On August 29, 2012Caroline Patek answered the question:A meal in Southern Virginia tends to complement the lush natural setting — local and fresh ingredients are featured at all the top spots. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the best places to eat in Southern Virginia:
1. Elements. Located inside Primland, Elements offers American cuisine in a cozy yet sophisticated setting. Bathed in wood walls and a crackling fireplace, the upscale restaurant places on emphasis on regional dishes and locally grown ingredients. Reservations are required.
2. Chateau Morrisette Winery. Come to this winery in Floyd to sample fine wine and stay for an excellent meal. The restaurant features elegant vistas and a fireplace inside, and the summer months bring an outdoor patio. Dine on dishes from the South, such as seafood from North Carolina and crab cakes from the Low Country.
3. Byrd & Baldwin Bros. Steakhouse. Located in the southeast Virginia town of Norfolk, this traditional chophouse is set in a historic building dating back to 1906. You’ll find that the space is filled with wood paneling, a humidity-controlled wine cellar and plenty of meaty menu choices. Start out with a Maryland crab cake or a salad, and move on to a juicy 12-ounce New York strip with sides like mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, or crabmeat mac and cheese.
On August 29, 2012Caroline Patek answered the question:Hiking around the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway in Southern Virginia can be exhausting, so you’ll want to make sure you have top-notch accommodations to rest your weary head. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors share their list for the best places to stay in Southern Virginia:
1. Primland. Situated on 12,000 acres of verdant Blue Ridge Mountain land, Primland was made for relaxation. The property is made up of a Lodge with 26 rooms, six Fairway Cottages and 12 Mountain Homes, for a total of 44 accommodations. Guest rooms are comfortable and cozy, and outdoor fire pits and live music on the terrace add to a cabin-like feel. Primland also offers countless activities on its property, including tree climbing, sporting clays, horseback riding, tennis, golf, geocaching (a high-tech treasure hunt), stargazing and fly fishing.
2. Hotel Roanoke. You’ll find this historic hotel in the town of Roanoke. The restored property — originally built in 1882 — features traditional guest rooms, more than 63,000 square feet of conference space, in-room spa services, and golf partnerships with three local clubs and courses.
3. The Martha Washington Hotel & Spa. This charming property located in Abingdon, Va., looks like it was pulled right out of a history book with its crisp white columns, wood-burning fireplaces and plush fabrics found throughout. Be sure to check out the town while you’re there; it’s home to the William King Museum, The Arts Depot and White’s Mill.
On August 23, 2012Caroline Patek answered the question:The Quad Cities’ Moline is the birthplace of John Deere, which is now a massive brand in the agricultural arena. Touting its local legacy, Moline has various John Deere attractions, including factory tours, Deere’s former home, a store to purchase branded goods and the John Deere Pavilion. At the pavilion, kids can head to the Discovery Zone to learn about agricultural production or make their way to the interactive exhibits and simulators for hands-on learning.
If golf gets you excited, there’s an annual John Deere Classic — which is the only PGA tournament in the region — held at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. Whether you’re a hardcore John Deere fan or just want to know more about the great American brand, there’s plenty to see and do in the Quad Cities.
On August 23, 2012Caroline Patek answered the question:It’s always fun to snag a little souvenir from any trip you take, and a visit to the Quad Cities is no exception. While seeing the sights and getting out on the Mississippi River are surely must-dos on your travel itinerary, but we suggest you also take a moment to pick up some local favorites. The Quad Cities is home to Boetje’s Mustard, which you can pick up in local grocery stores. For those with a sweet tooth, head to Davenport or Moline for Lagomarcino’s chocolates. Choose from goodies like caramels, English toffee, truffles, lemon and peppermint bark and hot fudge.
On August 23, 2012Caroline Patek answered the question:The Quad Cities’ unique location — with towns in both Illinois and Iowa along the Mississippi River — means it’s not know for one signature food item, but there are certainly still spots around town worth checking out. Here’s our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ list of the best Quad Cities food experiences:
1. Whitey’s Ice Cream. Established back in 1933, this popular Moline ice cream spot has won the hearts of locals. You’ll find all the classic dairy products you’d want, including malts, milkshakes, ice cream, floats and yogur in flavors such as chocolate chip, butter pecan, strawberry, chocolate chip cookie dough and black cherry.
2. Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream. This franchise has locations in Iowa (Bettendorf, Davenport), Illinois (East Moline, Rock Island), Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and Wisconsin, and offers a slew of pizzas loaded with toppings. Try one of the specialty pizzas such as the BLT or Taco Supreme.
3. Rudy’s Tacos. What once started out as a small Mexican restaurant in East Davenport back in 1973 has now grown into seven outposts throughout the Quad Cities area. You’ll see all the usual suspects on the menu — quesadillas, tacos, nachos, enchiladas, burritos, tamales and tostadas.
On August 23, 2012Caroline Patek answered the question:You won’t find many nightclubs or overpriced lounges in the Quad Cities, as the area is most known for its bar scene. The Rock Island District has plenty of places to explore, including the Blue Cat Brew Pub and Rock Island Brewing Company (RIBCO). Other notable places to check out include the 11th Street Precinct (East Davenport), The Mound Street Landing (East Davenport) and Front Street Brewery (Davenport).
There are also casinos in the area, like Jumer’s Casino & Hotel, Isle Casino Hotel, Rhythm City Casino and Trackside Quad City Downs. The Celebration Belle river cruise features evening dinner and dancing trips and departs from Moline in Illinois.
On August 23, 2012Caroline Patek answered the question:Somewhat deceiving in its name, the Quad Cities is comprised of five different towns situated along the Mississippi River in Illinois and Iowa. To get a good feel for the area, drive along River Road through quaint towns like Le Claire (home of the History Channel show American Pickers). For those looking to get active, there are bike paths along River Road near Muscatine, Iowa.
The best way to get out and see the area is by taking the Channel Cat Water Taxi, which stops in Moline, Bettendorf and John Deere Commons. After the water taxi, you can either make a trip to the John Deere headquarters (Moline is the birthplace of the brand) or hit up either the Putnam Museum or the Family Museum if you’ve got kids in tow. If there’s time, catch a River Bandits minor league baseball game, or grab a bite to eat at one of the nicer restaurants in town, like Bix Bistro inside Hotel Blackhawk in Davenport or Le Figaro Restaurant in Rock Island.
On August 23, 2012Caroline Patek answered the question:The Quad Cities has two major shopping centers in Davenport and Moline with standard mall retailers like Dillard’s, Foot Locker, Sears and Sunglass Hut. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, there are a number of antique stores sprinkled throughout the area in Rock Island, Moline, Davenport and Bettendorf. For local, fresh food, head to the Davenport’s Freight House Farmers Market situated along the riverfront — bring your walking shoes, as it features more than 100 vendors. No trip to the Quad Cities would be complete without experiencing a bit of the John Deere legacy, so head to Moline to shop the John Deere store, where you can purchase items like licensed clothing, umbrellas and golf t-shirts.
On August 23, 2012Caroline Patek answered the question:Feel free to bring the whole family along during your next jaunt to the Quad Cities — there’s plenty for everyone to do. Here’s our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ list of the five best things to do with kids in the Quad Cities:
1. Visit the Family Museum. This museum is located next to the Bettendorf Public Library and features 44,000 square feet of space, including a massive 9,600-square-foot exhibit hall. Kids can explore the various exhibits, including one with a focus on the healthy human body where you can walk through a 14-foot human heart replica.
2. Explore the Putnam Museum. The Davenport museum features a variety of exhibits to check out — from ecosystems of the Upper Mississippi River Valley to Asian and Egyptian civilizations. The giant screen theater shows educational films including a world adventure series featuring Hawaii, Ireland, Mongolia and Prague.
3. Hitch a ride from the Channel Cat Water Taxi. Take advantage of the Quad Cities’ riverfront location — the water taxi is a great way to get around and get out on the water. Tickets can be used all day, and stops include Moline, Village of East Davenport, Bettendorf and John Deere Commons.
4. Have fun at the Niabi Zoo. Animal-gazing is usually a go-to attraction for kids, and the Niabi Zoo — located about seven miles outside of Moline — is home to hundreds of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Try to secure a spot for the Breakfast with Animals program offered throughout the year, in which you can get a post-meal behind-the-scenes peak at elephants, giraffes and lions.
5. Ride the Celebration Belle. For an extended amount of time on the water, board the Celebration Belle for a river cruise on the Mississippi River. The company offers all-day excursions or shorter, narrated experiences to learn about the local attractions. For daylong or two-day trips, meals are provided onboard.
On August 23, 2012Caroline Patek answered the question:Since the Quad Cities is made up of five different destinations in Illinois and Iowa, it’s fun to explore the various parts. Here’s our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ list of the best things to see and do in the Quad Cities:
1. Rock Island Arsenal. Located on the Mississippi River between Davenport and Rock Island, this active U.S. Army facility is a weapons manufacturing arsenal and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Check out the Rock Island National Cemetery on the grounds, which houses graves from soldiers who served in combat reaching back to the Civil War.
2. John Deere Pavilion. Visit the Moline center that explores the agriculture brand’s development with various exhibits and interactive displays. You can see machines displayed in their working environments, try your hand at machine simulators and learn about the John Deere legacy. Plus, the pavilion is a free attraction and open year round.
3. Putnam Museum. This Davenport spot has exhibits on everything from ecosystems of the Upper Mississippi River Valley to the history behind the Quad Cities region to Asian and Egyptian civilizations. The giant screen theater showcases 2-D and 3-D current films and educational movies.
4. TPC Deere Run. Built on the grounds of a former Arabian horse farm, this golf course was designed by former PGA Tour pro and architect D.A. Weibring. While it’s home to the annual John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour, you can book a tee time to try your hand at the par-71 course.
5. Quad Cities River Bandits. The minor league baseball games are hugely popular with a stellar location at Modern Woodmen Park along the riverfront. If you catch a game during a steamy summer day, you’ll appreciate the recently installed misting stations.
On July 11, 2012Caroline Patek answered the question:Whether you’re looking for a casually raucous night or a sophisticated dinner out, The Hamptons has you covered, especially during the sweltering summer months when the area’s nightlife comes alive. First, there’s Rowdy Hall in East Hampton, where burgers and beer reign supreme. If you’re looking for live music, head to the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett, where everyone from Billy Joel to Paul McCartney have taken the stage. (Cover varies depending upon the act.) For something a little more refined, head to Le Flirt, where you can enjoy a live cabaret performance or dance to music from the DJ. Other notable hotspots include Surf Lodge in Montauk, SL East in East Hampton and Southampton Social Club.
On July 11, 2012Caroline Patek answered the question:There are almost as many ways to get to The Hamptons from Manhattan as there are beaches to lie on once you get there. The best way to get to the East End? We recommend avoiding the highway gridlock in favor of an air-conditioned car on the Long Island Railroad. Come summer, the LIRR offers its Fridays-only Hamptons Reserve Service aboard the Cannonball Express, which leaves from various points around the city with stops in Hampton Bays, Southampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Amagansett and Montauk. The entire trip takes about two hours and 45 minutes. If you buy a one-way ticket before boarding, it’s only $37 ($43 once onboard).
If you’re not leaving on Friday — or would prefer highway transportation — there’s always the Hampton Jitney bus, which departs from Manhattan’s East Side daily. Or if you’re yearning for slightly fancier wheels, try the Hampton Luxury Liner, which boasts leather reclining seats, ample legroom and a snack bar.
On July 11, 2012Caroline Patek answered the question:With the ocean just steps away in The Hamptons, how can you not take home a sampling of the area’s fresh catches for a little grilling? Forbes Travel Guide's editors suggest stocking up on flounder, tuna and striped bass at a local mart, like Stuart’s Seafood Market, which has been serving the Hamptons since 1955. If you’re looking for something a bit more portable, get the market’s Clambake To Go, a ready-to-heat pot layered with lobsters, steamers, mussels, potatoes and corn on the cob.