KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Best of Autumn on Long Island’s East End
Shorter days and cooler temperatures are tell-tales that summer is leaving and autumn has begun. There is no better place to experience autumn than on Long Island. Growing up on Long Island my whole life and traveling to other places in the country, hands down, Long Island is my favorite. Some say I am a bit of an “expert” on the best places where you can experience autumn at its finest; from u-pick apples and pumpkins, to where to find the best cider doughnut. Now, I want to share all of my favorite spots with you. Here are my favorite places to enjoy all that autumn has to offer on Long Island’s East End.
Best Apple Picking: Wickham’s Fruit Farm in Cutchogue
Long Island locals all have their favorite location for prime apple picking, but if you want to try to avoid crowds and get a truly authentic experience, Wickham’s Fruit Farm is the place to go! Wickham’s fruit is grown on some of the oldest continually cultivated land in the country, much of the farm dating from 1661. A large proportion of Wickham farm land has been placed in Suffolk County’s Farmland Preservation program, so for generations to come, this land is “forever agriculture.” Don’t want to pick your own? Visit their farmstand on-site for apples and an array of other seasonal fruit and vegetables.
Best Pumpkin Picking: Helen’s Pumpkin Farm in Aquebogue
This is a great family friendly place that offers hours of fun with the large corn maze, up to 20 acres of pumpkins, concession stand and fully stocked farm stand. You can pick pumpkins that have already been brought in from the fields or you can venture out on your own to find your ‘Great Pumpkin.’ At 59 cents per pound, which includes specialty gourds and giant pumpkins that can weigh up to 100 pounds, Helen’s Pumpkin Farm is one of the best prices you will find.
Best Fall Festival: Montauk Fall Festival in Montauk
Best Hard Apple Cider: Woodside Orchards in Jamesport
Since 1982, Woodside Orchards has not only been growing apples but making fresh hard apple cider. You can visit Woodside’s tasting room everyday, except Wednesday, and try their various types of cider, or order a pint and relax in their picnic area outside around the fire. You can also buy or bring your own growler to enjoy the cider at home. While you are there, don’t forget to purchase their doughnuts, fresh honey and a carmel apple to go. Did I forget to mention their free chocolate chip cookies you can enjoy while you are there?
Best Vineyards: Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue
Best Farm Stand: Lewin Farms in Calverton
Every trip I make out to the East End always ends with a trip to Lewin Farm Stand. Now in its fourth generation of farmers, Lewin Farm Stand offers a full line of fresh fruits and vegetables; many of these are grown on their farm. They also get other local Long Island produce from nearby farms to offer you the freshest quality, locally grown produce possible. Strawberries, cauliflower, squash and pears are just a few of the crops they grow on-site that you can bring home to make your favorite recipes.
Best Place for Families: Harbes Family Farm in Mattituck
Harbes is the perfect all-in-one stop for you and your family. Although Harbes has many locations on Long island, their Mattituck farm is the largest. They have everything from pumpkin and apple picking, to hayrides and delicious food. Your children can stay entertained by the Harbes staff in their 10 acre ‘Barnyard Adventure’ park while you relax, drink some wine in the tasting room and enjoy the crisp autumn air. Children can also enjoy a hayride, gem mining and their two corn mazes. Make sure you get there before October 30th because they close for the winter season.
Best Brewery: Greenport Harbor Brewery in Greenport and Peconic
This was probably the hardest decision to make. Olish’s Farm Stand and Briermere Farms are the best locations for getting pies. Olish’s has 31 varieties of fresh pies baked daily to choose from everyday. When you pick up one of their pies you can still feel the heat of the pie coming through the box. That’s what I call fresh! Their signature pie is called ‘Fruit of the Forest’ and includes strawberry rhubarb, apple, blackberries and blueberries, and it’s absolutely delicious! While there also check out their farmstand, assortment of honey, flowers and more.
Briermere Farms has some of the best pies on Long Island but one pie that I can’t seem to get enough of is their Blueberry Cream Pie. All of their pies, jams, jellies and syrups are made with fresh ingredients. Their website has directions on how to freeze their pies so stock up!
Best Apple Cider doughnuts: Harbes Farm in Mattituck
We covered apple picking and hard apple cider, but your trip to the East End is not complete without Harbes Apple Cider doughnuts. Visit Harbes Family Farm in Mattituck and get a fresh dozen right off the doughnut machine. Wash your doughnut down with some hot apple cider or coffee, and you will definately get into the fall mood. If you can’t make it out to their bakery, you can order their doughnuts online.
Every year from the end of September to Halloween, Gateway Playhouse turns their theatre into a haunted town filled with the things that nightmares are made of. Played by professional actors, you will definitely have the scare of your life. There will be a little of a wait for your group to go in but don’t worry, there are plenty of things going on to keep you entertained. There are side shows, food, and drinks for children and adults. You also get to hangout with some of the creepy characters that are walking around. If you are worried about this haunted playhouse being too creepy for your children, they also have a ‘Not-So-Scary Kids Adventure’ from Oct. 8-30th where they will get a guided walk through, face painting, balloon art, pumpkin bouncer and more.
Best Corn Maze: Jamesport Giant Pumpkin Corn Maze at Harbes Western Farm in Jamesport
This five acre corn maze will keep you entertained for a while. The Giant Pumpkin has lost it’s crown in a sprawling five acre corn maze and it’s your job to find that missing crown. This is a great attraction for people of all ages and will take you about 45 mins to complete. Don’t worry about getting lost, there are staff members that will help you along the way.
Best Fall Hiking Trail: Blydenburgh Park in Hauppauge
If you are looking to a relaxing hike or boat ride to take in the fall colors, Blydenburgh Park is the best choice. There are many trails to take depending if you are looking for a nice stroll or looking for a challenge. This 627 acre parkwith richly forested hills and valleys around Stump Pond is one of the many things to do at this park. Rent a boat a row around the pond, bring your tackle and go fishing, stroll through the Blydenburgh Farm and New Mill Historic District featuring a grist mill, or make a day of it and enjoy the day in their picnic area. Whatever you decide to do, Blydenburgh Park has something for everyone.
Best Place to Stop for Dinner: The Modern Snack Bar in Riverhead
Best Place to stop for Ice Cream: Magic Fountain in Mattituck
I know what you’re thinking, “Ice cream in the fall? Isn’t it too cold?” But with their seasonal selections of homemade ice cream, such as Lavender and Black Raspberry Crumble, you will want to make the trip every weekend. Since 1977, Mr. Chaudry Ali has aimed to bring back the sensation of having a good time while enjoying what you eat. So take a ride out to Mattituck and try one of their Flavors of the Month, like Pumpkin, Fig & Honey, and Chocolate Pudding Pie. You won’t be disappointed.
A First Time for Everything: Niagara Falls and Traveling Outside the U.S.
By: Adriana Belmonte
Niagara Falls is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Three waterfalls come together at the border of New York and Ontario, Canada to form a panoramic view from both sides of the border. Two of the falls, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, are on the American side, but the real beauty is Horseshoe Falls which is on the Canadian side. Visiting these falls gives first time travelers the chance to cross the border and embark on territory outside of the United States.
There’s a lot more to do in the area aside from the falls. The Skylon Tower, almost 800 feet high, is an attraction that offers dining, shopping, and sightseeing. ARide-to-the-Top elevator ride is 52 seconds to the observation deck, giving you a view along the way. This might sound terrifying to some people who are afraid of heights but it’s completely safe and worth it. Once you’re at the observation deck, the view of the city is incredible. Not only do you see the Falls but also the skylines of Buffalo and Toronto. The sight allows you to see what lies within the city of Niagara Falls aside from its main attraction. The best part: it’s free.
Whether you’re traveling solo, with friends or with your family, Niagara Falls is a wonderful place to visit for your first time out of the country. You get a taste of what it’s like to be off of American soil, see one of the Seven Wonders of the World and there’s no need to worry about a language barrier. Niagara Falls is everything it’s made out to be: beautiful, panoramic and breathtaking. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to venture further experiencing Niagara Falls!
Florence: Something For Everyone
By: Adriana Belmonte
First and foremost, Epicureans will be in heaven. The Tuscany region is known for not only excellent food but also incredible wine tours. The best part, for some reason, if you do not like the food in Florence, you can travel somewhere else and find what you are looking for. Florence is the center of everything in Europe and makes it incredibly easy to travel anywhere throughout the continent. As an Epicurean myself, I am excited for the food. Some of my favorite meals that my family makes at our Italian dinners will be right at my fingertips in Florence, such as panzanella, antipasti, and gelato.
Other Travanalities can still find their niche in Florence too. This is what makes the city so unique and appeasing to a traveler like myself. However, it is important to remember that finding your niche in a foreign country should not be your top priority. It’s okay to lose yourself a bit in the culture and step outside of your comfort zone. While many people in Florence speak English, you will encounter those who only speak Italian. Instead of finding yourself frustrated at the language barrier, challenge yourself to find a way to communicate. Don’t run away from any obstacles. Florentines are willing to help if you are willing to meet them halfway.
As you decide where to embark for your next adventure, consider Florence. Whether it is the food, the culture, the people, or the lifestyle, you will find something to love about this beautiful city. Florence has something for everyone and once you arrive at this magical destination, you won’t want to leave.
The 9 Best New Year’s Eve Parties on the Planet
By: Natalie Austin, TWIP
New Year’s Eve is arguably one of the most anticipated nights of the year and New York isn’t the only city that knows how to do it right. Cities around the globe offer experiences unique to their location and can provide for some of the year’s most unforgettable moments. Here are the top New Year’s celebrations around the globe.Sydney, Australia
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Hong Kong, China
Best Street Markets in the World
As important centers for commerce, culture and local livelihood, Street Markets are the best activity for travelers looking to get a proper local experience. Whether you’re looking for authentic cuisine, unique souvenirs, or simply to immerse yourself in the local culture, street markets are sure to make you feel like a resident rather than a tourist. Here are some of the best street markets around the world for travelers who lust for simple discoveries.
La Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey
Camden Market, London, UK
Between Regent’s Canal and the Roundhouse Theatre, discover the flourishing cluster of markets collectively known as The Camden Market. Home to independent retail stores, global street food, restaurants and bars, the Camden Market is an up-and-coming spot for trendy tourists in search of bizarre urban treasures. The market is made up of three individual markets: Union Street, Lock and Stables. Students and young tourists are frequent Camden-goers for their eclectic clothing stores and hip watering holes.
St. Lawrence Street, Toronto, Canada
Kowloon Market, Hong Kong, China
Tsukiji, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo is undoubtedly the fish capital of the world which is why this notorious fish market tops the itinerary for foodie tourists. As one of the largest fish markets in the world, travelers come from afar for live tuna auctions starting at 5:00 am, perfect for those with jet lag. Tsukiji was named the #1 things to do in Tokyoaccording to Time Magazine for its imperative role in Tokyo’s culinary world. Tourists are even encouraged to try sushi for breakfast! If you’re not a pescatarian, Tsukiji still offers a fascinating display of delectable underwater creatures; making this market one-of-a-kind.
Spend Halloween in America’s Favorite Cities
When to Visit:
When to Visit:
For a little more adventure than a simple drive through the spectacular colors of fall, board the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat in Connecticut’s River Valley. The trip on the train and riverboat only takes visitors 2 1/2 hours to complete, but allows travelers to sit back and relax while taking in the views.
When to Visit:
Connecticut’s fall foliage viewing generally lasts a bit longer than the surrounding states, but visit in mid-to late October for the season’s peak viewing.
For history buffs, Portsmouth is the place to visit in New Hampshire. With museums, historic homes from the 1600s, and a beautiful waterfront, this New England town has plenty to offer, in addition to stellar foliage.
When to Visit:
Best to visit New Hampshire in early to mid-October.
Travel Tips: The Best Airports in the World for Long Layovers
By: Lauren Durden
These airports have the best amenities, services and dining options in the world of travel.
The dreaded layover is something all travelers have dealt with at one point or another in their journeys. In a perfect world, you would always get upgraded to first class, there would never be a screaming child in the seat next to you and you would always fly direct – never having to endure long layovers. However, sometimes you truly can enjoy the journey, not just the destination. The following airports prove that the layover can be just as relaxing and luxurious as your next vacation locale. So, if you’re looking for a little extra pampering, entertainment or fun during your next layover, book your next flight through one of these stopover points.
Of course, no layover in London would be complete without a cup of tea. Take respite in the Sofitel Hotel, located in terminal 5, and tuck into their afternoon tea service offering diners finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, pastries, cakes and a bevy of tea options.
Zurich Airport – ZHR
Trying to make it through a layover that is longer than five hours and need to get away from the airport? Try a free 2-hour city tour and experience a little of what the city has to offer beyond your boarding gate.
Seoul’s Incheon Airport – ICN
While the destination may be the focus of your travel excitement, don’t overlook the possibilities for a little extra entertainment and enjoyment during your next layover. Whether you’re seeking some shut eye, ready for retail therapy, or looking to escape the hustle and bustle of your terminal, these airports have it all.
Know Before You Go: What American Travelers to Cuba Need to Know
On December 17th, 2014 President Barack Obama took steps to normalize relations between Cuba and the United States. These changes included easing some of the travel restrictions that barred Americans from traveling to Cuba and ever since travel forums have been abuzz with conversations on visiting the island nation. Questions began to arise… What kind of trips are permitted by the U.S. government? What kind of paperwork do you need before, during and after your trip? How do you actually get to the island? Can I bring back a box of Cuban cigars?
Here’s everything you need to know.
What kind of trips are permitted by the U.S. government?
There are now 12 categories of authorized travel between the United States and Cuba. Previously, before President Obama’s announcement, if you wanted to travel to Cuba you needed to submit a special application that was subjected to a case-by-case review.
The 12 categories of authorized travel include family visits, official trips on behalf of the U.S. government, journalistic travel, research-related travel, religious activities, athletes competing in sporting events, humanitarian work, and research or educationally related travel, among other authorized travel classifications. In most cases, tour companies employ educational reasonings for travel. These trips usually include travelers interacting with people and historic sites throughout Cuba. This is the easiest way for someone without family ties to the country to be granted access, as travel purely for tourist activities is still strictly prohibited. For more information, you can read the entirety of the travel restrictions and authorizations here.
What kind of paperwork do you need before, during and after your trip?
As with all international travel, you’ll need an up to date passport and shouldn’t expire for at least six months after your travel to Cuba. You’ll be required by the Cuban government to apply for a visa in order to enter the country. While you can obtain these yourself, your tour company will often sort out the visas after getting the needed paperwork and information from you and your travel companions.
How do you actually get to the island?
Currently, JetBlue is the only U.S. based airline company with direct flights to Cuba, departing out of Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and New York City. American Airlines announced earlier this month that the airline will begin offering flights to Havana, departing out of Los Angeles as of Dec. 12, and are looking to expand to other departure cities within 2016.
Can I bring back a box of Cuban cigars?
First things first, how are you going to buy those cigars? It’s good to keep in mind that American credit cards aren’t yet accepted throughout Cuba. That means you’ll have to get your hands on enough Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) to last throughout your entire trip. While there is a second legal form of currency available in Cuba, the Cuban Peso (CUP), it’s rarely used by tourists and has a different exchange rate.
Cuban currency is not available internationally, meaning you’ll have to bring your cash with you and exchange it once you arrive in Cuba. While you can covert U.S. dollars, there’s a 10 percent fee to exchange them. However the U.S. dollar is the only currency that gets hit with a fee, bringing euros or Canadian dollars to exchange is a simple way to avoid paying the penalty.
Now that you’ve got your cash in hand, you can finally buy some goods! There is no longer a per diem rate imposed on American travelers and you can now make as many purchases related to ordinary travel expenses as you’d like. New American regulations only allow visitors to return home with no more than $400 in merchandise, of which only $100 of your purchases may consist of alcohol or tobacco products for personal use.
One last tip to remember on your travels is that the infrastructure of Cuba is not the same as what you may be used to. A low number of ATM machines, infrequent Wi-Fi availability or working connection, and difficulty buying travel necessities are the norm. Be prepared with enough cash for your trip, a willingness to disconnect during your travels, a suitcase packed with all of your toiletries and essentials, and a roll-with-the-punches attitude and you’ll be sure to enjoy yourself and the vibrant nation of Cuba.
The Secrets of Amsterdam
In the travel industry, or The Biz as we call it, attention usually goes to the most popular sites and sounds in town. Tourism, for all intents and purposes, has the unseemly power to make a place lose its touch, its charm, its identity. You know how it goes: the top of the Empire State Building, Ice Skating at 30 Rock, Times Square with the naked cowboy guy, and a slice of Ray’s pizza…We know what you’re thinking, “I shoulda gone to Chicago.” Well, not really, but it’s still a nice sentiment. TWIP is trying to break that norm a little.
TWIP has planned a “Tulips and Tricycles” experience to Amsterdam. Come and ride through the stunning flowering fields!
Biking in Amsterdam during the springtime amid the blooming Tulips is as symbolic of The Netherlands as Bill Murray is to Ghostbusters. Smooth streams of asphalt specific for bikes are always being laid and their use is encouraged. This isn’t the biking you see your local hipsters or neon spandex gang doing. No. Biking in Amsterdam is a way of life, a life of simple pleasure.
Tulips are significant in Dutch culture because they were cultivated in Turkey, back when Turkey was once the Ottoman Empire and imported to Holland during the sixteenth century. The famous Dutch botanist Carolus Clusius introduced tulips by sprouting them in his garden (probably for the many beautiful wooden-shoed ladies he was persuading). People passing by had never seen this type of flora before, so they would steal them from his garden and plant them in their own yards. Yada-yada-yada…now there are crazy awesome fields of tulips everywhere.
While most trips to Amsterdam and its neighbor cities are sought after for their leniency with the law on certain, cough-cough, issues, this is about more.
TWIP will provide transportation for you from your hotel room to begin a 4-day biking tour through Haarlem, Holland’s countryside situated about 12 miles outside of Amsterdam. You will drive through copious amounts of cobblestone streets lined with the Dutch’s boutiques, restaurants, art galleries and most importantly, tulips!
We’re inviting you to come get a taste of this place. You should get to Amsterdam, if not with this trip then some other way. But remember, maybe drop the guidebook bonanza and try to feel it for yourself. Tulip fields or not, remember why you travel, why you’ll continue to travel and search for something more. That’s what we’re here for. Promise. But for real you should totally ride a bike through tulip fields, just sayin’.
Bali: Is It Really Worth Visiting?
Imagine looking at a globe and spinning it a few times. You close your eyes and point to the first spot your finger touches, Bali. The first thought that comes to mind is, “Is this place really worth visiting?” TWIP’s “Escape to Breathtaking Bali” trip will make your time in Bali worth your while.
TWIP will book you a room in the Anantara Simenyak Resort and Spa, one of the most elegant retreats in Bali, located on prime beachfront with views of the sunset from your balcony. Seminyak is known for its classy restaurants, high-end shopping, luxury villas and is one of the largest beach towns in Bali. TWIP only books the best for our travelers as Seminyak is where the most sophisticated travelers stay to forget about life’s obstacles. Services are provided in the Balinese “way of life” approach where it is believed that people should live a life of luxury and relaxation.
Activities planned by us, during your stay, involve an elephant safari ride through the Taro Forest, along with a talent show performed by the elephants that are showing you the glamour of Bali’s nature. If you would like to see and understand Balinese art, check out Ubud, the heart of Bali where the artistic culture is most prominent. Then, take a glass bottom boat to Turtle Island, snorkel in the clear blue water with sea animals, then dry off to interact with the primates of Monkey Forest. If you are really feeling up to it, you can watch the Kecak Fire Dance while having a group dinner. At the end of an eventful day, make time to meditate or take advantage of the variety of spa treatments the resort has to offer.
After coming home from TWIPPIN’ in Bali, you are guaranteed to miss the picturesque beachfront views, the massage treatments and the excursions. Trips are planned by our experts here to help make your experience in an exotic country an unforgettable and tranquil one. When you get the chance to spin the globe again, let TWIP pick where your next life changing adventure will be!