Growing up in Marietta, Georgia, I had only one option for ice-skating: a spiritless indoor rink, where everyone in the entire state seems to come at the same time. It was practically an ice box packed with jostling skaters, some visibly sick from too much ice cream cake (the only snack offered other than pizza), and the music director assumed we would truly enjoy top 40 jams like MC Hammer's Pray in constant rotation.
Fortunately families now have alternate options.
Recently the St. Regis Atlanta (opened April 2009) started a new tradition—transforming its outdoor Grand Terrace into a festive ice skating rink.
After five years in the making, the Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe finally opened its doors to the public today. (Lucky first guests/skiers at the 170-room property were treated to a fresh snowfall.)
As a kid, I always looked forward to celebrating St. Nicholas’s Day in early December, when one of the older men at my church would dress up as St. Nicholas in traditional bishop’s robes and pass out delicious gingerbread cookies the size of my head.
Czechs also celebrate St. Nicholas’s Day (Mikuláš in Czech), but they do it with a sinister twist.
Full disclosure: I used to be a Radio City Rockette. And even though I retired a decade ago, this time of year always brings back memories of the start up of rehearsals and the build of excitement as kicking season approaches. I still like to check in on the ladies, just seven blocks up from our offices, and each year I am amazed that I was ever a part of that giant, glittery, moving entity that I always think of as a hyper-size, surreal, living version of a Hammacher Schlemmer music box.
Behold, in all its glory: my idea of heaven on a plate. Stone crab season officially opened a couple of weeks ago, and I took that as the perfect excuse to head down to the Florida Keys for a blissful weekend of sun and serious seafood binging. Three jumbo claws from the Islamorada Fish Company market, plus a cold Corona or two, made the perfect warm-weather lunch—just the thing to break up a day of snoozing in a hammock and frolicking in the surf.
Stone crab meat is not only amazingly succulent and sweet, it’s also a sustainable food product. (Only one claw is harvested at a time from each crab, which is returned to the ocean to regenerate its claw.)
Some of the best views of New York City are from the water. The Staten Island Ferry is the time-honored cheap method of getting out on the waves, and it’s worth the ride at least once—but you’re on a big, loud boat that, um, ends up at Staten Island. A more sublime experience is had onboard a sailboat, using nothing but the harbor wind for power. If you don’t happen to have your own schooner, that’s where the Shearwater comes in.