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Bogart, Bromfield And A Farm For The Stars

I have a dim memory of a visit to my grandparents in Tullahoma, Tennessee, when I was a child. In the memory, incandescent lights deepen the yellow of the pine paneling, with its knots that at times looked like the face of Jesus to my grandmother, or so she claimed. The television is on: Humphrey Bogart’s face broods in silver and shadow. I can perceive that same dry-passion of a little but powerful man in the face of my grandfather. The scene simmers-fades-flickers in my mind like a film itself. I am not even sure if it ever happened. But the essential truth of it—of men capable and answerable to the hard decisions quintessential to the fighting of world war—looms and insists with staid and immovable presence. Another image invades. My grandfather again, this time outside in mid-spring at Morris Ferry Dock near Tullahoma, the water full of green reflection. His thin body merely makes a hanger for his coveralls and tweed fedora. He is lying on the boardwalk while my father (his son) and I fish. Radiation has made

24 HOURS OF EATING: HO CHI MINH CITY

If you read my introduction to Vietnam, you’ll know that we mistakenly booked only 48 hours in Ho Chi Minh City. And, one full day was dedicated to the Mekong Delta. So, here we were, challenged with consuming all our desired items in ONE DAY. Vietnamese food incorporates the freshest ingredients, with complex, complementary textures, yielding one of our all-time favorite cuisines. You’ll also come across many exotic dishes in Vietnam, like balut (fertilized duck egg with the embroyo still inside), silk worms and shark fins. The country does not waste anything when it comes to cooking, and if you dig deep enough, you’ll realize that many of your favorite dishes have some not-so-common ingredients within. Do NOT ask questions if this will ruin the experience for you. Also, in the North, dogs, cats and rats are commonly available at street-side stalls. We fortunately didn’t encounter this during our short time in the south; household pets (and rats) are so not our thing. Here’s how we maximized our consumption in a day – totaling 10 stops. And please note: this is

Aladdin-Inspired Adventures

As the debut of Disney’s Aladdin draws near, we’re growing excited to see the story unfold. Filmed in Jordan, the live-action version of one of Disney’s most beloved animated features takes inspiration from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights and from many different countries and cultures. Our journeys throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia showcase a treasure trove of Aladdin-inspired adventures; hop a carpet and fly with us to explore them all. The Cave of Wonders A secret passageway through narrow cliffs leads to a forgotten, abandoned city carved directly into the rocks. It’s not a legend: it’s Petra, the ancient Nabataean city hidden in Jordan. Deserted in the third century BCE, this UNESCO-listed wonder remains one of the most visited sites in the world. Ker & Downey also brings our clients to Little Petra, a nearby sister city that is less frequented, but no less fascinating. Magical Palaces Brightly tiled facades, turquoise cupolas, and geometric patterns are hallmarks of architecture throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. Registan Square in the city of Samarkand,

The Top 10 Must-Dos in Croatia

Traveling to Croatia checks off so many of our European must-haves: sparkling coastlines, historic walled cities, and delicious food. But in case you need more reasons to travel to this Eastern European getaway, we present our top ten must-dos in Croatia (including more food). Walk Through Dubrovnik Rise and shine to a view of the old town’s red tiled roofs, baroque buildings, and narrow, steep limestone streets. It’s a vision that will be familiar if you watch Game of Thrones. Like us, author George Bernard Shaw was enchanted by Dubrovnik, describing it as “the pearl of the Adriatic.” Once a powerful seafaring republic, Dubrovnik has survived the tides of time and remained one of the most beautiful cities on earth. UNESCO thinks so too: the Old City is listed as a World Heritage Site. Sample Local Culinary Creations Global connoisseurs probably already have Croatia on their menu. The entire region is known for its fantastic food and wine, and the best way to sample it is in a charming family-owned restaurant. When you’re planning a custom trip to Croatia, the Ker

Eat Your Way through Bangkok

Adventurous foodies unite, and allow me to introduce you to the best dining destination in the world: Bangkok. If you first read my overview of the capital, you’ll know that the city doesn’t sleep. In fact, I’m pretty convinced it also never stops eating. The food options are endless, and we only had two full days to taste the city. This is torturous to foodies, but we accepted the challenge with rigor. Here are our eating recommendations, beginning with the most worthwhile contributor to the scene, quintessential to your Bangkok experience: street food. STREET FOOD If you’ve caught wind of the “street food is being banned” buzz this past spring, fear not: The Tourism Authority of Thailand quickly released a clarifying statement, assuring us that street food will prevail. With that, street food is just about everywhere in Bangkok, at every hour. The one exception is Monday, during the day, as official street cleaning takes place and street stalls resultantly take a quick hiatus. Plan accordingly to avoid disappointment. And hanger. The (unofficial) street food mecca of Bangkok is the

Taylor Hagood: Key West Dreaming

When I received my Ph.D. in a year I shall not name, a friend of mine gave me a book written by Joy Williams entitled The Florida Keys: A History and Guide. I was about to move to Florida to start a job as a professor, and I had little concept of the Keys. The only thing I knew about the place was that there was a store in Key West named Fast Buck Freddie’s because my family then had a refrigerator magnet manufacturing business, and Fast Buck Freddie’s carried the products. Fast Buck Freddie’s: I love writing that. It seems to me that if South Florida should ever become a nation of its own it could be called Fast Buck Freddie’s. But back to Williams’s book, as I looked at the cover, with its blue sky and palm fronds with a beach peeking through, I had no idea how deeply my life would take root in Florida. I remember moving down, my father driving a U-Haul while I drove my red Nissan pickup truck (that as I now write has over

“Glamping” Safaris in Africa

The allure of wild African safaris beckon visitors to experience unforgettable adventures and unique personal experiences. Having grown up in Africa, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have spent many a night on safari, and my fondest memories in life are those derived from being immersed in such a pristine natural environment. As a result, I often yearn to be back driving across the endless plains of the Serengeti, dotted with wildebeest and zebra on their annual migration in search of greener pastures. I also have rich memories of gliding silently across the crystal clear waters of Botswana’s Okavango Delta in a mokoro (dugout canoe) through papyrus fringed channels listening to the nearby grunt of a hippo and the unmistakable cry of an African Fish Eagle. Experiencing Nature’s Wonderland The word “safari” is derived from the Swahili language and roughly translates to “a journey.” Traditionally this would have involved a small tent pitched deep in the wilds with little or no infrastructure surrounding it. Today many safaris are offered with a distinct air of sophistication, and often with super luxurious

Take A Bite Out Of New Orleans

10 MUST-TRY RESTAURANTS (& WHAT TO ORDER) New Orleans has serious soul. Its rich heritage and distinct culture are discernable with all five senses. There’s music everywhere! And not just classic New Orleans jazz. Ten-piece brass bands congregate on street corners, and talented, solo rappers spit beats (the city gave us Lil Wayne, after all). I can’t imagine a quiet New Orleans. There’s a celebration for everything, and the city goes all out. New Orleans remains alive 24 hours a day, partially because the nightlife rolls straight into the morning. Beads aren’t just prominent around Mardi Gras: If you look up, you’ll likely find a few strapped in the trees and balconies year-round. La Nouvelle, as it once was called, is dressed in history; the diverse architecture reflects the city’s unique past. Its earliest roots were with the French (1718), overlain by the Spanish and personalized by residents from the Caribbean Isles. By the time Americans took over in 1803, each culture had left its distinctive mark. You’ll notice brightly painted Creole cottages in the French Quarter, and the most

Taylor Hagood: Bourbon Street Blues

I imagine myself to be one of a minority of people who prefer New Orleans in the morning. Give me bright sunshine, with palm fronds glistening, the heat and humidity already both menacing and languid, the streets webbed with runnels of fresh water dripping from hanging ferns and washing away the vomit of the night before. Few places blend garbage and beauty so well as New Orleans—no place does better, except maybe Naples, Italy. The garbage makes quite a few visitors nervous, especially folks I have known from the Midwest. But garbage is an important part of the city, and really it is hardly fair to separate it from the city’s haunting European-style beauty. For there is a lovely aesthetic in the gleaming black of 40-gallon garbage bags filled to bursting with the left-overs of some of the finest restaurants in the world. Piled in mute excess, even in the Vieux Carré, bulged like old-time friars dozing into accomplishing daylight, they emblematize the genuine love of pleasure over work and efficiency the city has always been better at than the

A Gift for Two: Ker & Downey’s Romantic Getaways

Whether planning for an upcoming honeymoon or treating someone you love to a memorable gift, let these romantic getaways serve as your inspiration. Our favorite amorous getaways from around the world feature private experiences and amenities with lovers in mind. Is your heart racing yet?  Foodie Love | Dar Ahlam, Morocco If the way to your heart is your stomach, head to the Skoura Oasis to get your fill. Incredible private dining awaits in secret spaces on the manicured grounds, and on a drive into the Atlas Mountains for an indulgent evening under the stars. The Creative Heart | Ellerman House, South Africa Pair fine wines and fine art at the celebrated Ellerman House consistently ranked as one of the top hotels in the world by top travel publications like Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler. With the recent addition of a custom-crafted wine cellar guests can now sample 7,500 vintages in an inspiring, intimate environment. For the Love of Nature | Hotel Paracas, Peru Peru’s southern coast is alive with history and outdoor encounters. Soar over the mysterious Nazca