A Winter Visit to the Brewery Gulch Inn and Mendocino’s Crab, Wine and Beer Festival

We love off-season travel because of the reduced crowds and bargain accommodation rates. Last winter we drove from San Francisco to Mendocino to attend the annual Crab, Wine & Beer Days – a fun family experience – especially if you savor the taste of freshly cooked Dungeness crab.

Getting to Mendocino

Starting at San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge on highway 101, the drive to Mendocino takes about 3 hours. The last half of the trip from Cloverdale along highways 126 and 1 will take you back to a time when all rural California roads were scenic and fun to drive.

It was a beautiful day, and we zipped along 126 dashing between tree cover to sunshine, and constantly pointing out new exciting sightings in the ever changing panorama.


We arrived in Mendocino around 3pm and drove directly to the Brewery Gulch Inn just off picturesque highway 1. This highly recommended B&B would be our home for the coming event days.

Our welcome


The appearance of wild turkeys next to the gravel parking lot was a nice touch, and a precursor to the unusual rustic luxuries we would find during our stay at the this AAA Four Diamond inn.


When we plan to write about a place we stay, we look for the little details that will help us define the property. In the case of the Brewery Gulch Inn there was an old wheel barrow near the inn’s entrance, and a seen-better-days motor boat in the side of the parking lot. Both these unusual accoutrements got us wondering about the inn’s reputation for richness, but any misgivings on first appearances vanished upon entering the building and experiencing the homey reception and the elegant, designed for living, Great Room.


We were greeted at check-in by owner/innkeeper Guy Pacurar. Guy purchased the inn in 2007 to fill a “Bob Newhart” fantasy. Guy is a congenial host and the go-to-guy for information about Mendocino and the Brewery Gulch Inn.

The accommodations


The Great Room is the focal point of the Brewery Gulch Inn. At its center is a magnificent four-sided steel and glass fireplace enshrined in a room of towering wood and 13-foot high redwood French doors.


The doors open to a spacious deck with sweeping views overlooking the ever-changing Pacific and Smuggler’s Cove. This is an architectural design perfectly suited to its setting.


Add a measure of overstuffed leather chairs and 1930’s style oak dining tables, and you have the makings of the ideal gathering and dining room.

The Pelican Room


Climbing the stairs to our second floor guestroom, we noted the inn was much larger than we anticipated. You can choose from eleven sleeping rooms to suit your taste along with an unattached cottage.


All the rooms and suites elegantly avoid being trendy or too thematic. All are finely appointed with a warm touch of appropriate place and kind furnishings.

Time for dinner

We had heard rave reviews about the inn’s complimentary evening “light” buffet. Don’t believe the “light” description. We enjoyed two great dinner meals at the inn’s casual buffet. Additionally, this every-evening event is carefully calibrated by the management to assure a sense of comfort and informality.

Served with a variety of wines, beers, and soft drinks, the inn’s nightly all-you-can-eat spread was more than enough for any evening meal, and it was delicious.

First night menu


Tuscan Ragout of Beef in a Deep Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Tri-Color Marble Potatoes with Horseradish Sour Cream

Crab-Cocktails, with Meyer Lemon Slaw

Balsamic Glazed Grilled Endives

Grilled Japanese Eggplant with Sweet Chili Sauce


We finished off with a delectable Cinnamon Banana Brioche Bread Pudding

So who needs to eat elsewhere!

Dreaming about tomorrow

After a restful night on luxurious bed linens, and a delicious breakfast (more about that later), we headed out for our first adventure.


It was a crisp morning and perfect for exploring the many sites of Mendocino. After walking around town and checking out the boutiques and shops, we headed for the Point Cabrillo Light Station.


Still working off our hearty breakfast, we were grateful for the opportunity to walk the half-mile from the parking lot to the Light Station.


The clean salt air was brisk and the walk invigorating.


We chatted with the light station attendant in the museum/gift shop, and spent a good part of our sunny afternoon walking along the headlands and gazing out over the vast Pacific. On our day, we saw hundreds of whale spout sightings far off in the distance.

Returning to the inn just in time for some complimentary wine, we rested our weary feet by settling into two of the easy chairs on the inn’s deck overlooking Smuggler’s Cove.


Time passed quickly, and it was once again the hour for another of the inn’s extraordinary “light” buffets.


A perfect ending to a wonderful day.

The following morning


Light streamed through the tall glass windows illuminating the rich interior of the Great Room with its period oak tables and upholstered furniture.

The breakfast at the Brewery Gulch Inn is magnificent.


On this morning we had our choice of a crab and avocado omelet,


or cheesy eggs, and blueberry pancakes – both of which were mouth-watering delicious. They also served “Millionaire’s Bacon,” which is a thick slice of lean bacon seasoned with hot peppers. Actually, not our cup of tea, but other guests raved about it.

After breakfast we headed for the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.


Even in winter, the Mendocino Gardens are worth a visit.


There are ample species of flowers to enjoy, and the trails to the ocean are a terrific way to pass a sunlit afternoon.


Be sure to take along your best buddies, because the gardens are pet friendly.


It took us several minutes to walk to the ocean where we sat and once again watched the distant whales frolicking on their way to the warm waters of Mexico.

Time for crab tasting


Because these were Crab, Wine, and Beer Days we were anxious to sample the best of what the local restaurants had to offer by way of crustacean delights. We decided to have dinner at a highly recommended establishment, the Little River Inn.


The Little River Inn is well known for excellent crab cakes, and we were in the mood. The Brewery Gulch inn and the Little River Inn are just a short distance apart.


Dining at The Little River Inn restaurant is comfortably elegant. The atmosphere and service were outstanding, and the menu was designed to reflect the location. We found the menu choices to be sophisticated, yet approachable.

We made our selections from the Crab Specials Menu prepared especially for the days of the event.


Our starter was a Dungeness Crab Cocktail with home-made cocktail sauce, celery, and crackers. There’s nothing quite like the delicate taste of chilled and fresh Dungeness crab to excite and delight the palate.


We next tried the inn’s award winning Crab Cakes. We can’t describe what makes these crab cakes best in class, but we can report that they were definitely some of the best crab cakes we have tasted anywhere in the world. If you go, do not miss this delicious delicacy!


Keeping with the symphony of flavors, our next foray into Crab Days was the Dungeness Crab Pot Pie baked under a flaky crust and teeming with leeks, celery, onions, potatoes, and sweet peas. Exquisite!


Everything crab was topped off with an Olallieberry Cobbler,


and a Hot Fudge Sundae.

Having feasted to fatigue, it was back to the Brewery Gulch Inn for another night of snuggly slumber.

All too soon

We found the Brewery Gulch Inn to be an idyllic place for discriminating travelers, and we wish we could have stayed longer, but before we could say “more crab, please,” it was time to head for home.

There are so many interesting things to see and do in Mendocino that we are already looking forward to our next visit. Guy and wife Sarah have some super site recommendations; look here for their description of a perfect getaway to Mendocino and the Brewery Gulch Inn.


One of the activities they recommend is the 2.25 mile hike to Russian Gulch Falls. We did it and it is spectacular. Be sure to put it on your list.


In 2016 the Mendocino Crab, Wine and Beer Days will be held on January 29 and 30.

For more information and reservations at the Brewery Gulch Inn click here. Book now, and avoid disappointment.


Happy travels!


“Get out there, but be prepared.”

Whenever we travel, we are protected by Allianz Global Assist travel insurance.

You can plan your trips with Google Maps.

The opinions expressed in our articles are the journalists’ alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any entity.

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Judy Bayliff

The Captain’s Manor Inn: All the Delights of a Cape Cod Autumn

Our favorite travel season is upon us. The summer heat has ebbed, the kids are back in school, traffic is a bit more tolerable, and most lodgings are dropping their prices in anticipation of winter. Best of all, the leaves are getting ready to put on their autumnal extravaganza of color. This is an exceptionally rewarding time to visit New England.


We are particularly fond of everything Cape Cod in the fall. There is a certain serenity in the air as October ushers in the cool breezes off the bay.


Last fall we stayed at two magnificent B&Bs in the village of Falmouth, Massachusetts. In an earlier story we discussed the town of Falmouth, and the first B&B, today we want to tell you about The Captain’s Manor Inn, a fabulous inn with a maritime history.


The Captain’s Manor Inn was the first summer home built in Falmouth, Massachusetts in the year 1849. It is hard to think of it as a summer house because from the very beginning it was a stately manor.


The architecture was uncommon for the Cape. It was the idea of Captain Albert Nye, who built the manor as a gift for his bride Ms. Henrietta Forbes of New Orleans. Ah, that explains the Southern Plantation style of this grand house.


In 1872 the house was sold to a retired whaling ship master by the name of Captain John Robinson Lawrence. The Captain’s son was a horticulturist of note, and it is apparent that he plied his trade in the house’s garden, which boasts several unusual trees. The son’s name was H.V. Lawrence and he lived in the house while managing the first florist shop on the Cape.


As you walk the grounds of the Captain’s Manor Inn, it is easy to imagine the pleasant life that the younger Mr. Lawrence enjoyed for so many years as he observed the changing face of his quiet Cape Cod village. He passes away in 1952, at the age of 92. His passing was mourned by the entire citizenry of Falmouth.


Fast forward to the 21st century, when Kevin and Trish Robinson purchased and upgraded the house to its current majestic state. The inn has the original plantation style windows with shutters, which allow natural light and subtle shadows to dominate the rooms.


The Captain’s Manor Inn is a bed and breakfast of distinction. The inn is spotlessly clean and elegant. Roomier than most B&Bs, it’s a place where you can stretch out and not feel contained.


There are eight sleeping rooms to dream in, and all are furnished with period antiques and sumptuous beds with superbly soft linens.

The inn is complete with everything you would expect from a best of class inn.


When we arrived, innkeeper Trish Robinson was ready with a delectable freshly baked cookie and brewed coffee. After our nourishment we toured the inn and its extensive grounds.

Notably, there is an elevator for folks with disabilities that bring guests from the ample off street parking area to the house.



House amenities include a full (delicious) breakfast, free Wi-Fi, private baths, down filled duvet, individual room air conditioning and heat controls, ceiling fan, iPhone/iPod compatible clock radio, LCD cable TV, spa robes, two bottles spring water, Gilchrist and Soames bath amenities, hairdryer, iron and board,  and plush cotton towels. Nice!

The inn is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.

For more information about this delightful lodging, their website is http://captainsmanorinn.com

What’s for dinner?


Woods Hole is a short drive from downtown Falmouth, and the location of the ferry services to Martha’s Vineyard.


Martha’s Vineyard is a must see in autumn, but that’s a story for another time.


Our late-afternoon ferry from Martha’s Vineyard arrived back in Woods Hole just in time for dinner.


The Quicks Hole Tavern is just steps from the ferry building and provided us with a taste of New England cooking at its best.


We started out with a warming cup of Quahog Chowder,


then a scrumptious, piled-high Chopped Kale Salad,


followed by some of the best Pan Seared Halibut we have tasted. Yummy! Worth a try when you are in the neighborhood. The Quicks Hole Tavern website is *here*.

Happy travels!


“Get out there, but be prepared.” 

Whenever we travel, we are protected by Allianz Global Assist travel insurance.

You can plan your trips with Google Maps.

The opinions expressed in our articles are the journalists’ alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any entity.

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Judy Bayliff

The Vacation of a Lifetime in Kiama, Australia

Everyone who travels has special places tucked away in their memories. One of our favorite places is the little seaside town of Kiama on the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia. The town reminds us of a quiet Carmel, California, while the nearby thundering surf is reminiscent of the awesome power and beauty of Big Sur.

Every few years, we make it a point to visit good friends in Sydney, Australia. The weather in New South Wales is very similar to that of our home in California, but of course the seasons are reversed. We look forward to our Australian getaways because Sydney is a beautiful city, and the people of Australia are about as hospitable as you can find. Additionally, there’s a special enjoyment in sharing life’s pleasures with old friends in foreign lands.

Getting to Kiama is part of the fun

When our Australian pals are working we can take the train from their suburban home in Turramurra to just about anywhere we want to go, and that includes Kiama. The trains in Australia are inexpensive, clean and always on time.

It’s a lovely two and one-half hour train ride to Kiama from Sydney, and if you prefer to drive the scenic highways, the trip will take a fast 90 minutes.

When you pick up the scent of the brisk clean ocean air, and hear the clamoring of sea birds, you will know you have arrived in Kiama – and it’s time for your mind and body to downshift.

First things first – food

After checking into any one of the comfortable bungalows or hotels along the coast, we recommend a walk to Kiama Harbor for a bite at Barnacles takeaway. This is our favorite al fresco restaurant and it is only a few steps from the local boat ramp. It’s not fancy, and the fresh fish and fries are served in heaps on butcher paper – but oh, my goodness, is there any other way to eat fish and chips!

Enjoy your meal while you watch the fishermen clean their latest catch and dispose of the remains in a most ecological manner – feeding the patiently waiting pelicans and seagulls.

Time for a walk

It’s fun to walk off your meal with a brisk stroll among the Norfolk Pines and Kiama Harbour Cabins up to the scenic lighthouse on Blowhole Point. Just beyond the great white tower, you will find one of the two highly charged blowholes in Kiama.

The ocean in this area is wild and magnificent. The sea pounds the coast with a mighty “woomph,” that pushes a rushing geyser of foamy brine through natural holes in the rocks and then high into the blue Australian sky. “Kiama,” is derived from an indigenous word meaning, “where the sea makes a noise.” For those who have enjoyed the famous blowhole on Oahu in Hawaii – you ain’t seen nothin yet!

Unique among the family attractions in Kiama are two extraordinary salt-water rock swimming pools. There is one on each side of Kiama Harbor. Harnessing the tidal action of the ocean, these unusual pools are as beautiful to look at, as they are to enjoy for a refreshing swim or frolic.

If you have the shopper gene, Kiama has its fair share of charming boutique shops and interesting restaurants. If you would like to mail trinkets to friends back home, you can’t miss the town’s bright pink Italianate Post Office.

Next winter when you are looking around for a new warm weather adventure; give a thought to a balmy vacation in a beachfront bungalow in Kiama. You may never want to leave.

Happy travels!


“Get out there, but be prepared.”

Whenever we travel, we are protected by Allianz Global Assist travel insurance.

You can plan your trips with Google Maps.

The opinions expressed in our articles are the journalists’ alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any entity.

Copyright ©  Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos Copyright © Judy Bayliff – unauthorized use is prohibited.

On Rainy Days in Maine at the Inn by the Sea

Inn by the Sea on Crescent Beach, Cape Elizabeth ME hi res

We were making an autumnal writing swing through New England and the surrounding states, visiting some of the regions finest B&Bs and resorts. A week or so into our trip, we hit a nor’easter just outside Cape Elizabeth, Maine, the home of our next destination. We found that a few days in a storm can be great fun – if you happen to be staying at the inspirational Inn by the Sea.

A very different resort

The Inn by the Sea is an eco-luxury, pet friendly, beachy rustic resort, located on mile-long Crescent Beach, a short 7 miles from Portland, Maine.


As we drove up to the inn’s portico, the wind was lashing the entry plants to and fro, and the rain was bouncing off our rental car hood like miniature ping pong balls. We waited a few minutes, then made a dash for the front door.


What a comfort to be inside the well-appointed lobby and right next to the registration desk.

The staff attitude at the Inn by the Sea was the first thing we noticed. Smiling faces everywhere, even on this dark and dreary day – how refreshing.

The accommodations

There are 61 diverse guestrooms, suites, and cottages to choose from in this luxurious Four Diamond property.


In a matter of minutes we were escorted to our second floor suite overlooking the ocean — we think, but it was raining so hard that we couldn’t see much of anything beyond the dense vegetation below our balcony.


Before long the fireplace was making a cozy room even cozier.


A pot of tea from the well-stocked kitchen and we were ready to snuggle-in.

We nestled-down in front of the fire and the chill quickly left our bones. We had arrived, and were happy to be dry and comfortably situated in our weekend retreat.

Time to work



We took several photos of our one-bedroom suite, and the larger two-bedroom suite next door. Both were spacious, spotlessly clean, and furnished in a tasteful beachy mode – very open and inviting.


The bathrooms were especially noteworthy, quite large and airy.

Outside photos


Not so much. We could tell that the grounds were lovely, but the heavy rains were relentless, so we were only able to shoot a few photos in-between downpours.

pool in summer

It is not our usual practice to use stock images, but the sunny outside pictures in this article (like the one above) are all courtesy of the resort.

This is a hotel serious about being “green,” a “good citizen,” and “animal friendly.”


Named a top ten American green Hotel by MSNBC and Forbes Traveler, this socially conscious resort practices what it preaches. Like growing attractive and sustainable edibles just outside the back patio.

Here’s another example 

Non-indigenous plants had overgrown and choked out local vegetation and wildlife in the brush area between the inn and the beach. The inn assumed responsibility for removing the offending species, and replacing them with indigenous plants.

rabbitAlso benefiting from the flora project was an endangered Cottontail Rabbit species being squeezed out of its habitat by the invasive vegetation.

The inn created a ‘Rabitat’ in the brush that soon had the bunnies hopping for joy – all to the delight of inn guests who now see them running about during their trek to the beach (the guests not the rabbits). That’s biodiversity in action! 

beach path 2

Pet friendly


The Inn by the Sea invites guests to bring their canine companions on vacation. The big news is that there is no extra charge for the doggie guests! Just tell the inn that you will be accompanied by a canine family member, and request a pet-friendly room.

Not only that, but Bowser and Bowsie are treated to water bowls, beach towels, cozy blankets – and treats at turndown. There are also grooming services, pet massages, gourmet pet menus, a dog walking service, and a doggie day care for additional fees. How about that pet fans!

This is fantastic


There’s also a Foster Dog Program where the inn works with the local animal refuge and keeps a foster dog at the inn until it is adopted. They currently have their 11th dog in house. What a great idea!

And for the humans

Couples Room at SPA at Inn by the Sea

There’s a wonderful SPA to help you relax, refresh and rejuvenate. For tension relief, try the Deep Tissue Massage – one hour is just enough.

A superb restaurant

Flatbread Prep

Chef Sicinski  courtesy Inn by the Sea

The Sea Glass Restaurant, and nearby lobby bar, have great views and memorable meals created by Chef Steve Sicinski. Chef Steve, who is classically trained by Cordon Bleu, believes food should be about taste and health – but also be playful and energetic. His attitude makes for some delightfully delicious combinations.


How about this hearty and delectable breakfast!


And this unusual and delicious salad of marinated Braised Beets, Feta Cheese, and Granola dust…


Or a succulent variation of the “Wedge,” with Romaine Lettuce, Apple Bacon crumbs, Cherry Tomatoes, and Blue Cheese with homemade Ranch Dressing.

Everything we ate left us satisfied and gratified.


Opps, almost forgot the dessert. Apple Galette with roasted Apple Gelato, crisp Apple Salad, and Cider Caramel. Yummy!

One unusual aspect of growing food for his tables is Chef Sicinski’s working partnership with Cultivation Works a social enterprise that teaches people with disabilities to grow fresh, healthy produce in a sustainable way.

The chef can handpick salad ingredients such as baby pea sprout tendrils, baby beet tops, cilantro, and other herbs and produce grown in 11” by 22” flats in the inn’s kitchen that were started by the Cultivation Works’ “Teenie Greenie” farmers.

“Challenged adults come to the Cultivation Works’ greenhouses to learn about good agricultural practices.” They grow their micro greens with non-GMO seeds and organic soil. The program helps develop practical skills for sustainable farming, and the producers gain confidence in their abilities. This is a wonderful program. Learn more about it here.

A great place to vacation

The remainder of our days at the Inn by the Sea were spent tasting great dishes at Sea Glass, chatting with the other guests, enjoying the fire in the hearth, listening to the rain, and catching up on some good books. It was soul-settling, and we so enjoyed the change of pace. We reckon there’s not a better place to spend rainy days in Maine.

The Inn by the Sea has been selected for recognition for Conde Nast’s Gold, and Travel & Leisure’s Best Hotels in the World. It is Maine’s premier beach destination, and for that, and all the other reasons mentioned, we recommend it highly.

For more information about the Inn by the Sea, click here.

Rockland Headlight 7-001

For general tourist information about the area including the famous Portland Head Light, look here.

Pack up the kids and dogs and take a beautiful ride to Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

If you aren’t driving, Portland is serviced by major airlines and Amtrak.

You might pray for sun on your vacation, but even in the rain, you can have a wonderful time at the Inn by the Sea!

Happy travels.


“Get out there, but be prepared.”

Whenever we travel, we are protected by Allianz Global Assist travel insurance.

You can plan your trips with Google Maps.

The opinions expressed in our articles are the journalists’ alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any entity.

Copyright © 2015 Visit great vacation destinations with Wayne and Judy Bayliff.

Photos Unless otherwise noted – Copyright © 2015 Judy Bayliff – unauthorized use strictly prohibited.

It’s off to the Races and a Jolly Holiday at the Saratoga Arms in Saratoga Springs

18-Saratoga Race Course

Historic Saratoga Springs, in upstate New York, is a fun place to visit any time of year. However, there’s a special excitement in the air with the approach of another annual opening day at the historic Saratoga Race Course – the oldest thoroughbred racetrack in America.

Health, History, Horses

That’s Saratoga’s slogan. The earliest recorded history goes back to the mid-1700s when the area’s Native Americans were said to be using the healing powers of the naturally carbonated mineral springs that dot the area. The springs became even more famous when General George Washington drank from the High Rock Spring in Saratoga in 1783.

The naturally carbonated springs soon made Saratoga a popular venue in which to be seen. Visits from the likes of JP Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt and Diamond Jim Brady, made Saratoga famous. Important people from across the globe came to socialize and soak in the bathhouses featuring the healing effervescent mineral waters. However, it soon became evident that horse racing was destined to play an equally important role in the city’s future.

As untimely as it seems, just one month after the famous Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, the Saratoga Race Course for Thoroughbred racing was opened, and became the first sports venue in America.

Six weeks of racing

19-Saratoga Race Course - Copy

This year, the world-renowned Saratoga races, will begin on Friday, July 24, 2015 and conclude on Labor Day, Monday, September 7, with racing conducted six days a week, Wednesday through Monday.

Sports Illustrated calls the annual Saratoga Race Course summer meet, one of the top ten must see sports events in America. The track is also considered by many to be the most beautiful racetrack in the United States.

Iconic name dropping

Familiar Thoroughbreds that have raced at the Saratoga Race Course include Man O’War, Secretariat, and Seattle Slew. Famous movies featuring the race course are “Billy Bathgate,” “Ghost Story,” ” Diamonds are Forever,” “Saratoga,” “Seabiscuit,” “The Horse Whisperer,” and “The Way We Were.”

Where to stay


When it comes to lodging, the choices are many in the Springs. On a recommendation, we stayed at the historic Saratoga Arms – a brilliant choice.


Operated as a luxury concierge hotel by the Smith family since 1997, the historic (circa 1870) brick building on downtown Broadway in Saratoga Springs, had been a rooming house during the 1950s to the 1990s when it hit its proverbial bottom. There were pigeons living in the third-floor rooms.


We love to see such old structures repurposed, refreshed, and preserved. The Smith’s restored this old building with loving care and a flair for turn of the century ambiance. It now has every modern comfort, but retains its yesteryear charm.


In addition to the elevators, there’s a beautiful old staircase that leads to the upper floors (see pictures). As we climbed the steps, we reflected on the many thousands of people who had preceded us in climbing these same stairs over the past 145 years – we wondered about their circumstances and lives – all so different from our own.


The restoration was obviously calibrated to gain a sense of sophistication with informality. It was well done. Urbanity now dominates and permeates throughout.



Hotel guests have a choice of 31 sleeping rooms that will suit the most discerning of tastes.

The entire hotel is lavishly decorated with beautiful antique furnishings and just-right décor.

A B&B hotel


We had breakfast in one of the hotel’s elegant dining rooms complete with white tablecloths, fine china, and fresh cut flowers. Very cheerful.


The buffet breakfast is an occasion full of local farm fresh goodies like honey and homemade muffins and jams, delicious cereals, assorted berries, bagels, yogurt, and freshly squeezed orange juice. The coffee is also extraordinarily robust and flavorful.


Our main breakfast dish consisted of locally smoked Canadian bacon, and a mushroom and gruyere cheese scramble – accompanied by home style potatoes. We had never tried the gruyere cheese and egg mix before – delicious idea!


Care for an afternoon snack?


There is an abundance of treats and beverages in the guest services pantry.

Our recommendation

The Saratoga Arms is a lodging we wholeheartedly recommend, and we are in good company, because it is also TripAdvisor’s #1 current choice hotel in Saratoga Springs.

For more information about the Saratoga Arms look at their website at www.saratogaarms.com

Planning a trip? Make your reservations now to avoid disappointment.

If you go

Saratoga Springs is an easy 45-minute drive from Albany, and less than four-hours from New York City, or Boston. It is also five-hours from Niagara Falls.

The closest major airport is in Albany, New York.

Closing notes

Today, there are 18 mineral springs throughout Saratoga Springs for free public tasting, and two places to enjoy a mineral bath, the Roosevelt Baths and Spa, and the Crystal Spa.

Probably the most famous, and still active, of the mineral water springs is the Big Red Spring located right at the Saratoga Race Course. This spring is named after Man O’War, and Secretariat, the two famous thoroughbred champions. Both horses were chestnut in color, and each in its time was called “Big Red.”



In 2014 Yahoo listed Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs (the location of the Saratoga Arms) as one of best main streets in America for its architecture, restaurants, shops, and people watching.

There’s more to enjoy in Saratoga Springs than water and racing. Look *here* for a list of other activities in this happening area.

Happy travels!


“Get out there, but be prepared.”

Whenever we travel, we are protected by Allianz Global Assist travel insurance.

You can plan your trips with Google Maps.

The opinions expressed in our articles are the journalists’ alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any entity.

Copyright © 2015 Visit great vacation destinations with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos Copyright © 2015 Judy Bayliff – unauthorized use strictly prohibited.

Sports photos courtesy of Saratoga Arms.

The Lodge at Woodloch: A Nature Lover’s Luxury Vacation Hideaway

If you were lucky, you went to a terrific summer camp when you were a kid. Well, now you are all grown up, and your luck is holding out – because we have found the adult luxury equivalent of your bygone summers. So come with us and relive those halcyon days of yesteryear at the Lodge at Woodloch in Hawley, Pennsylvania.

A region of kid’s camps and adult resorts


We found the Lodge at Woodloch during our writing swing through luxurious vacation destinations in the Northeast Appalachians, which include the Pocono, Adirondack, Catskill, and Berkshire Mountains. Our travels took us to New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maine.


We stayed mainly at exclusive B&Bs, so a full-blown woodsy, all-adult resort and health retreat, was a nice change of pace.


Just like our early memories of kid’s camp, the Lodge at Woodloch has hiking and biking trails aplenty, along with camp fires, a lake for fishing and boating – and advanced amenities like delicious wellness-centric meals, vegetable gardens, an orchard, and a first rate health spa.

A biofilic experience

The developers of the Lodge at Woodloch believe that all vacationers that have an interest in the Lodge at Woodloch have a special connection with nature, and an affinity for other life forms. The developers take this belief very seriously, and everything at Woodloch supports their conviction.

The Lodge at Woodloch is elegant and exclusive


All the amenities we will mention (and more) are for the pampering of a relatively small number of discerning guests. There are just 57 guestrooms in the entire resort.


This refuge truly defines the height of America’s health-conscious aristocracy.


The lodge building fits perfectly with the natural environment, and has just the right amount of secluded niches for those seeking quiet relaxation.


The sleeping rooms are well furnished and mindfully decorated to blend with the forest just beyond each guestroom door. We also noted that the spacious quarters elegantly avoid being trendy or thematic.

The food


We ate all our meals at the TREE restaurant and bar, so named because of the exquisite outlook from the floor to ceiling viewing windows, featuring – what else – trees.


If you are a devoted foodie, this all-inclusive resort is for you.


There are food prep demonstrations, cooking classes, wine tasting, and an array of lectures for those interested in learning about the advantages of preparing, cooking, and eating proper foodstuffs.


The in-house chefs have also one-upped the concept of “farm to table” dining, with their “table to farm” experience where a delicious meal is prepared and served in one of the resort’s three vast gardens. Really different, and great fun!


The resort’s menu is unique and chock-full of tasty healthy treats, check out this breakfast menu.


Here’s a photo of a succulent buffalo burger with mushrooms.

The garden


We were privileged to spend some time in the resort’s gardens where much of what is used in the kitchen is grown. Chock full of produce goodies, the garden boasts currants, mint, rhubarb, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, and a large assortment of plants and herbs.

Since our visit, we have learned that the resort has added an orchard. Two acres and 65 trees will bring a bountiful harvest of apples, pears, peaches, and plums to be enjoyed by the guests.



You have undoubtedly heard about the decline in U.S. bee colonization. Well, the Lodge at Woodloch took steps to insure their 100,000 bee population would continue to grow.


They sought, and obtained, a certification as a Pennsylvania Pollinator Friendly Property. These people are serious about natural symbiosis.

The trails and lake


The resort’s grounds quickly envelop you in their beauty.


Our morning at the Lodge was spent walking some of the nature trails in this pristine 150-acre wilderness.


We ended up at the private 15-acre lake and decided to try our hand at fishing.


All the equipment we needed was available in the “Lily Pad,” lake shed located just a stone’s throw from the water.


A couple of casts, and voila – success.


We caught several small, but spunky bass, which we quickly returned to the water after thanking them for participating in our holiday.

The spa


The focal point of the indoor experience at the Lodge at Woodloch is the spa with its 27 treatment rooms, and an extensive array of customized body treatments, massages, and facials.


We could not photograph the occupied treatment rooms, but did manage to get images of the beautifully appointed changing rooms and the Aqua Garden’s Hydro Massage Waterfall.


What a spectacular way to relax after a massage – and we did just that!


Guests are invited to luxuriate in saunas, steam rooms, and whirlpools, as well as separate male and female fireplace lounges for the ultimate in introspective relaxation.


This spa and wellness center is a destination in its own right.

If you go


The Lodge is nestled in the far northeast corner of the scenic Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, in what is known as the Lake Region. It is a scant 95 miles from NYC and many major airports.

For more information

This four-diamond resort incorporates an unparalleled level of sophistication in serene luxury. There are so many delightful aspects, that it would be impossible to present them all in this short article. We suggest you explore the resort’s extensive website at www.thelodgeatwoodloch.com

Like to stay at a resort that sports loads of awards? This is your spot. Check out this impressive list– a true standard of excellence achieved by few vacation destinations in America.

Whether you go to the Lodge at Woodloch for revitalizing, relaxation, nurturing, detoxing, a taste of good old fashioned nostalgia, or just an outing in the woods, this is the place to be.

If you can, give yourself permission to enjoy a special vacation at the Lodge. You will not be sorry.

PS – if you are looking for a family resort, look no further than nearby Woodloch Pines Resort. We did not have time to drop by, but we were told it may be an even better place to reflect on those still remembered summers at kid’s camp – because it has – kids.


“Get out there, but be prepared.”

Whenever we travel, we are protected by Allianz Global Assist travel insurance.

You can plan your trips with Google Maps.

The opinions expressed in our articles are the journalists’ alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any entity.

Copyright © 2015 Visit great vacation destinations with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © 2015 Judy Bayliff

The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas: A Fun-filled Hawaiian Getaway



It has been some time since we reviewed a Hawaiian vacation property, and the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas on the leafy garden island of Kaua‘i  is particularly interesting for several reasons.

Mixed clientele

The Westin Princeville is a village style resort that caters to a number of different types of vacationers. We spoke with Westin Vacation (timeshare) Owners, business people using their Starwood Preferred Guest Points for a much deserved vacation, and ordinary folks seeking a safe and diversified family vacation resort. Everyone we engaged was having a terrific time – so were we.


The resort was built in 2008 at a cost of $165 million. It has been renovated several times since 2008, with the most recent refreshers completed in 2015.

 Checking in


The spacious lobby is both inviting and befitting a family resort.


The resort offers three levels of spacious accommodations. There are studio villas, and one and two-bedroom villas. They are all designed for vacation living, and feature kitchen facilities and an unusual (and much appreciated) convenience – a washer and dryer.


There’s also a nice twist to daily maid service at the resort. On any day you opt out of housekeeping, there is a breakfast for one awaiting you at the on-site Nanea Restaurant and Bar. Now all you need to do is figure out who will be the lucky one to eat the tasty quid-pro-quo breakfast.

Looking around


The Westin Princeville is a lush and sprawling property with pleasant surprises at every turn.


There are four gorgeous pools for quiet soaking, active fun and swimming, and entertaining the kids.


The infinity pools give bathers a sense of continuity with the ocean that is 200 feet below the Westin bluff.


The kid’s pool is great fun with a slide and spouting turtle fountains.


The Wailele Bar, is a walk-from-water pool-side oasis that serves up casual lunches, afternoon appetizers, and of course, amazing tropical beverages – and the beer is ICE cold.



Care to do your own grilling for lunch or dinner? There are 20 clean and ready poolside barbecue grills.


It is wise to shop in advance for the food you plan to cook on the outdoor grills or in your villa kitchen, but you can also find many of your culinary necessities at the on-site Princeville Market, which features some ready-to-cook repasts prepared by the resort chefs.

Eating out


When you don’t feel like cooking, you can walk along the pathways to the resort’s convenient Nanea Restaurant and Bar. There, you will be able to select from either a comfortable indoor setting, or a more open al fresco terrace dining atmosphere.

The menu at the Nanea is always inspired by the island surroundings. Local produce is blended with the catch of the day to produce tantalizing seafood flavors. For your inner gourmet, try their five-course Tasting Journey where seasonal dishes are paired with just-the-right wines. A nice treat.

Pièce de résistance


The poolside Papa’i Dinner for two is a special event prepared by the Nanea culinary team.


Led by Jason Sessions, the Director of Food & Beverage…


the talented chefs created a personalized menu of savory courses for us, served in a private cabana under the dazzling Hawaiian stars.


Our spectacular menu included a starter of crisp crab cake with seared scallop and edamame guacamole, sweet chili butter and macadamia nut pesto served with a German Riesling.


The salad was garnished with feta cheese and cherry tomatoes and sprinkled with tarragon vinaigrette dressing. The salad was paired with a Lambrusco, from Modena NV.


The Catch and Beef was a combination of garlic seared Ono with citrus butter and tomato garlic chutney served with a Pinot Noir from Monterey…


and the beef was short ribs with scallion mash. The ginger hoisin jus, and garlic butter put the ribs over-the-top on taste and flavor.


The sweet finish was warm pineapple cake with vanilla ice cream and a salted caramel topping – polished off with a 5-year old sweet Madeira from Portugal.

What a feast!


This romantic interlude was overseen by our personal attendant, who left no details of the service or presentation to chance.


This is an, “if you can, you must,” dining experience.

Ecology kudos

Since its opening in 2008, the resort has continually embraced the concept of “being green” and “sustainability.” To reduce the resort’s carbon footprint the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas has completed the installation of a cogeneration plant (produces both electrical and thermal energy) that allows the resort to produce over 90% of its electricity on site. The cogeneration plant’s output is also used to heat the pools, whirlpools, and the hot water throughout the resort.

For the movie buffs


Did you know that Kaua‘i was the filming location for blockbuster movies such as South Pacific, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jurassic Park, King Kong, Blue Hawaii, Outbreak, The Thornbirds, and many others? You can pick up an Official Guide Map detailing all the movie locations from the Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau.


We liked the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas and recommend them for a fabulous family vacation.

How to go

The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas is located in the serene surroundings of Kaua‘i’s north shore.


We hired a rental car at the Lihu’e Airport because we wanted to see all the famous attractions of Kaua‘i on our own time-schedule.

It took us about 60 minutes to drive the 30 miles from the south-eastern Lihu’e Airport to the Westin Princeville.


Once there, it’s a short drive to get to any number of public beaches.


It’s also just minutes west to the town of Hanalei and some really fun shops and restaurants.

64-golf course St. Regis.jpg

If you are a golfer, you have a choice of three local links including the stunning 27-hole Makai Golf Course – another good reason to have a car.

We could not include all the amenities that we found at this resort in our thousand-word review. For more information about all that is available, have a look at their website at http://www.westinprinceville.com

If you would like to read more of our reviews of luxury Hawaiian hotels and resorts just click on a subject below.

The Royal Hawaiian in Honolulu

The Moana Surfrider on Waikiki Beach

The Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii

Snorkeling with the Manta Rays on the Big Island of Hawaii

The Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa on Maui

Happy travels!


“Get out there, but be prepared.”

Whenever we travel, we are protected by Allianz Global Assist travel insurance.

You can plan your trips with Google Maps.

We flew to Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines.

The opinions expressed in our articles are the journalists’ alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any entity.

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Judy Bayliff

We did it. It was easy. We fell in love with Old Cape Cod


Last fall we traveled back east to New England to be part of the annual fall festival of colors. We put over 1,000 miles on our rental car, and were treated to great weather, superb accommodations, and exquisite dining. We also met some wonderful Americans – in the land where the country began.

There’s a lot to see in Massachusetts. On this trip we decided to stay away from the big cities and concentrate on small communities where we might discover something of that hometown flavor we yearn for, but encounter less and less during our travels around America.

Cape Cod 

Click on the Cape Cod link above if you want to set the mood for this story by listening to Patti Page singing her timeless hit “Old Cape Cod.”

It was almost Halloween when we arrived in The Cape. It would have been difficult to not fall in love with Cape Cod at this time of year. Cool breezes shuffling newly fallen leaves, the traffic of summer greatly diminished, and locals had already replaced tourists in the restaurants – where there was no wait to get a table. Also, at this time of year, lodging reservations are easier to get, and cheaper too.

It’s the shoulder season

If you follow our travels, you have undoubtedly noticed that most of our getaways are during what the travel industry calls the “shoulder season.” That’s the time of relative quiet before the kids get out of school, and after they go back. A period between peak and off-peak seasons. In much of the United States, the shoulder season is September, October, November, and March, April, and May.

Since most parents like to take their kids along on vacation – not everyone can take advantage of these relaxed vacation months. However, as empty nesters, we appreciate our road less-traveled outings.

Welcome to Falmouth Village


The second largest town on Cape Cod is Falmouth, but calling it “large” in any context is a misnomer because the population is shy of 32,000. Falmouth is just a nice little New England village with lots of folksy charm.

B&Bs befitting the locale

We stayed at two highly recommended B&Bs while in Falmouth – The Palmer House Inn and the Captain’s Manor Inn. Today we will introduce you to The Palmer House, and save the equally excellent Captain’s Manor for a future article.

The Palmer House Inn


This Queen Ann style Cape Cod inn was constructed in 1901, and has been a bed and breakfast since 1983.


Bill and Pat O’Connell took ownership after retiring from the world of business and education, and have been the congenial innkeepers at the Palmer House Inn since 2005.

They have enlarged the property to its current capacity of 16 guestrooms – however, everything seems to belong exactly where it is, so we would be hard pressed to identify the areas they have changed.


The inn is lavishly decorated with beautiful antique furnishings and tasteful décor. Upon entering, the elegant wood clad walls, stained glass windows, and shining wood floors induce immediate feelings of returning to the sanctuary of a comfortable home in the early 20th century.


Each guestroom is different from the others,


and each has the usual amenities discerning guests have come to expect from top-of-the-line B&Bs.


Every great B&B worth its salt is expected to provide a savory and delicious breakfast, and the Palmer House excels in that arena.


There’s even a Palmer House cook book to help you remember the culinary treasures.

Steps away from history and corpses 

The Palmer House is steps from the Falmouth Village Green, and local shops and restaurants.


We can attest to strange October goings on in this neighborhood of historic (and haunted) houses.


After dark, the “From the Night Watchman,” ghoul-tacular at the Museums on the Green was a scary fun event we thoroughly enjoyed – along with all the kids in Falmouth Village.


The spooky activity of the night before, did not seem to negatively influence the swarm of tikes that invaded the village stores on Saturday afternoon’s trick-or-treating.


Great fun, and we were so glad to be part of the excitement!

When it is time to eat 

We have three restaurants to recommend in downtown Falmouth, one Irish, the others Italian.

Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub

The building at 273 Main Street has been serving one sort of food or another since the early 1900s. In 1994 it became Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub and Restaurant. The proprietors’ told us that they want to offer the same comfort and ambiance that they remember from the pubs back home.


We sampled their Beef and Guinness Stew. A blending of slow cooked tender beef with potatoes, carrots, peas, celery, and onions in a savory Guinness reduction. Served with a side salad and Irish soda bread. A meal in a bowl.

Stone L’Oven


Who doesn’t like a good authentic hand-tossed Italian style Pizza?


We certainly do, and we found one at 271 Main Street. What a delicious, crispy, stone-fired Neapolitan crust.


Yowza! It tastes every bit as good as it looks.

LaCucina Sul Mare

237 Main Street. Yes, another Main Street establishment. This street in Falmouth Village has all the restaurants you need, and they are all good neighbors!


LaCucina Sul Mare offers an ample variety of choice Italian cuisine nicely presented. The selection of Italian table wines is deep enough to please even the most discriminating palate.

Locals tell us this restaurant is very busy during the season, and they do not take reservations. In October there was no wait.

Park and walk


All these restaurants are a short distance from the Palmer House. By the way, if you happen to be driving an electric auto, the ecologically forward-thinking innkeepers at the Palmer House have already installed two Tesla Charging Stations on the property. Check here for details.

Stay tuned

Falmouth Village is the quintessential Cape Cod town, and a superb place for a family vacation. It is an area we particularly like photographing and writing about.


Martha’s Vineyard is just a ferry-boat ride away from Falmouth, and in a future article we will show images of autumn on The Vineyard, introduce another first-class B&B, and tempt you with more New England vittles.

If you go

We recommend that you look at the Palmer House website and consider staying there. It’s truly a warm and friendly home away from home. You will not be disappointed.

Happy travels!


“Get out there, but be prepared.” 

Whenever we travel, we are protected by Allianz Global Assist travel insurance.

You can plan your trips with Google Maps.

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Judy Bayliff

The opinions expressed in this article are the journalists’ alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any entity.

Niagara Falls – Top to Bottom


NF Rainbow x800

We love Niagara Falls – especially the array of marvelous outdoor activities that are available throughout the area. Verdant gardens and leisure walking paths abound. Add the sound of the ever-present roaring rapids and cascades, and you have the makings of a perfect green vacation.

Getting to Niagara Falls is a beautiful road trip for those living in the north east, and an easy flight for the rest of us. It is very convenient to have an exciting natural wonder-of-the-world right here in North America that is so close to major modes of transportation. Even better, it is situated on the friendly American/Canadian border. That is especially comforting now that international travel is so stressful and debilitating.

During our last visit to the Falls we went in search of mini-adventures that could be enjoyed by the entire family. What we found were four tour activities that have been around for years, and still offer a special thrill because they feature the natural elements of the world’s second largest waterfalls. Each tour offers excitement, views, and photo opportunities that will be remembered for a lifetime.

Here are our four suggestions for getting a healthy adrenalin rush out of a visit to Niagara Falls.

Take a helicopter tour


Helicopter tours are available from Rainbow Air located near the Rainbow Bridge and just a few blocks away from the rushing water in Niagara Falls, New York.


The views are breathtaking, the 20-minute ride is smooth, and the pilots are very considerate of first time “choppers.”

Journey Behind the Falls


The Journey Behind the Falls activity is on the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls border and is the best way to get a bird’s eye view of the Horseshoe Falls. Buy your tickets at the concession booth at the Table Rock Welcome Center and take the elevator down to the base of the falls. A yellow plastic poncho comes with the ticket – you will need it. The main viewing platforms are awash with spray from the thundering falls.

Niagara Lobby Card

For extra fun, be sure to rent and watch the movie “Niagara” before your trip.

Try to find the spot where Marilyn Monroe had a liaison with her lover in the mist below the Horseshoe Falls. It is visible on the Journey Behind the Falls tour. The movie was filmed on the Canadian side, and you may be surprised to find the lovely park has changed very little since 1953.

Cave of the Winds

The Cave of the Winds tour is another wet encounter with the falls, but this time on the American side. The entrance to this activity is on Goat Island – a beautiful park that is a short shuttle-ride or easy walk from downtown Niagara Falls.

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You have probably seen pictures of yellow plastic clad adventurers as they carefully navigate the slippery wooden walkway that skirts the edge of the raging Bridal Veil Falls. This event is great fun, but be sure to protect your camera under your poncho as you climb the twisted staircase. The relentless sheets of blowing water can quickly soak you and anything you are holding.

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Also, please observe the NO SMOKING sign – is that a joke?

Maid of the Mist

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The Maid of the Mist boat tour is a Falls institution. For this last recommendation, your poncho will be blue instead of yellow. Boat embarkation is available from either the Canadian or US side of the border.


A ride on the Maid of the Mist is an exciting way to view both the American and Horseshoe Falls, and a fitting way to end your personal experience with the power of Niagara.


If you would like more information about vacationing in Niagara Falls, check out both the American and Canadian visitors’ bureaus websites Niagara USA, and Tourism Niagara respectively.

Happy travels!

© Travels with Wayne and Judy (syndicated)

Photos © Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Ahoy matey! Welcome to Mystic Seaport, Connecticut

We love Connecticut. It is a beautiful state that is teeming with interesting tourist attractions. Today, we focus on the historic maritime coast of the Constitution state in “Mystic Country.”


The seaside towns and villages of Mystic Country run 30-miles along Long Island Sound, starting at the town of Old Lyme and ending at the border of Rhode Island to the east. Our story begins with a visit to famous Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut.


The Mystic Seaport sign proclaims, “The Museum of America and the Sea.” The catchphrase was well chosen because Mystic Seaport is an exciting playground for maritime historians, boaters of every persuasion, kids of all ages, and folks who just love the sea.


We arrived early so we had the streets of the historic port village to ourselves.


Everywhere we looked there were tall ship’s masts and sails in the background of the village’s authentic 19th century homes and shops.

It was a quiet fall day, and a slight whisper of falling leaves in the breeze made the many historical settings that much more alive and imaginative. We were walking back in time, and looked forward to the experience.

The last of the whalers


Our feet rustled through the leaf covered village green as we made our way to tour the Charles W. Morgan – a sturdy looking wooden whaleship that is now a National Historic Landmark.


In the 19th century, there were over 2,500 wooden whaling ships in North America and now there is one. The Morgan, launched in 1841, is America’s oldest surviving commercial ship still afloat. She has resided in the Mystic Seaport since 1941.

During her more than 80-years of service, the Morgan made voyages ranging in time from nine months, to five years. It was on just such a ship that the morose Captain Ahab sailed from nearby Nantucket to seek the elusive great white whale named Moby Dick. Arrr!

Signing on to crew a whaling ship in the 19th century was the fast-track to a harsh life involving hard work and long voyages. Thankfully (for the sake of the whales), whaling was greatly curtailed with the invention of kerosene in the 1840s.

The Joseph Conrad


From the deck of the Morgan you can see the steel-hulled Joseph Conrad. The Conrad was built in 1882 as a training ship for the Danish Merchant Marine Service. For years she sailed with a cadet crew of eighty, and all went well until 1905 when the ship was rammed by a British freighter near Copenhagen and sunk.

Sadly, 20 young cadets went down with the Conrad. However, the vessel was quickly raised, repaired, and continued her mission until 1934 when the ship was sold. The new owner privatized the ship and took her around the world for two years covering 58,000 miles.


The Mystic Seaport gained possession of the Joseph Conrad in 1948, and it has been in the museum ever since.


As we walked the decks, we could appreciate the vast amount of maintenance that is necessary to keep such an important maritime relic in ship-shape.

The Authentic Seaport Village


The faithful Seafaring Village has an active shiplift – that’s the seasonal touring steamboat Sabino being readied for winter in the photo above.


There’s also a sail and rigging loft – chandlery,


craftsman workshops such as a shipsmith shop,


nautical instrument shop, and a cooperage.


There’s also a bank, drug store, school house, and a tavern.


Be sure to visit the small catboat exhibit with its many beautiful varnished toys for grown-ups,


and the Henry B. DuPont Preservation Shipyard to see what wonders marine craftsman can perform in the restoration of a boat or ship.

The kids will love it


Mystic Seaport is the #1 family vacation destination in Connecticut, and for good reason. This is a place for every mood, and every taste. Kids are treated to fun seafaring experiences they could not find elsewhere. Click *here* to see the many learning opportunities available at this 19-acre maritime park.


Fancy a sailing lesson around the harbor?


Get all the additional information you need about Mystic Seaport by checking their website.

If you go

Mystic Seaport is easy to reach and lies betwixt New York City (134 miles) and Boston (102 miles) on I-95 – exit 90. Mystic Seaport is located right on the banks of the Mystic River that flows into nearby Long Island Sound.

Where to stay

We chose two delightful inns for our stay in the Mystic/Stonington area – appropriately, both were on the water.

The Steamboat Inn


Strategically located in downtown Mystic, and close to the famous Mystic River Bascule Bridge,


the Steamboat Inn is an uber-comfortable 11-room luxury hotel. Each guestroom has distinctive furnishings that are in harmony with the nautical theme.


We were in room #2, apply named, “Mystic.” Great views of the river activity taking place just outside our windows.


The inn projects comfort at every turn, and the delicious full complimentary breakfast served in the common room is a great way to start the day in Mystic Country.

To view all the rooms and learn more about this recommended inn click *here*.

The Inn at Stonington


Just ten minutes from Mystic lies another village with a seafaring history, the Borough of Stonington. The Inn at Stonington is nestled into quiet Water Street with nearby upscale 18th and 19th century homes. The back of the inn is a stone’s throw from Stonington Harbor.


It’s just a short walk down Water Street to the Old Lighthouse Museum constructed in 1840 at Dubois Beach.


The lighthouse is no longer active, but the old stone building provides an excellent museum of the history of the village and surroundings.

The little Dubois beach is relatively secluded and just the sort of out-of-the-way place where busy tourists can enjoy a measure of relaxing solitude.


You can chose from a range of bedroom types to suit your taste at the Inn at Stonington. Our room overlooked the harbor and Fisher’s Island Sound beyond. Each of the 18 classily decorated rooms reflects the ambiance of the surrounding quaint village.

We arrived at the inn just in time for the evening wine and cheese reception. Nicely selected area wines were accompanied by an ample assortment of artisan cheeses. Yummy.


This boutique inn also provides a complimentary and substantial continental breakfast in the sitting room that overlooks the harbor.


Tasty and filling – another good start for a day of intensive touring.

Look at the website for more information about the Inn at Stonington, availability, and pricing.

Where to eat 

This part of coastal Connecticut is noted for seafood restaurants, and you will have no trouble finding palate pleasing fare of any variety in the 80+ local restaurants.

There are four family dining facilities located right at Mystic Seaport. We were told by nearby residents that the dining facilities are all quite good, but we did not eat during our tour of the park, so cannot personally comment.


Another place we didn’t eat, but should mention, is the famous Mystic Pizza restaurant – the inspiration for the 1988 coming-of-age movie starring Julia Roberts. It is right on busy West Main Street in downtown Mystic.


We did enjoy some excellent, mega-portion New England fried seafood at the Seahorse Restaurant in nearby Noank. This place we do recommend. The Seahorse serves tasty full-bellied fried clams that are favored by the regulars. These clams taste a little like fried oysters, but not as pungent. Delicious!

There was also a seafood restaurant at the dock across the parking lot from the Inn at Stonington called Swooner.


We had lunch there, and mercifully, it closed soon after our visit. Our helpful tourism contact has informed us that another restaurant named the Breakwater will open at this superb waterfront location in May 2015.

The new proprietor has a reputation for operating successful restaurants. The Breakwater will feature classic American seafood in a casual contemporary atmosphere – not fancy. Can’t wait to try it the next time we are in Connecticut.

Also for next-time, how about a day on the Ice Cream Trail meticulously organized by www.Mystic.org – a good reference website to remember.  48 sweet places to relish America’s favorite dessert. 48!


We highly recommend Mystic Country for a quality family vacation. In addition to what you see reported here, the area is also home to the Mystic Aquarium, the Goodspeed Opera House, Gillette’s Castle, two casinos, and a submarine museum.

The reader may also be interested in the following Connecticut stories and reviews by Wayne and Judy.

Fall Colors in New England at Brainerd House

Visit to Extraordinary Gillette’s Castle

Best of Connecticut Resorts and Spas

A Storybook Christmas in Connecticut at the Tidewater Inn

A True New England Holiday Experience

A Historic Inn along the Shore of Fashionable Westport

An Intimate Bed and Breakfast on the Backroads of Connecticut

The Elegant Delamar Greenwich Harbor Hotel

The American Revolution and Curtis House Inn

Happy travels!


“Get out there, but be prepared.”

Whenever we travel, we are protected by Allianz Global Assist travel insurance.

You can plan your trips with Google Maps.

© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff

Photos © Judy Bayliff

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