Great Britain takes centre stage/top 10 hotels New York City/best beaches!
Nice bash at the Gardiner Museum last night to celebrate the year of Great Britain.
Well, it's not OFFICIALLY the year of GB, but it may as well be given the goings on with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics/Paralympics.
I kinda think of Brits as being a tad reserved, not unlike Canadians were before the Vancouver Olympics changed us into fire-breathing, chest-beating dragons. But just as the Olympics helped us move a little further out of our shells, so are the Olympics, it seems, pushing Britons.
I mean, have you seen the campaign and the stickers at Union Station and all that, the big signs that say things like MUSIC IS GREAT Britain? I mean, wow, that's not upper class British restraint talking.
Mind you, this is a country that deserves to be front and centre whenever the subject of greatness comes up. Faults? Sure. But a giant (sorry, GREAT) brochure they passed around at last night's soiree paints a pretty solid picture.
Innovation? British ideas and inventions have helped shape the world; everything from the telephone to the World Wide Web (I thought that came from the U.S. but who knows), from the jet engine to the space plane.
Creativity? The brochure talks about how the likes of Damien Hirst, Adele and Hogwarts "exist side by side" with Shakespeare, Elgar and Turner. Not to mention John, Paul, George and Ringo.
Learning? Cambridge University (beautiful campus by the way) has been voted the top university in the world, while Britain has spawned the likes of Stephen Hawking, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.
I didn't know this, but a speaker at the Gardiner event said that both Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason are owned by Canadians or Canadian companies, as is the giant Westfield shopping centre that will be a huge focus at the Olympic Games.
So, yeah, it's a pretty good time to check out GREAT Britain...
TOP NEW YORK HOTELS
Interesting list in USA Today today; a top ten of the best hotels in New York City.
The Setai Fifth Avenue (see photo), Hotel Casablanca, Crosby Street Hotel, Sherry-Netherland Hotel, Hotel Elysee, The Pearl Hotel, Trump SoHo New York, Distrikt Hotel New York City, Andaz Fifth Avenue and Andaz Wall Street.
I honestly don't know much about the company, but USA Today's Barb DeLollis says they use reviews from 90 online sources as well as a proprietary algorithm, which certainly sounds impressive.
DeLollis said the Distrikt is probably the most affordable of the bunch and that she went online and found there was just one room left for tonight, set at a modest $229.
If anyone has ever stayed at a Setai or the Setai Fifth Avenue in New York, I'd love to know what you think, so drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. DeLollis says the hotel's house car is a Maserati. I think I should check in sometime and ask if I can take it for a spin around Manhattan. That'd be some kinda cool. But I think I'd rather have a convertible.
SAN DIEGO TOPS BEST BEACH LIST
Dr. Beach, the Florida-based scientist who rates beaches, has come up with his best in the USA for 2012. In order:
Coronado Beach (San Diego, see photo), Kahanamoku Beach (Oahu, Hawaii), Main Beach (East Hampton, New York), St. George Island State Park (St. George Island, Florida), Hamoa Beach (Maui, Hawaii), Coast Guard Beach (Eastham, Massachusetts), Waimanolo Bay Beach Park (Oahu, Hawaii), Cape Florida State Park (Key Biscayne, Florida), Beachwalker Park (Kiawah Island, South Carolina) and Cape Hatteras (Outer Banks, North Carolina).
I can certainly attest to Hamoa Beach being a great one one on Maui's south shore. If I recall, it was voted by a certain Mark Twain as one of the most beautiful in the world.
TOMORROW: FInal thoughts on my recent trip to Nova Scotia, this time focussing on Wolfville....And starting Monday, my first-ever trip to the YUKON....