Tuesday, July 20, 2010


So, this past weekend, I made a return out to the North Fork of Long Island to check out some more wineries. If you didn't read about JSS' journey to the North Fork wineries the first time, click here. This time, I went with a group of 12 people. We all rented a van to pick us up in the city and drive us out and back for the day- this made for a fun, worry-free, wine-filled day, and it was awesome! I have to say that I did not love these wineries as much as the smaller mom and pop ones that I went to a couple of weeks ago. These were larger, and catered to bigger parties, and the "party crowd," but it was perfect for our group. Again, I hope to visit more of them in the near future...so stay tuned for Jet Set Smart's next North Fork Wineries List.1- Lieb Family Cellars: Very small winery... but great staff and very reasonable wines. We tried their white merlot ($15 each) which was very good. We also had their table red wine ($15 each - excellent for spicy dishes such as Thai). Tasting hours are Tuesday through Sunday 11:30am-5:30pm.2- Vineyard 48: This place is fabulous! The Tasting Room and grounds are beautiful, and the wines are amazing. Plus, the service was fast and friendly. There was also a band playing music, so that was a nice touch! I highly recommend this winery to anyone looking to enjoy great wines in a great setting, especially for the party crowd. Tasting hours are Tuesday through Sunday 11am-5pm.3- Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard: This place was my favorite winery of what we visited this time around. It had a casual and relaxed atmosphere, and plenty of outside benches for seating. The wine tasting room itself was also really nice, and they do have a full mini-service restaurant where you can order sandwiches and salads if you are hungry. As far as their wine goes, it's pretty good. The best was the Merlot Rose! (Never had something like this before!) Tasting hours are Mondays and Wednesdays through Fridays 11am-6pm, and Saturdays and Sundays 11am-7pm. They are closed on Tuesdays.

Friday, July 16, 2010


A few months ago, a jet setter who reads this blog emailed me asking for ideas of things to do for her vacation to Puerto Rico or P.R. I came up with a mini "Hit List" for her of where to go, what to see and do, and where to eat, and I wanted to share that list with all of you jet setters. I am also thinking about jet setting to Puerto Rico later this year, and re-reading this list made me that much more excited about going there. Please share any of your ideas if you've jet setted to Puerto Rico with me! PUERTO RICO- SAN JUAN
- Best time to visit: December-March
- Get lost in Old San Juan's cobblestone streets, pastel-colored houses- Visit the ancient fort of El Morro- Feed the pigeons out of your hand at Parque de las Palomas- If you have time, head over to Isla Verde area & Condado (two other great beach areas with more restaurants, bars, hotels & shopping)- Another thing to see if you can is Balneario de Luquillo (Perhaps the prettiest beach in all of Puerto Rico). It's about a 1/2 hour drive east of San Juan on Route 3.- El Yunque Rainforest (you will be amazed how such a tiny island can have such an enormously beautiful rainforest).Shopping:- Make sure to buy a Guayabera ( a linen or cotton shirt/ either long or short sleeve- worn by men and women for a casual look or even dressy that come in all colors). I have one in white and get so many compliments when I wear it! You will see them for sale all over San Juan- so try and get one.- I also love to buy sarongs when I go (they are sold in shops in Old San Juan & on the beaches). Some of my favorite ones that I own are from P.R...they are so pretty & colorful, inexpensive & make good souvenir gifts.- A coqui (ceramic or picture of one) - a small frog that lives in P.R. They are found all over and make a beautiful chirping noise. The thing that's incredible about the coqui is that it can ONLY survive in P.R. The coqui has been taken to other locations with tropical climates similar to P.R., and it has not survived. So there is a saying in P.R. that if you are born and raised there then "You are as Puerto Rican as the coqui."Bars for a night scene in Old San Juan:
- Baru (Calle San Sebastian)
- El Cafe Seda (Calle San Sebastian)
- Marrero (Calle Sol)
What to See:
* Catedral de San Juan Bautista, Old San Juan (151 Calle Cristo)* It's one of the oldest churches in the Western Hemisphere (1520) and is home to the tomb of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon.* El Morro (Calle Norzagaray)* It's a massive fortress that extends out on a rocky peninsula into the Atlantic. When you go, also see Fuerte San Cristobal (built by Irish).*La Fortaleza* (The Governor's Mansion)Eat:
- La Bombanera (one of the oldest bakeries in P.R.) Try one their mallorcas (Spanish pastry) and Cocas (similar to a pizza) They also have great typical Puerto Rican lunch food like arroz con gandules, pernil, etc. Also good to eat (if they have it here) is a Tripleta- a sandwich made with ham, chicken, beef, mayo, ketchup, fries, lettuce & tomato.- La Mallorquina- The 160-year-old restaurant is known for its family-style cocina criolla, or traditional Puerto Rican feasts: seasonal favorites include lechón (suckling pig), arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), and pasteles (yucca and meat wrapped in a banana leaf).- Barrachina- birthplace of the original pina colada (1963) Located on Calle Fortaleza. It's delicious! Drink them here & all over P.R...it's the thing to do!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


My friends at Escape to Shape just emailed me to let me know that they've picked the first destination for Winter 2011! They are heading to Bali, Indonesia for seven nights. You can join in and get to stay in a magnificent hotel, enjoy local cuisine, daily yoga and pilates, beach walks, explore the Temples and pampering! Escape to Shape considers itself a traveling fitness spa. If you are interested, hurry up and book now because these spots do fill up quickly. Guys don't tune out, plenty of men go on these trips every year! These trips are also great for solo travelers, friends or couples.Dates: January 29-February 5 & March 3-10, 2011

Here's an example of a Day in the Life at Escape to Shape:
8:00am- Breakfast of fresh fruit, yogurt and granola
9:00am- Skin-Detox session at Volcanic mud baths
12:00pm- 90 minute power walk on the beach
1:30pm- Lunch of gazpacho soup and grilled chicken salad
3:00pm- 50 laps in the pool and aromatherapy massages
4:00pm- Snack of watermelon slices
5:30pm- 90 minute vinyasa yoga session
7:00pm- Salsa dancing lessons
8:00pm- Dinner of pumpkin soup and grilled shrimp
10:00pm- Head out and dance till dawn or collapse into bed

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Thinking about jet setting to the beach for a weekend this summer? It's one of my favorite things to do during this season. Well, have any of you jet setters ever been to Long Branch, New Jersey? Long Branch is a beach town, located in Monmouth County, which is only about an hour and change drive from New york City (About 55 miles). Long Branch is not far from Asbury Park. Click here to read more about JSS' recommendations in Asbury Park. Long Branch has really developed recently, and now you can find Pier Village, which includes restaurants and high-end shops right across the street from the beach. When you walk around, you could easily think that you are in Santa Monica or South Beach. Who knew the Jersey Shore could be so chic, huh? Long Branch can easily be a day trip for any one who lives in New York or New Jersey, but if you are looking to stay a little while longer, my suggestion for where to lay your head would be Bungalow. Bungalow (Opened this past May) is a hotel which was designed by Robert and Cortney Novogratz, of Bravo's reality show "Nine By Design." Below, is a write-up on Bungalow from their website:
Bungalow is the Jersey Shore's only authentic boutique luxury lifestyle hotel. Located in Pier Village, just steps from endless sand beaches and the refreshing Atlantic Ocean, Bungalow is stylish and beach chic, yet playful and profoundly inviting! The lobby cafe serves delicious light fare and clever cocktails and has an endless assortment of games for guests to enjoy including billiards, backgammon and chess. All rooms are oversized with king beds, flat screen tvs, ipod docking stations, kitchenettes, cafe tables, expansive window walls, and fireplaces. What’s more... Bungalow is as unique as it is exciting with over 50 works of original art designed to stimulate and engage.

Rates start at $249 during the week and $399 on weekends over the summer, but they drop down to $159 a night after Labor Day...so that could be a Jet Set Smart deal!!!

Monday, July 12, 2010


I am proud to say that over the weekend I became a Toyota Prius owner! That's right, I'm now jet setting around in a Hybrid Car instead of a gas guzzler. Yes, it's definitely not as sleek as my last car, and doesn't have all of the amenities of my last car either, but as the oil continues to spill in the Gulf, it makes me feel good that I am doing something that makes me a little less dependant on buying so much gasoline. I also have to say that with the summer here, I am taking a lot more road trips, and having a Prius now means that it is a jet set smarter way to travel by driving a hybrid car. Starting from today, I am going to keep track of how much I spend on gas from now until the summer officially ends and I will let you know how I do. I hope to encourage some of you jet setters who read this blog to at least consider going with a Hybrid for your next car!

Friday, July 9, 2010


Many jet setters are unaware that the North Fork of Long Island in New York is considered Wine Country (basically our own version of California's Napa Valley or Santa Barbara's Wine Country but in New York). In fact, there are more than 30 wineries to choose from, each with its own personality. Here's a list of the wineries I visited over the July 4th Holiday weekend out on the North Fork, and a little about what I thought of each of them. My two favorites were McCall and One Woman. Shinn was also very cool, but more for its indoor space than outdoor which is a waste if you get a nice day. I like Bedell (and its related property Corey Creek). The one to stay away from on this list, in my mind, would be Raphael as it's too corporate. I hope to visit more of them in the near future...so stay tuned for Jet Set Smart's next North Fork Wineries List.1- Shinn Estate Vineyards: This place has good wines and a nice laid back feel. It's located on Oregon Road which is a pretty road, and is not on one of the two main roads on the North Fork, so I feel like it's more secluded. Tasting hours are Monday-Sunday 12pm-5pm.2- Raphael: The setting here is as if you are in an old Italian villa in Tuscany. It's beautiful and is considered (by many of the locals) to be one of the best tasting rooms on Long Island. They have very good quality wine at a reasonable price. Tasting hours are Sunday-Friday 11am-5pm; Saturday by appointment only.3- Bedell Cellars: Bedell has a huge outdoor deck complete with a tasting bar and a great view of the vineyards. The inside is decorated in a modern style with some interesting art. If it's a nice day, I'd highly recommend grabbing a seat outside, grabbing a bottle, and just enjoying the setting. Tasting hours are Monday-Sunday 11am-5pm.4- Corey Creek Vineyards: This is the sister vineyard of Bedell at only a fraction of the size. The view from the porch at Corey Creek is one of the best on the North Fork. The rows of vines seem to extend endlessly. The tasting room itself is fairly... should I say "intimate"? While Corey Creek doesn't lend itself well to large parties (buses are not allowed), I'd definitely recommend it for smaller parties or couples. Tasting hours are Monday-Thursday 11am-5pm, and Friday and Saturday 11am-6pm.5- Laurel Lake Vineyards: This is a must stop on your wine tour. It is a very small place and not on the very fancy side but the wine speaks for it's self, plus the two outside decks face right out onto the vineyards. Tasting hours are Monday-Sunday 11am-6pm.6- Pellegrini Winery: I would say this winery was okay. Most of the sitting area is in a large patio area that's pretty much enclosed by the tasting room building. There are only a handful of tables that actually taste the vineyards. As for the wine itself, nothing to rave about. Tasting hours are Monday through Saturday 11am-5pm.7- Pugliese Vineyards: Pronounced (pull-yay-zee). The scenery here is nice, you can sit outside and look out onto a pond filled with koi fish while you are sipping your wine. We enjoyed a nice bottle of Sparkling Merlot, something I've never had before, and it was refreshing and light. Tasting hours are Monday through Sunday 10am-5pm.8- One Woman: This winery has only been open for a little over a year. It is a winery and vineyard run by one woman and her daughter. It's definitely rustic and beautiful, and the wines are fantastic. Tasting hours are Friday through Monday 12pm-6pm.9- McCall Vineyards: This is also a new winery; their tasting room (set in a beautifully restored barn) just opened in May of this year. They only have three wines so far and they are all very good.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


After a wonderful night's sleep at Hide-san and Choco-san's beautiful home in the Alps, we had a delicious home-cooked breakfast before heading out to check out a Sake factory. The Sake factory is in a building which used to be some one's home, so as always, the inside was simple, and there was a beautiful Japanese garden. We got to try all different kinds of sake from sweet to dry...they were all very good.

After that, we headed over to the Suntory Whiskey Factory which is set in the middle of a forest...it's so pretty there. We toured the factory, and got to sample some of the whiskey. If the name Suntory may sound familiar to you, its probably because you heard Bill Murray say it in the 2003 hit Lost in Translation - "For relaxing times, make it Suntory times." Next we went to see Matsumoto-jo Castle in the town of Matsumoto. Matsumoto-jo (started in 1505) is nicknamed Karasu-jo or Crow Castle for its black walls. This castle was very interesting to see, because unlike any of the other ones we saw one the trip, we were allowed inside of Matsumoto-jo. I have to tell you, however, that it's quite a climb up to the top as there are very steep stairs. But, it's all worth it when you get to the top and can look out onto the gorgeous view of the surrounding mountains.
We had certainly worked up a bit of an appetite after the climb and headed to this nearby restaurant for some ice cream. I am not that much of an ice cream person, but the ice cream in Japan was some of the best I have ever had...it was so creamy.For dinner that night we went to a restaurant back in Kobuchizawa that only serves eel.
You must be prepared to wait awhile for your food, as the eel is pulled from the tank and prepared fresh to order. The eel came prepared two ways, one was pan fried in a sweet sauce and was served over white rice...The other was grilled and served with a piece of line and some fresh sahved wasabi...both were amazing beyond belief!!! The day in the Alps was one of the best in Japan. It was so incredible to have the personal tour guides of Hide-San, Choco-San and Annika, showing us the best of this part of the country from the sites to the the food. Stay tuned for a little more from Kobuchizawa, and also our visit to Mt. Fuji!