Millennium Hotel Minneapolis, a city landmark for the last 50 years, has re-opened after a $22-million-plus renovation. It was closed for the work since December 2012, and had a soft re-opening in April. Work included remodels of all 321 guest rooms and public spaces, adding a club floor and lounge, and a restaurant, North 45° with local craft beers and regional cuisine. Contemporary designs have been added through the hotel’s 22,000-square-feet of function space, hotel officials said.
Local materials were used to evoke the surrounding area, including Kasota Stone, which is used in many of the city’s most famous buildings. White marble and birch bark were used for the columns, and Corten steel added texture to various elements of the building, reflecting the taconite found on the north shore.
The hotel has been a landmark since 1963 when it opened as Capp Towers, its iconic dome getting famous when the hotel was featured that year in Life Magazine. For information, visit www.millenniumhotels.com/usa/millenniumhotelminneapolis
Star Wars Land at Walt Disney World? It sounds like it.
According to the website, Theme Park Insider, a series of attractions based on the “Star Wars” movie franchise is coming to the Hollywood Studios theme park at Walt Disney World, possibly by the year 2018. Cars Land, the popular addition to Disneyland’s California Adventure theme park in Anaheim, Calif., also appears to be a part of the major revamping in order to compete with Universal Studios Florida across town.
“This appears to be a five-year project,” Robert Niles writes, “though Disney could choose to throw money at it and accelerate it by a year.”
When Disney purchased the rights to Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise late last year for $4.05 billion, it immediately meant the reality of a new film, as well as other marketing opportunities that would seem to be a natural fit within the company’s theme parks in Orlando and Anaheim, Calif., where the “Star Tours” ride remains a popular attraction. "Star Wars"-themed weekends are also popular at Hollywood Studios periodically throughout the year.
Up next, a battle for the Death Star? Pod racing? Escape from Cloud City?
All it took was a Goombay Smash at the sedately unhurried Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina in Marsh Harbour to prove how wrong I was about the Bahamas, having previously thought all of the islands were like Nassau, thick with cruise ships, tourists and shops.Pete’s Pub in Little Harbor. And maybe that Shotgun drink at Cracker P’s on Lubber’s Quarters, a tiny cay with great views of the Sea of Abaco. Then there was the all-you-can gorge Sunday pig roast at Nipper’s on Great Guana Cay. And also watching Joe Albury’s gnarled hands still crafting wooden boats over at Man-O-War cay.
So I was wrong. And couldn’t feel more right about it.
The Abacos, a collection of islands along the outer Bahamas, have that old Caribbean flair about them, simple little places that are popular but seemingly uncrowded, embraced by crystal waters, the ever-changing aquamarine tone of which I’ve not seen many other places. We stayed at Abaco Beach Resort, the largest hotel in Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island, but spread along a gorgeous beach enough to never feel cluttered. The food there at Angler’s Restaurant was typically tropical and downright delicious, such as the macadamia crusted grouper, and my favorite, the whopping half-pound grilled Bahamian lobster tail. They also have regular musical entertainment, which while we were there consisted of the crooning of local Esten Sawyer. There is also regular music at the resort pool bar. In the marina, one of the Bahamas biggest, are boats small and massive; during our stay, the yacht of the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars was moored. The resort also runs a wide range of fishing tournaments.
The resort is also a perfect hopping off point to hit the other islands by boat, including Little Harbor, where at Pete’s Pub, a low-slung, totally atmospheric sand-floored bar and restaurant, you can get terrific mahi mahi, grab a Monster (made with four rums and other less consequential stuff) and sit on the beach deck watching things like a Hemingwayesque fisherman pull up, grab a beer, and put back to sea, with his loyal dog hopping back aboard.
Over at Cracker P’s, a giant, multilevel structure with huge corner bar, amazing views and terrific Shotguns (a tequila bloody Mary spiked with house hot sauce), you can nosh on sweet-fried mahi mahi or amazing fish dip and then pull up a beach chair to relax it off. The place is named after Paul John Simmons, aka Cracker Pinder, Spanish-American War vet who, legend has it, killed a Georgia sheriff in 1915 and fled to the Bahamas. Legend also has it he didn’t fancy clothes and was the first naked person many locals had seen.
Nipper’s on Great Guana Cay is a must-do Sunday affair, an unremarkable pig roast made more tasty by the setting high on a bluff overlooking the ocean, with a packed bar and patio jammed with dancing people and a terrific party place to be.
My favorite place was a throwback, a visit to Albury & Sons on Man-O-War, where native Joe Albury, 68, still builds 14-foot dinghies with hands calloused, worn and practiced, usually using ancient tools handed down through the generations. He talks quietly and proudly of his craft, saying he quit school at 14 to do this and started helping out “since I was old enough to hold a saw,” days when as a youth he’d turn a wood grinder “until it felt like my arm would fall off.” In the picture-perfect harbor outside, the water was dotted with pastel-colored crafts created by Albury’s skilled hands.
And all of it is pretty close: Marsh Harbour is less than 170 miles off the coast of Florida. Deals abound this time of year as well. Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina is running a “Star Spangled Holiday Getaway” from July 4-7, an air-inclusive offer (from Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach or Orlando), which includes three nights, holiday beach barbecue, bonfire and fireworks, two round-trip ferry transfers to Elbow Cay, Guana Cay or Man-O-War Cay, and all taxes, service charges and tips on packaged items. Rates from $827 per person based on double occupancy. Check it out at www.abacobeachresort.com
Abaco Islands are pretty unrushed, and that’s the best place to be to enjoy a Goombay Smash, Shotgun, Blaster... .
Photos, top to bottom (by Paul E. Kandarian): Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour; Pete's Pub; Cracker P's; Joe Albury; and Goombay Smash (courtesy of Abaco Beach Resort.
By Mark Jacob, Chicago Tribune staff
Heading to Chicago for the Stanley Cup finals between the Boston Bruins and Blackhawks, but are worried about fitting in? The Chicago Tribune’s Mark Jacob checks in with some unique phrases and terms so that Bostonians can sound like a local.
Here are some tips on how to talk Chicago.
First off, it's Chi-CAW-go, not Chi-CAA-go. Nationwide, you hear that second pronunciation more than the first. But among longtime Chicagoans, you hear the first much more often.
Some other words and phrases:
Over by dere -- That's Chicagoan for "there," as in "I parked the car over by dere."
Ending sentences with "with" -- When you're going to the store, someone might ask you, "Can I go with?"
Djeet -- When Chicagoans want to know whether someone is hungry, they ask "Djeet?" - as in "Did you eat?"
Sammich or sanguich - known in most of the U.S. as a sandwich.
The Jewels -- The Jewel supermarket chain gets an unofficial "S" on it, plus "the" in front.
Goethe Street -- This is a street on the North Side of Chicago. It's not pronounced "GEH-tah." It's "GO-thee." (And while we're at it, forget the H in
Throop Street - it's pronounced "Troop.") Dibs -- The custom of shoveling snow out of a parking spot and then putting old folding chairs or other items in the spot to reserve it.
Viagra Triangle -- Nickname for a Near North Side area of bars where wealthy older men meet younger women.
Chumbolone -- Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass has popularized the word "chumbolone" (chum-ba-LOAN), meaning a fool who is easily taken advantage of. Kass uses this term to explain what Illinois politicians think of him and other taxpayers.
Guests at Rosalie Bay Resort on the Caribbean island of Dominica can save 40 percent on stays of two nights or more at the wind- and solar-powered eco-boutique resort now through Sept. 15, during peak sea turtle nesting season. Under night skies, guests can watch the giant creatures amble ashore to nest, or hatchlings head out to sea.Three types of endangered sea turtles, the green, hawksbill and giant leatherback, travel thousands of miles each year to nest on the protected black sand beach of Rosalie Bay Resort. Guests may participate in the resort’s sea turtle conservation program by helping patrol the beach to protect nesting turtles, aiding researchers in collecting data or relocating nests that are too close to the ocean to the turtle hatchery, and being “on call” for when baby sea turtles emerge from their nest. With the discount, daily rates begin at $150 per couple plus tax and service charge. Daily rates include continental breakfast, free Wi-Fi, yoga classes and guided nature hikes near the eco-resort. Stays of five nights or more also include complimentary roundtrip airport transfers. The offer is available in all categories of the resort’s cottage-style accommodations with hand-carved hardwood four-poster beds, spa bathrooms with walk-in rain showers and private balconies or patios with views of the gardens, Atlantic Ocean or Rosalie River.
Travel-related transactions account for a third of all e-commerce revenue, according to a survey of top U.S. consumer travel trends from the first quarter of the year released by Sojern, a San Francisco-based traveler engagement platform. The trends Sojern analyzed are based on more than 400 million traveler intent data points, the company said.Among other things, the data revealed that New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orlando were the top five desired, or most searched destinations in the first quarter, with NYC, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., the most popular destinations overall. Florida was the most popular family travel destination, with Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale among the top 10 for groups of two or more. Business travel was on the rise, with 56.8 percent traveling for business, and Atlanta topping the list of most traveled to places for business in the U.S. for the first quarter. Almost 95 percent of people traveling in the first quarter flew coach class. Most travelers book airline tickets more than 30 days in advance, and just three percent booked the same day. As to length of stays, most stayed for three to five days.
Ocean House in Watch Hill, a village of Westerly, R.I., the state’s only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star resort, and known for fine dining, is increasing its culinary presence in southern Rhode Island by adding offerings from the 10-acre Avondale Farm, to a list of 49 local farms and farmer’s markets it uses. The resort is also adding new classes from on-staff food forager Janice McEachen, a partnership with a local oyster farm and new honey beehives. Expansion of the culinary program at the resort “is the next step in making the property a true food destination for discerning travelers,” said Daniel Hostettler, president and managing director of Ocean House Management.Avondale will serve as a resource for the resort’s five dining outlets, a learning tool for guests and a sustainable way to give back to the Watch Hill community on the state’s southwestern corner. A small orchard of apple trees took root recently and should be ready for fall picking, with honey from four new hives ready this summer. A coop has also been built to house several chickens and this fall, Ocean House teams with Salt Water Farm in North Kingstown to introduce deep-water signature Ocean House oysters. The resort has also launched a new “In the Kitchen” culinary education series, where guests join McEachen teaches with members of the Ocean House chef team and guest chefs, with lessons in cooking foundations, stock making, sauces and seasoning. The classes run one Saturday per month, for $95 per person. For more information, visit www.oceanhouseri.com
The Colonial Inn of Ogunquit, Maine, has finished a $4-million renovation and has reopened under new ownership and management, with upgraded facilities in a Victorian building that has been an inn for more than 125 years. The inn has 62 rooms in four buildings, most with water views, and all rooms have king beds, refrigerator and new furnishings. The inn is in the center of Ogunquit Village, halfway between downtown and Perkin’s Cove. Is it managed by Migis Hotel Group, a Maine-based company. For reservations and information, visit www.thecolonialinn.com
Gotta go to Moe’s? If you’re in the mood for a burrito, there are dozens of locations in Massachusetts. If you’re looking to share a cold one with Homer Simpson and Barney Gumble, you’ll have to make your way to Springfield. Or, Orlando, Fla.
Universal Studios Florida unveiled its latest theme park attraction over the weekend with the mythical Moe’s Tavern as part of “Fast Food Boulevard,” featuring other dining locales from the long-running Fox animated series, including Krusty Burger, the Flying Dutchman, and Cletus’ Chicken Shack. For the most part, the expansion of the park’s Simpsons’ ride is little more than fast food licensed as Simpsons’ merchandise. But check out the above exploration of Moe’s Tavern, and it’s like walking into the series to enjoy a Duff beer. Visitors can even snap their photo with the ubiquitous Barney.
According to InsidetheMagic.net, there is more to come in the re-vamped area, including a Duff Brewery attraction as well as “Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl ride.”
Norfolk, Virginia is one of those delightfully surprising places for someone who hasn’t been there or heard much about it, home to a gigantic naval base for which it’s most widely known. But it’s also a place with a devotion to culture: The 31st Annual Norfolk Jazz Festival runs this year from July 19-21, adding a third day to the popular event this year. The setting is the downtown waterfront, along the Elizabeth River at Down Point Park.Performers this year include Kirk Whalum, Rick Braun, Norman Brown, Jonathan Butler, Sheila E., Elan Trotman appearing as Souls of Summer, The Jae Sinnett Trio and Stanley Jordan. Tickets start at $28 per day for general admission and $49 for a three-day weekend general admission. For information, visit www.festevents.org/mini-site/jazz-music-festival And for all-things Norfolk, including lodging and dining options and available packages, check out www.visitnorfolktoday.com
At the Merrion, guests will received breakfast; a private tour of The Merrion's 19th- and 20th-century Irish art collection by expert from the National Gallery of Ireland; an afternoon "Art Tea" with pastries inspired by The Merrion's in-house artwork; and dinner for two at The Merrion's Michelin-starred Patrick Guilbaud Restaurant. The magnificently restored Georgian property is located downtown and within walking distance of most of Dublin's top sights.
The second night at Ballyfin, a five-star, 15-room country house hotel set on a private 600-acre estate, includes breakfast; a private tour of Ballyfin's 17th-century art collection by Irish art expert William Laffan; and a cocktail reception and five-course dinner for two in the Ballyfin's State Dining Room.
The package also includes transfers to and from airport and between The Merrion and Ballyfin. The cost for the two-night package is approximately $3,570 for two people sharing a room.
By Patricia Harris and David Lyon, Globe Correspondents
Our world seems to be having a Sixties moment, what with the “Summer of Love” psychedelic posters at the Smith College Museum of Art (www.smith.edu/artmuseum) and the upcoming “Hippie Chic” fashion exhibition at the MFA (www.mfa.org). The Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History (www.pacmusee.qc.ca/en/home) is doing its bit by commemorating the one and only visit to Montreal by the Beatles on September 8, 1964. They arrived at 2:20 p.m., played two shows, and left for the airport at 11 p.m. It was brief, but Montreal has never forgotten, and the exhibitions chronicle the Fab Four and the local reaction in wonderful detail. You don't need to come from Montreal to appreciate the band's profile from playing skiffle in Liverpool to their chaotic final sessions that led to the “Let It Be” film and album. One interactive exhibit features Beatles karaoke, with the chance to sing along with old film clips.
Exhibits carry through to the dissolution of the band, but one postscript exhibit recounts the Bed-In by John Lennon and Yoko Ono from May 26 to June 2, 1969, at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. They wanted everyone “to give peace a chance.” Not coincidentally, Montreal's new wax museum, the Grévin (www.grevin-montreal.com), recreates the famous couple and the famous bed. The show at the Archaeology and History museum, “The Beatles in Montreal,” is up through March 30, 2014.
Photos by David Lyon for the Boston Globe
If you’re looking for stuff to do this summer and not travel terribly far for it, consider New Haven, a Connecticut city with tons of things happening as the weather warms up, including events focused on the arts, music, food, wine and sports.A grand opening of Project Storefronts goes off June 15, an award-winning program that brings arts-related businesses to life in vacant retail spaces. The program’s newest creative entrepreneur, Sara Scranton, opens her new business then, called Lipgloss Center, part art gallery, part photo studio and creative workshop space. The event is free. For info visit www.projectstorefrontsnewhaven.com The 18th annual International Festival of Arts & Ideas runs June 15-29, a series of eventsthat is 80 percent free, including a show by Aaron Neville the first night. Check out www.artidea.org for scheduling and applicable ticket prices. The Creative Arts Workshop, the city’s nonprofit center for education in the visual arts, holds its annual juried show, “How Simple Can You Get,” from June 29-July 26, with Robert Storr, artist, critic, curator and dean of the Yale University School of Art. The exhibition of the abstract to the figurative is free. For information, visit www.creativeartsworkshop.org/simple New Haven’s own summer concert series, “Music on the Green,” runs July 20 and 27 in the heart of the city, with a show by the New Haven Symphony Orchestra on July 20 and KC and the Sunshine Band July 27. Visit www.infonewhaven.com for more. "Flights of Fancy,” a popular wine tasting and shopping event, runs July 25 with in-store wine tastings, discounts and giveaways at more than 25 downtown shops. For information, visit www.infonewhaven.com/flightsoffancy The New Haven Jazz Festival is running August 12-18, an expanded version this year with more venues, live shows in Temple Plaza, street performers, family events and youth activities. Expected to appear are the likes of Wayne Escoffery and his sextet from New Haven, and the Curtis Brothers with Natalie Fernandez and an eight-piece Latin jazz orchestra. Visit www.jazzhaven.org for information. The New Haven Open is scheduled for Aug. 16-24, a pro tennis event with tickets starting at $24. The full list of participants hasn’t been listed yet (expect it by July), but early indications have top-ranked female players participating such as Sara Errani, Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber and Marion Bartoli. Organizers advise getting tickets early at www.newhavenopen.com or calling 855-464-8366. Comfort Food & Cocktails happens in the midst of all that tennis on Aug. 21, at the Courtside Club overlooking stadium court. The event is new and will feature samples from the city’s best chefs, including from restaurants Zinc, Ibiza, Heirloom, Union League Café and many others. The 2013 Yale Summer Cabaret is “Summer of Giants,” running May 30-Aug. 18, a dozen weeks of performances that include “Tartuffe,” “The Shoemaker’s Prodigious Wife,” and “In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel.” For schedules, visit www.summercabaret.org Running now through Sept. 29 is “Art in Focus: St. Ives Abstraction,” by the Yale Center for British Arts, an exhibit featuring paintings and sculptures by artists working in the Cornish town of St. Ives in the mid-20th century, and curated by Yale undergrads in the Student Guide Program. Admission is free. For a full listing, visit www.britishart.yale.edu For all New Haven information, including lodging options, visit www.infonewhaven.com.
Nothing against Hampton Beach, N.H., a fine beach by many standards and one that the Granite State has spent millions on in refurbishments. But the best beach in New England?
That may be a stretch, even for a state that boasts only 18 miles of coastline, but that's how 1.5 million Weather Channel Facebook users voted in selecting the top beach for the region. The top vote-getter for the Northeast region was Ocean City, Md.
This is the first time in the four years of producing this content that a New Hampshire beach made the list of favorite beaches. New Hampshire has a small, but lively, beach scene. Hampton Beach is the most popular beach destination in the state.
Sure, but up against heavy-hitters like Horseneck, Crane, and Newport beaches, is it really the best in New England? What do you think?
Laconia Harley-Davidson and New Hampshire Motor Speedway are going for two goals on June 15: Raise more than $76,036 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of New Hampshire, and set a new Guinness world record. They’re inviting the public to play a key role in both.Laconia Motorcycle Week attendees can help by buying tickets for a community appreciation parade at the speedway June 15. Participants will have the unique opportunity to ride around the track on their bikes, continue on a police-escorted, scenic 32-mile ride around the Lakes Region and set a new Guinness record for “most money raised for a charity in 24 hours by a motorcycle parade,” the current record for which is $76,036. There is no better way to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of Laconia Motorcycle Week than attempting a philanthropic act of historic proportion,” said Anne Deli, owner of Laconia Harley-Davidson. “Motorcycle riders from across the globe and those here in New Hampshire can take part in a once-in-a-lifetime riding opportunity, but more importantly, make a difference by supporting this remarkable organization.” Riders can pre-register online at www.newhampshire.speedwaycharities.org, in-person at the Laconia Harley-Davidson dealership at 239 Daniel Webster Highway in Meredith, or sign up the day of the event on June 15th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Honoring the 50th anniversary assassination of President John F. Kennedy this November, the JFK Museum Foundation in Hyannis has opened a special exhibit, "Cape Cod: The Summer of 1963 to Nov. 22, 1963," which looks back on the president’s final months on the Cape.
"From the joyful 1963 summer memories of the President and his family, to the palpable fog of grief that settled over Cape Cod after his death, this exhibit will remind us how truly special those Camelot days were," said Rebecca Pierce-Merrick, museum curator, "and how one day in history changed it forever." The exhibit uses photos, videos, wall displays and news clips to tell the story of JFK’s last months on the Cape, where the Kennedy family spent much of that summer, including time spent mourning the death of their third child, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, who died when he was two days old. Special new videos produced by documentary film producer and Kennedy family videographer Andrew Fone are part of the exhibit.For more information, visit www.jfkhyannismuseum.org
Calabash Cove Resort & Spa on the West Indies island of St. Lucia is offering off-season deals that tie into new United Airlines non-stop flights to the island from Newark and New York, which start in July. For dates booked through Dec. 20, the resort offers reduced seasonal rates starting at $405 a night, depending on rooms and meal plan selected. If you book five or more nights in a sunset ocean-view junior suite by June 14, for travel through Dec. 20, you get an extra 10 percent off rates and a $200 resort credit.
For information visit www.CalabashCove.com The new St. Lucia flights have connections from a variety of New England locations, including Boston, Burlington, Vt,, Portland, Maine, Providence, Windsor Locks, Conn., and Manchester, N.H.
Got $40,000 to spend on a drink? We didn’t think so. But for $18, you can sip something much cheaper but with the same theme.It’s all part of the White Barn Inn’s 40th anniversary weekend May 31-June 2, when the luxury Kennebunkport, Maine is holding events such as a nine-course dinner, wine from 1973 and charity auction. Part of it is a $40,000 ruby cocktail that indeed comes with a four-carat ruby, which is the 40th-anniversary gemstone. The one in the drink is a lasting keepsake for those ordering, and the drink is available through the end of the year. If you don’t want to spend that much, the inn offers a Ruby Rose martini for $18, Hangar One vodka, St. Germain Elderflower, fresh grapefruit juice, pomegranate and a spoonful of rosewater. The menu for the nine-course dinner will be created by Chef Jonathan Cartwright, and costs $400 per person, served on June 1, with the dishes taking diners back 40 years to mark the occasion, Cartwright said. With dinner, guests will drink a 1973 D’Oliveiras Verdelho wine. And during the dinner, there will be an auction of a bottle of 1973 Hanzell Vineyards pinot noir, with proceeds going to “Share Our Strength,” which fights childhood hunger. The bottle is valued at approximately $200. There will also be a special VIP cocktail reception May 31, and on June 1 at 11 a.m., a historic tour of Kennebunk with food and drink along the way. Through the end of June, the inn offers room specials and a $40 spa service. For information, visit www.whitebarninn.com
The 35th annual South County Hot Air Balloon Festival runs July 19-21 at the athletic fields of the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown, an event that started as a small group of balloon enthusiasts and is now a full-blown Rhode Island summer fair, with carnival rides, games, overnight RV camping and arts and crafts show. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Wakefield, R.I., the event has raised more than $1.5 million over the years, all going to local scholarships and charities, organizers said. About 10 balloonists will show off their aircrafts July 19 and 20, with a “Balloon Glow,” accompanied by a Friday night concert by Roomful of Blues, and Saturday night fireworks.
Balloonists will give tethered rides during each “Glow” event, with balloons tied to the ground and floating up about 150 feet, with the flames heating the balloons also lighting them up in the night sky. The Kansas City BBQ Competition returns this year to a festival proven to be one of the most popular in the state, with Yankee magazine rating it a Top 20 R.I. event from 2010-2013.
Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 14 and under, with $25 charged for family admission. Parking is free, and RV camping is available.
For information, visit www.southcountyballoonfest.com