In and around the Gulou district of China’s development-hungry capital, an enclave of hutongs—alleys formed by walls of traditional courtyard residences—has managed to dodge the wrecking ball. Determined to preserve the charm (and avoid the fate of hutongs in nearby Nanluoguxiang, now overrun with souvenir shops), entrepreneurs have moved deeper into these narrow streets. French-owned Wuhao showcases one-off furniture and accessories by emerging talents. At Good Design Institute, everyday objects get a twist, such as lampshades made of bed slats. Serk stocks carbon-fiber bikes—and doubles as a bar serving Belgian beer. For a more local tipple, head to Mai (40 Beiluoguxiang, Dongcheng), known for its craft cocktails.
Photo courtesy of Serk
The before/after photographs are harrowing: in the first, a
postcard-perfect Italian village, with pine-green shutters and lemon and rose
façades, lapped by the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. In the next, the
same village buried in a horrifying avalanche of mud, its harbor now the color
and consistency of cement.
On October 25, flooding from a freak rainstorm devastated
the town of Vernazza, one of the five villages that make up the celebrated
Cinque Terre in Liguria . Rivers of water and mud cascaded down the steep and
narrow streets, burying the town’s lowest levels in as much as 13 feet of
debris, while also overwhelming the railroad tracks that provided the primary
way in or out of Vernazza. (Part of the Cinque Terre’s allure is that four of
its cliff-hugging villages are accessible only by train, boat, or hiking
In our November issue, which just hit newsstands, you’ll find our seventh annual Global Vision Awards, which recognize the new leaders in responsible travel. This year, our winners included everything from Misool Eco Resort, a visionary property that’s responsible for setting up the first shark and ray sanctuary in Indonesia, to Rancho La Puerta, a luxury spa in Baja, Mexico that’s championing ecological restoration and education in the local community. In their own unique ways, these progressive thinkers represent the travel community’s best, most innovative solutions to some of the world’s most vexing problems: climate change, environmental degradation, cultural erosion, and economic inequality.
Last Friday, we invited our jurors and winners to New York City for our first-ever Global Vision Awards luncheon and round-table discussion, which took place at The Lambs Club in midtown’s Chatwal Hotel. Read on to see how the conversation unfolded.
I was one of the lucky New Yorkers who caught a brief, colorful glimpse of Papua New Guinea recently. At an event sponsored by luxury tour operator Absolute Travel and the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority, two tribesmen—a Wigman from the Huli tribe and a Mudman from the Asaro tribe—performed and mingled with the crowd to promote travel to PNG. The promotion worked. I want to go.
Summer might technically end on September 21, but a few goodfolks are letting New Yorkers prolong the spirit: from September 23–25, the Hammer and Claws Blue Crab Feast will hit Chelsea for the first time, bringing an authentic, Maryland-style (steamed in beer, vinegar, and water, and dusted with Old Bay seasoning), all-you-can-eat blue crab feast right up to the Hudson Harbor. Tickets for each of the weekend’s four seatings cost $118, and include all the fixings—plus beer and cocktails. And it’s all for a good cause, no less.
This fall, after many of the 3.7 million annual tourists have packed their cameras and left Yosemite National Park, the National Parks Service will begin culling young trees to open up views of the iconic granite faces and dramatic waterfalls that ring the valley.
Is your Bucket List in need of a little inspiration?
UNESCO to the rescue! Last week, its World Heritage Committee officially inscribed 25 new World Heritage Sites, bringing the swelling number to a whopping 936 worldwide.
Joining the ranks of recognized world wonders like Stonehenge, the Statue of Liberty, and Ayers Rock are the Longobards in Italy (above), seven buildings built by the Scandi-Germanic Lombard tribe who, during their powerful 6th- to 8th-century reign, established a distinct culture and architectural style that began Europe’s evolution from Antiquity to the Middle Ages.