A country road meanders past horse farms, vineyards, and white-columned mansions. We have escaped the traffic of Washington D.C. and are on our way to Keswick Hall, a private estate turned luxury hotel in the scenic foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Wild donkeys graze in an emerald pasture beneath majestic Nevis Peak as we turn into the cobblestone driveway of Montpelier Plantation and Beach. An imposing weeping fig tree shelters the picture-perfect great house where owner Muffin Hoffman and her dog Ziggy, a honey-colored Lab, wait to welcome us to a Caribbean few know still exists.
Juliette's bright smile lights up our arrival at Cap Juluca, a resort that's been on our wish list for too many years. My husband and I haven't been here before, yet she greets us by name and escorts us through the domed archway decorated with exotic Moroccan lanterns. We emerge to the open-air lobby where we are instantly mesmerized by the powder sand crescent beach with brilliant turquoise water that we've always seen in photographs.
Looking out at the peaceful bay in this quiet, picturesque setting, it's hard to imagine the dramatic, weatherbeaten scenes of Winslow Homer's paintings.
Any day is a great day to check out the PGA National Resort & Spa's impressive $100 million renovation. We arrive in Palm Beach during the Honda Classic, a premier event on the PGA tour and can hardly wait to submerge ourselves in the "world of golf."
For the devotee, the golf get-away is a hallowed tradition. But how it is approached can evolve -- which is how I found myself at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay just in time for sunset over the Pacific.
We arrive at Ponta Dos Ganchos, an idyllic resort in Brazil's southern state of Santa Catarina...and step into a dream. The fatigue of our lengthy flight vanishes. Romance and exotic landscapes beckon.