Tag: Travel

Crazy-crooked houses, picturesque canals — it’s Louisville to Amsterdam for a $51,000 week-long visit

An occasional look at premium travel from Louisville.

Boulevard loves Amsterdam: whimsical, cockeyed houses lining romantic canals; the recently reopened Rijksmuseum of Dutch Masters after an extensive renovation, and friendly, liberal-minded residents. And that’s not to mention all those coffee shops selling fine marijuana. Indeed, there’s even more to savor in a recent New York Times story about the city: Amsterdam, Revisited. (And don’t miss its fresh update on “36 Hours in” Holland’s capital. Now, consider the following five-star itinerary.

When: Oct. 12-19. Airline: Delta. Route: Louisville to Detroit to Amsterdam, 10 hours and 17 minutes travel time, including a one-hour layover in Detroit. How much: $7,479, economy to Minneapolis and business class to Amsterdam. Delta reservations.

TripAdvisor recommends the five-star Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam. The Brentano Suite is available during these travel dates for $4,721 per night; that’s the lovely sitting area, belowReservations. And of course, don’t forget Airbnb Amsterdam apartments.


The bottom line

For two travelers: airfare, hotel, plus $400 a day for meals, museum tickets and other incidentals: $51,000.

More fashionable (and cool!) than ever: Louisville to seaside R.I. for a $12,000 weekend getaway

An occasional look at premium travel from Louisville.

Labor Day traditionally brings the summer to a close, and next weekend’s Louisville weather forecast calls for a scorcher, with temperatures rising to a steamy 90 degrees. Along with a presidential campaign that seems hotter by the minute, it’s time to scadadle — in style.

Todd Oldham

Let’s follow the example of Gilded Age one-percenters, and head for a fresh summer getaway in Rhode Island. (That’s where telecommuting Boulevard Publisher Jim Hopkins is working right now.) Along the way, we’ll stop at the fabulous Rhode Island School of Design Museum in Providence for the new Todd Oldham fashion retrospective; that’s one of the designer’s more exuberant gowns in the photo, top. The exhibit runs through Sept. 11. Here’s our itinerary:

When: Friday to Tuesday. Airline: Delta. Route: Louisville to Detroit to Providence; total travel time is four hours, including a 40-minute layover in Detroit. We’ll then take a 42-mile scenic car ride to our final destination: Watch Hill. How much: $780 per ticket, for economy to Detroit, then premium economy to Providence. Delta reservations.

But with all the money we’ve saved without flying first/business, we can easily afford to stay at one of New England’s premier seaside resorts: Ocean House in Watch Hill. Part of the Relais & Chateaux group, Ocean House opened in 2010 as a meticulous re-creation of the original property lost to time and neglect. The present resort has 49 rooms and 18 suites.

Ocean House
The resort overlooks an emerald-green croquet lawn.

Our choice: The Spa Suite, with spectacular Atlantic Ocean views from its private 600 square-foot terrace. Price: about $9,500 for four nights, subject to availability. Plus, it’s just 10 seconds as the champagne cork flies to pop superstar Taylor Swift’s $18 million summer estate.

The Spa Suite’s sitting area is an airy aerie.
Bottom line

Add meals and generous tips for staff maintaining amenities including the wear-only-white croquet green, and we’re looking at a $12,000 weekend for two.

Louisville to Provincetown, Mass., for a postcard-perfect $12,000 vacation of sun, sand — and surreal

An occasional look at premium travel from Louisville.

With the world’s attention focused on the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, what better time to jet off to Carnival — in Provincetown, Mass. Known to fans worldwide as P-town, the small, arty and very eclectic beach resort is perched on the tippy-tip of Cape Cod.

Provincetown aerial
At the tip of Cape Cod.

Held this year from Aug. 13 to 19, Carnival is one of the biggest annual outdoor celebrations in Massachusetts, attracting 90,000 revelers to an ultra-festive parade and parties from the east to west ends of lively Commercial Street along the waterfront. This year’s retro theme: “Back to the ’80s.” The Census Bureau says P-town is the gayest city in the world, which also means it’s all-inclusive.

The town’s year-round population is just 3,000, but swells to 60,000 during the summer, when seasonal residents and tourists from all around the world flock to its amazing seafood restaurants, art galleries, theaters, beaches and bike paths rolling through the dunes of the magnificent Cape Cod National Seashore Parks.

The itinerary

When: August 12-21. Airline: American and Cape Air. Route: Louisville to Chicago to Boston to Provincetown; total travel time is five hours and 30 minutes, excluding layovers. How much: $870; coach to Chicago, then first class to Boston. The Cape Air connecting flight is $318 aboard a nine-passenger prop. American reservations and Cape Air reservations.

If you don’t like the idea of small planes, two ferry companies offer frequent service from Boston to P-town: Boston Harbor Cruises and Bay State Cruise Co. Their fast-ferry service will get you there in about 90 minutes. By car from Boston’s Logan Airport, it’s about a 2½ drive.

Where to stay?

The Crowne Pointe Historic Inn and Spa hotel’s penthouse suite promises spectacular panoramic town views with two bedrooms; a chef’s kitchen with six-burner gas stove and double ovens, and two private decks. The rate: $749 a night, or $6,741 for our nine-day stay, excluding taxes.

Dina Martina

P-town’s theater scene is like nowhere else. Boulevard especially recommends the incomparable comedian Dina Martina: “tragic singer, horrible dancer, and surreal raconteur.” (Emphasis on the surreal.) When: through Sept. 17 at the Crown & Anchor Resort.

Don’t forget The New York Times’ 36 Hours in Provincetown; TripAdvisor’s Provincetown page, and Airbnb’s Provincetown rentals.

The bottom line

For two: airfare and hotel, plus $300 a day for meals and incidentals comes to just under $12,000.

Here’s a drone’s-eye view of what you’ll experience:

Das ist schön! Louisville to Berlin for a $32,000 gay tango festival weekend

An occasional look at premium travel from Louisville.

Tango has always been an art form friendly to same-sex couples — hardly surprising, when you consider one possible origin of the traditional Argentine dance is in Buenos Aires brothels, where men danced awaiting their turns for sexual assignations.

Now, with June’s gay pride month kicking off a busy summer of events for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender folks, The New York Times suggests the International Queer Tango Festival, July 28-31.

Let’s dance!

When: July 28-31. Airline: American. Route: Louisville to Washington to Berlin; total travel time: 16 hours and 30 minutes. How much: $7,720 per business-class ticket. Reservations.

For accommodations, the Waldorf Astoria Berlin ist schön, especially the King Presidential Suite — a large, luxurious apartment on the 31st floor. It sleeps four adults in two bedrooms with en suite bathrooms; a living room with a piano, fireplace; panoramic views from two balconies; a kitchen; separate office and service access. Here’s the view from a bedroom . . .

Corner bedroom
A corner room with Berlin at your feet.

. . . and the living room. Continue reading “Das ist schön! Louisville to Berlin for a $32,000 gay tango festival weekend”

Ball State defends $3.3M from Schnatter-Koch; more Humana-Aetna op; Ford GT back at Le Mans, and Brits say KFC server in Fla. was ‘most miserable’

Latest headlines, focused on big employers; updated at 4:37 p.m.

Ford GT Le Mans
Ford’s new GT faces Ferraris and other top rivals at famous French race again. Thousands have applied to buy one of the $400,000 supercars.

PAPA JOHN’S: Ball State University deflected concerns over accepting a $3.3 million donation from Papa John’s founder John Schnatter and the Charles Koch Foundation, to promote free enterprise, saying it wouldn’t subvert academic freedom (Star-Press). The March donation is only the latest from the two men.

Schnatter and Koch
Schnatter and Koch.

They gave $12 million to the University of Kentucky in December and $6.3 million to the University of Louisville in March 2015, in both cases also to establish free-enterprise institutes. Administrators there offered similar assurances about academic independence. But a contract UK signed and Schnatter’s views on capitalism point to a possibly sharp collision of goals. Schnatter graduated from Ball State in Muncie, Ind., in 1983, and started his pizza company the following year.

GE: In Appliance Park, new owner Haier is getting a facility that’s completely rebuilt itself from years of outsourcing and offshoring,” said John Shook, CEO of the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute, which advised long-time GE owner in trimming management and tweaking production. “GE Appliances is a lean producer with an engaged leadership that has done an excellent job involving the union workforce to build in quality on the front lines (Benzinga). China-based Haier completed the $5.6 billion deal a week ago today; Appliance Park has about 6,000 employees making refrigerators and other home appliances.

HUMANA and planned acquirer Aetna face increased opposition to the $37 billion deal — as do merger partners Anthem and Cigna — from a new coalition of consumer and medical groups worried about the consolidations,  which would shrink the healthcare insurance market to three major insurers from five (CT Mirror). Aetna officials have said recently the deal is still on track to close in this year’s second half. About Humana.

Edsel Ford II

FORD: Unfortunately misnamed Edsel Ford II leaves tomorrow for Le Mans to watch the new Ford GT return to the legendary race against Ferraris, Porches and Aston Martins, starting Sunday. Ford, 67, a great-grandson of the company’s founder, visited the track with his father, Henry Ford II, in 1966 when he was a teen to witness the Ford GT40 place 1-2-3. “Fifty years have gone by fast,” he said. “Seems like yesterday I was there with Dad” (Detroit Free Press). The GT racing is based on the all-new $400,000 supercar unveiled in January. Le Mans history. Edsel Ford is a consultant to the company and member of its board of directors. At this year’s annual meeting, he faced the most resistance from shareholders re-electing directors, apparently over the $650,000 Ford paid him as a consultant. About Ford in Louisville.

Watch video of the 1966 race, and the new car:

KFC: Job recruiters want to talk to you if you have a “friendly attitude and positive demeanor” at an open house on Thursday (CraigsList). Elsewhere in Maryland, firefighters responded to a mulch fire early Saturday afternoon that spread to the exterior of a KFC; no injuries were reported. Why was there mulch so close? The news report is silent on that important question (Carroll County Times). More about KFC corporate parent Yum.

In top culture news, Broadway’s Hamilton won 11 Tonys last night, including best musical — just shy of the record of 12 won by The Producers. Tickets are impossible to get, as we discovered when we found one for a whopping $7,075 in a travel story last month.

Oh, deer! We’re stalking a Louisville society columnist — and the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire

Our favorite shiny sheet scribe, Carla Sue Broecker of The Voice-Tribune, continues her overseas dispatches from Merry Old England, giving Boulevard another opportunity to post photos of real estate porn stately country houses we’d like to visit, too!

This week’s entry is Chatsworth House — “home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, set in Derbyshire’s magnificent Peak District. One of Britain’s greatest historic homes offers beautiful rooms, famous works of art, a 105-acre formal garden, farmyard and enough deer to feed all of Jefferson County!”

Yikes! That’s a lot of venison. We’d need 6,200 for all the county’s residents — plus Martha Stewart’s Roasted rack of venison with red currant and cranberry sauce. (Confidential to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and the TSA: better check Carla’s steamer trunks on the way back home!)

High tea
“One lump, or two?”

Chatsworth (photo, top) hasn’t remained standing all these 463 years through the efforts of serfs alone. Now, it requires day visitors and brides who put the “d” in destination weddings. The house is open through Nov. 4 this year. Tickets are £23 for adults ($33.50 at current exchange rates). For £40 a ticket ($58), you’ll also get a traditional afternoon British tea. (“Homemade dainty finger sandwiches of smoked salmon and cream cheese, roasted ham and wholegrain mustard, free-range egg mayonnaise and cress and cucumber and mature cheese, plus cakes and pastries.”)

Jane Austen featured Chatsworth in her 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice, and it stood in for Fitzwilliam Darcy’s Pemberley in the 2005 film adaptation starring Keira Knightly (swoon!) and Matthew Macfadyen (double-swoon!). Let’s watch: