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Just Back From: Mount Desert Island, Maine

You’d have to be dead inside not to love Maine, with its breathtaking landscapes, fresh sea air, and honest food. While I was there last week, I ate my weight in lobster and fried clams and tried to get in as much hiking as possible to balance that out. Here are a few pointers for best spots to hit.

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On the drive in, stop at Lunt’s Lobster Pound (1137 Bar Harbor Rd., Trenton; 207/667-2620; lunch for two $40) for lobsters and a delicious, not-too-thick chowder.

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Sweet! Lesbians Offset Carbon Footprint of New Cruise

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This one's for the ladies only, guys. Sweet, recently launched by gay travel guru Shannon Wentworth, is a new tour operator for lesbians who care about the world they live in (which is most of you, right?). Wentworth teamed up with CarbonFund.org to figure out exactly how her trips could be carbon neutral (answer: by helping to reforest a large area along the Tensas River in Louisiana). Wentworth also plans to incorporate humanitarian projects into each of her trips.

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My Blue Cocktail Confession

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OK, it’s embarrassing to admit it, but I love a blue cocktail. I love the way it looks with a straw and little umbrella stuck in it. Maybe a maraschino cherry dropped on top. I think it’s the perfect accompaniment to coconut shrimp and a Caribbean sunset.

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Reasons to Visit Hamburg Right Now

200906-b-hamburgjpgWhen you think of Germany, maybe it's the new Berlin—with its cosmopolitan flair and growing arts scene—that comes to mind? (If it's Lederhosen and dirndls, you need to book a ticket now and update your idea of the place.)

For whatever reason, U.S. travelers tend to skip my home-away-from-home, Hamburg. I lived here in the north of Germany off and on for several years in the '90s and make a visit to the Hanseatic city at least once a year. The town has a pedigree of chic (natives include Karl Lagerfeld and Jil Sander), more canals than Venice, and parks galore, but there are many more reasons to go, as I found out on a visit last month:

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How to Do St. Bart's Affordably

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On a recent trip to St. Bart's, I spotted the owner of the Revlon empire, Ron Perelman, on his yacht in Gustavia Harbor, a Rockefeller or two shopping in the village of St. Jean, and Jon Bon Jovi having dinner at Eden Rock. Sure, they can afford the prices here—it's the winter getaway of the rich and famous, after all. But what about we normal, not-so-recession-proof folk?Here's my short list for how to do the island affordably:

STAY: The Hôtel Baie des Anges, on the northwest corner of the island, is on one of the prettiest beaches around—it also shares its sands with the tony Hotel Isle de France. The people watching here is great. The really good news?Rates here dropped significantly on  Apr. 1 (from $415 to $230 for a double room). (Flamands; 590/27-63-61; doubles from $230)

EAT: The year-old beach-front shack O'Corail is run by a local sister/brother team. He's a fisherman. She runs the restaurant. They serve the freshest-caught fish, straight from his boat. (This is big for St. Barts: seasonality and eating local is just catching on here; neighboring Le Sereno hotel brags about its Madagascar prawns, to illustrate my point.) O'Corail does lunch all week and dinner only on weekends. At lunch, order a rum punch and the spiny lobster salad and watch the dozens of kite surfers fly across the Grand Cul de Sac. (Grand Cul de Sac; 590/29-33-27; lunch for two $60)

DO: Rent snorkle gear at Marine Service and head to Gouverneur Beach. It's secluded, with crystal blue water and the some of the best snorkling on the island: My boyfriend and I spotted French anglefish, sargeant majors, sea turtles, rays, and a nurse shark. (Quai du Yacht Club, Gustavia; 590/590-27-70-34; daily gear rentals, from $20)

Clark Mitchell is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure.

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