landscape. Features such as the sculpted faces, outdoor showers and the open plan of this hotel, make it both unique and incredibly sensual…a perfect couple’s getaway.

Perhaps the best part about this hotel is its location on the popular west side of the island, just minutes from the historic whaling town of Lahaina, which boasts some spectacular restaurants such as Sugarcane. If you do eat at this fantastic spot, overlooking the ocean, be sure to try Chef Chin’s Homemade Focaccia with Hawaiian Sea Salt Butter, as well as his unique Ahi Nachos (seared ahi tuna, sesame spinach salad, won ton chips, trio of aioli.) All of the latter washes down great with Sugarcane’s Signature Mai Tai!

If you do decide to surf on your trip to Maui (or paddleboard) – and you should at least try it once – a little further past Lahaina you will find 808 Boards Inc, who can hook you up with both boards and advice on where to hit the water.

“The Resort” The Fairmont Kea Lani – If you are looking for more of an all inclusive experience in Maui, look no further than the Fairmont Kea Lani. As Hawaii’s only all suite and villa luxury oceanfront resort, this luxurious spot is situated on 22 acres of tropical landscape in sunny Wailea. With the newly-opened 9,000 square-foot Willow Stream Spa, three swimming pools and beachfront location, you get the best of everything. The Award Winning Willow Stream Spa boasts numerous treatment rooms, a Wailele (Waterfall) Suite and various treatments inspired by earth & water, such as the Lomilomi (traditional Hawaiian massage) that provide ultimate island relaxation.

Let the hotel welcome you with a traditional “lei,” before heading to any one of the resorts lookout points with a chilled cocktail. Staff are incredibly friendly and informed of the area, so if you do decide to venture out anywhere, there is always help. However, located on site is the award winning signature restaurant, Kō, known as one of the best places to dine in Maui. Other hotel amenities include a 24-hour fitness center and classes, a year-round kid’s club, boutique shopping, full wedding coordination services and 36,000 square feet of meeting and event function space and a business center.

In the nearby resort of the Hyatt Regency, it’s also worth booking to see The Drums of The Pacific Lu’au (no your trip wouldn’t be complete without some hula dancing!) Sway to the sound of the conch, the beating of the drums, and the echoes of the Hawaiian chant signal the start of Hawaii’s most exciting Lu’au. “Drums of the Pacific” Polynesian Spectacular (a Tihati Production) takes you on a journey through the islands of Polynesia, complete with a traditional imu ceremony and the exotic flavors of native Hawaiian cuisine. We feature authentic dances and music of the old Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, Tahiti, Tonga, and Rarotonga in the hottest Lu’au Show in the Islands.

All in all, Maui is a dream island for any vacationer. Choose your spot, and let the island breeze whisk you away!