Jamaica: Top Spots in Negril

Jamaica’s top cities are top of our bucket list after seeing these great photos by Angela Auclair. Nicholas Rosaci shares his fave stops along the way!

1. Atop a limestone cliff, 12 colourful cottages make up Jamaica’s famous Caves – one of the best places to stay in Jamaica. This oceanfront resort has a tropical reef system that comes right up to the edge of the cliff and is one of the most beautiful places to dive and explore marine life. Cutouts in the ancient fossilized walls allow for the brave to dive up to 50 feet into the clear aqua water.

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Photography by Angela Auclair

2. Spend a late afternoon sipping a Red Stripe beer while you rock out to live reggae music at Rick’s Café. Watch experienced cliff divers show off their acrobatic talents as they fearlessly jump 30 feet into the seawater below. Even better, bare witness to a few brave tourists attempts.

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Photography by Angela Auclair

3. It’s worth climbing the narrow stairs of the historic Negril Lighthouse to experience the most famous sunset around. Be sure to tip the caretaker for helping you make your way up the (somewhat frightening) trip to the top.

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Photography by Angela Auclair

Jamaica Gallery

3 Days in Savannah

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Day 1

MORNING Have a light breakfast at your hotel, you’ll want to save room for lunch.

MID-MORNING Make it a design day. Start at Forsyth Park and enjoy the majestic fountain before you stroll along Bull Street to West Jones Street for some shopping.

12 NOON Get in line early (10:30-11:00 am) because you won’t want to miss family style dining at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room.

AFTERNOON After a large meal, take a walk through the Design District on Whitaker Street. Visit One Fish, Two Fish, Arcanum and No. Four Eleven.

LATE AFTERNOON Book a tour at Mercer House and enjoy the interiors (and the tiny garden) so deliciously described in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Shop the Mercer Carriage Store for goodies to take back home.

EVENING Once you’ve walked off your lunch and gained an appetite again, have a delicious urban-style meal at Local 11 Ten.

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Day 2

MORNING Have a tasty breakfast at B. Matthew’s on East Bay Street.

MID-MORNING Continue along East Bay Street and shop the Factors Walk towards City Market.

12 NOON You must be hungry again? Stop for a cheesy slice at Vinnie Van Go-Go.

AFTERNOON Dedicate at least three hours to shopping on Broughton Street.

LATE AFTERNOON Coffee time. Make it a café au lait at The Paris Market & Brocante.

EVENING Head back towards East Bay Street for a lovely meal and great views at Vic’s On the River.

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Day 3

MID-MORNING If you’ve got time for a day trip you won’t want to miss Tybee Island.

12 NOON Enjoy some fresh seafood at the Crab Shack: “Where the elite eat and shop in their bare feet.”

AFTERNOON Lounge on the beach and take advantage of the Savannah sun.

EVENING Return to Savannah for a fabulous meal at the Olde Pink House. If you don’t see a ghost there, take a late night Ghost Walking Tour.

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Savannah: Top 5 Travel Destinations

1  For low-country seaside it’s is a quick drive to Tybee Island.  Visit the Crab Shack: “Where the elite eat in their bare feet”. On your way back, stop at the entrance of Fort Pulaski and see fisherman catching trout at the Cockspur Island Bridge. If you go at dusk, you might see a herd of white-tailed deer grazing in the marshes.

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2  Seen the movie, read the book, know the story?  Tour the Mercer House in Monterey Square and you’ll enter the real-life setting of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The historic home still showcases much of Jim William’s collection of fine furniture, art and accessories.

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Mercer House

3  Looking for affordable souvenirs? The City Market has plenty. Plus  restaurants, bars, art, galleries and a little touristy shopping.

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4  If you plan to shop River Street wear comfortable shoes to navigate the cobblestone streets. Start at the top of the hill and visit the antique stores and restaurants at Factors Walk. 

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The Cotton Exchange

5  Perhaps North America’s earliest urban planning, Savannah’s squares (21 in total)  form a smart  grid and have been a backdrop to countless films including Robert Redford’s Conspirator.

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Forsyth Park

 

Savannah: Top 5 Restaurants

1  Although we can’t guarantee a ghost sighting as rumoured, at the Olde Pink House does deliver great food (try the Shrimp and Grits appetizer) and a charming atmosphere. Dine in beautifully appointed rooms and then take dessert in the  basement pub where the live music infuses the party.

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Sautéed Local Shrimp w/Country Ham Gravy & Cheddar Cheese Grits Cake

 

2   Experience southern food, boarding house style at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room. Come early and be prepared to wait in line for at least an hour (yup, it’s worth it!). Once inside you’ll sit family style at a table that’s set for 10 but ready to feed 20.  It’s all for sharing, so try a bit of everything, but save room for banana pudding. And mind your manners – return your dishes to the kitchen just as President Obama does when he visits.

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Home Southern cooking at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room

3  A long day of exploring Savannah’s  squares earns you a treat from Leopold’s Ice Cream. Try  the Tutti Frutti and you’ll understand why Johnny Mercer wrote the famous song of the same name.

4  Looking for a taste of Manhattan in the south? Then Local 11 Ten hits the spot. Start the evening with a Gin, Lime Juice and Basil cocktail  on the upstairs patio.

5   For a great view and good food, Vic’s on the River rewards. Try southern classics like Fried Green Tomatoes and Crab Cakes . 

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Crab cakes at Vic’s on the River

 

Savannah: Top 5 Travel Experiences

1  Immerse yourself in history with a visit to the First African Baptist Church, built by enslaved people in 1859. The church was once a stop on the Underground Railroad as evidenced by the drill holes in the floor, just above a four foot crawl space that runs under the church and out to the sea.

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First African Baptist Church member, Rebecca Wilson

2  If design and decorating appeal, then touring Savannah’s Historic Houses  is a must. The Owen-Thomas House is a beautiful example of English Regency architecture complete with period touches like faux-marbre (marble) and faux bois (wood).

3 A riverboat cruise on board the Georgia Queen or the Savannah River Queen transports you up the Savannah River in style.  A sail on the one-hour stern wheel riverboat replicas includes a narrated history lesson. Plan ahead because the tours have fixed departure times.

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Georgia Queen and the Talmadge Memorial Bridge

4  The Savannah College of Art and Design attracts more than 8,000 talented students each year. Lucky for us as their art works are sold in stores and cafes and at the SCAD Art Museum Bring a southern memento home.

5- In Savannah, ghost are rumoured to be friendly and very much present. We didn’t have any encounters on our visit, but if you’re dying to see one for yourself, do one of the Savannah Ghost Walks and enter some of the cities most haunted buildings at night.

Savannah: Top Décor Spots

1  If vintage and antique furniture and accessories appeals, Savannah’s a great destination. Try Jeres Antiques which has 33,000 square feet to browse in.

2  It’s likely you intent to tour the Mercer House, but if time is short, at least make time to visit Mercer House Carriage Shop. Take home a copy of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil or go big and purchase the Bird Girl statue replica that graces the cover of the book.

3  When you’re shopping on Broughton Street, be sure to pop into 24e and  DC2 Design for contemporary furnishings and accessories.

4 Madame Chrysanthemum is the scented laboratory of florist Michelle Mikulec. The garden shop has great displays and vintage style treasures to take home.

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Madame Chrysanthemum

5  Alex Raskin Antiques claims they are the most interesting store in Savannah and we agree. Located on Bull Street, the old house turned store has architectural salvage, furniture, mirrors, accessories and more.

Savannah: Top 5 Design Stores

Author Susan Sully spent a day with Dabble and shared her favourite shopping spots.  As Savannah’s design scene is really a combination of coastal, West Indies and southern country style we’re sure you’ll find plenty to love.

1 Paris Market & Brocante is two floors of European charm. Furniture, art, accessories and antiques are acquired by owner Paula Danyluk who shops the globe.

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2  It’s easy to find something you love at One Fish, Two Fish, located in the Design District (near Mercer House and Mrs. Wilkes),  Jennifer Beaufait Grayson’s store has an eclectic mix of new and painted furniture, bedding, bath, books and jewelry.

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 3  The ultimate coastal store is No. Four Eleven. In addition to a disciplined nautical theme, the store specializes in monogram linens and vintage finds.

4  Shop  Savannah College of Art and Design’s shopSCAD for painted canvasses, photography, sculptures, jewellery, clothing and more. Buy a piece of art and who knows, it might be worth millions one day!

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5  Interior design duo Sim Harvey and Phillip Harvey are the masterminds behind Arcanum, the spot for furnishings and antiques.

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Nashville’s Top 5 Food Finds

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Nashville’s southern fare is getting a makeover, as Lena Diaz’s taste buds discovered.

Redefining Dining

1. Set in the residential neighbourhood of historic Germantown is City House, with a menu that marries Italian ingredients to traditional southern cooking. Try the chocolate pecan pie; a light shell with a chocolate, rum and pecan filling topped with coffee, caramel gelato. Hello heaven. Fun fact: Most cocktails are named after staff pets.

2. You’d never guess, with its unassuming cafeteria style setting and yellow painted cinder block walls, that Arnold’s is nearly as much an institution as the Grand Ole Opry. Come on in, grab a plastic tray and slide it towards your choice of meat and three (a Nashville tradition of 1 meat dish + 3 side dishes). Side dishes include collard greens, pinto beans, mashed potatoes and cornbread muffins to die for. Bring your stretchy pants.

3. Dinner at Margot is an herb-infused occasion where every dish from first to last leaves a fine impression. Start with an appetizer of Parmigiano Reggiano and Capriole goat cheese served with mostarda (candied fruit cooked in a spicy mustard flavoured syrup) and fresh focaccia bread; a great prelude to the daily house-made pastas.

4. Nashville’s iconic Loveless Cafe started as a pit stop in the early 1950s and, thankfully, neither the decor nor the home cookin’ has evolved. Biscuits served in a heap, waffles piled high with pecans and maple syrup; you wouldn’t want it any other way. The gift shop is a hoot; pick up a ‘Praise the Lard and pass the Biscuits’ tee shirt or some of their famous homemade jam.

5. Order a veggie lover’s taco of fried avocado with red onions, red cabbage, spicy dill sauce and cilantro at Mas Tacos. And add a cold Aqua Fresca (pineapple, cilantro and lime water) served over ice. Delicioso.

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Quebec City Gallery

Madagascar Unmasked

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Experience the wilderness of Madagascar in this travel post by guest blogger, Nellie Huang of WildJunket.com. Nellie was Dabble’s featured blogger in Issue 5‘s I Dabble In… profile.

There are few places as remote and wild as Madagascar, and even fewer that offer such fulfilling and authentic travel experiences.

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La Grand Isle (as it is known in French, meaning the big island) is like nowhere else on Earth: it is home to a unique group of endemic animals and plants which had evolved after the island’s separation from the African continent 165 million years ago. Only in this part of the world can you find cheeky lemurs, chameleons and ferocious fosas, as well as bizarre-looking baobab trees and spiny forests.

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We experienced the wilderness of Madagascar–sleeping in the forest, watching lemurs and chameleons in their natural habitat and flowing down rivers on dugout canoes.

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In the Kirindy forest, we saw the adorable grey mouse lemur upclose and personal and watched sifakas leap from one tree to another. At the Tsingy de Bemahara, we climbed sharp karst rock faces to get a awestriking view of the jungle from above. Back in the town of Belo-sur-Tsiribihina, we wandered through the colorful and bustling central market, taking in Malagasy culture. By the time we got to Morondava, we were thrilled to be feasting on cheap and delicious seafood at Chez Maggie.

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Kicking back at the laidback, empty beach town of Ifaty, where the ocean and spiny forests surround us, I’m writing this from our thatched-roof beachfront bungalow at the gorgeous Hotel Le Paradisier–the sun is setting before me and the ocean is turning from a shade of deep blue to golden. I’m blessed to be here, and can’t wait to see what more surprises Madagascar has to offer.

Madagascar is an excellent place to get in touch with raw, unspoiled nature. Read more about the wildlife, nature and beautiful people of Madagascar on Nellie’s blog, Wild Junket.

Seattle Gallery