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Fall foliage around the world

Fall foliage around the world By Damien Martin
The Northeast (and southeastern Canada) receive a lot of acclaim for their fall foliage, and rightfully so, because it’s spectacular. But it’s not the only game in town. Last year we took a glance at the top places around the country to peep leaves. This time around, we look at the best international spots for fall foliage.

Western Canada

      The Canadian Rockies pack just as much as punch as those in the U.S. Banff and Jasper national parks are full of color against a backdrop of slate-grey mountains with snow-capped peaks. All those pictures you’ve seen of Lake Louise? Imagine it draped in gold and orange. Vancouver’s Stanley Park is an urban oasis, and in autumn, maple, cottonwood and red alder trees change colors right next to the harbor.


     Typically leaves begin changing in the northern islands and mountains first, and the colors roll south as autumn progresses. If you time it right, you can follow the changes down through the…

Top tailgates for football season

Top tailgates for football season By Damien Martin
      While some college games are already in the books, it’s really Labor Day weekend that sees football kick back into full swing. With the return of football comes tailgating, a tradition just about as old as the sport itself. There’s nothing like the smell of barbecue in the smoker mixing with the crisp autumn leaves. With honorable mention going to the Harvard-Yale game, these are our picks for top college and NFL tailgates.

Ole Miss

      The South has several contenders for No. 1 tailgate. Places such as LSU, with a cajun flare to the proceedings, and the annual World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail party in Jacksonville when Florida and Georgia square off come to mind. But The Grove, on the campus of Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., takes the cake. As fans like to say, especially during bleaker years when the team struggled, “We may not win every game, but we ain’t never lost a party.” Fans swarm 10 acres surrounded by oak, elm and magnolia…

What we discovered at Virtuoso Travel Week

By Damien Martin
      If you love to travel as much as we do, you no doubt have a long list of destinations and experiences in mind. What if, just as you plan out your future with a financial advisor, you plotted out a course with your travel advisor for checking those items and having unforgettable journeys with your favorite people?

     Timing can be everything, and your travel advisor knows when the best times are to visit certain places. So if your advisor also knows where you’d like to in the next few years, he or she can be on the lookout for peak value, saving you thousands of dollars in the long run while diving deep into the heart of your destination without feeling like just another face in a vast crowd of tourists. Mapping out your future travels can give you peace of mind and make sure everyone in your family gets to visit their dream destination. In the process, you might discover wishes your loved ones have that you never would have guessed.

     That’s the idea behind …

Destination spotlight: Coachella Valley

Destination spotlight: Coachella Valley
By Damien Martin
     Perhaps August in the desert might not be your cup of tea, although there are few things more refreshing than jumping into a (climate controlled) pool when the mercury hits 110 degrees. But Southern California’s Coachella Valley is only that hot in the summer. All year long, it’s an oasis, not just of green at the foot of mountains, but of arts and culture.

     Palm Springs has been a haven for Hollywood stars since the ’30s, and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, founded in 1999, comes to Indio in the spring. Outside summertime, when temperatures drop and cold weather sets in, the desert sees average highs in the 70s and 80s half the year.

      In addition to being ringed by mountains with the Salton Sea to the south, the Coachella Valley is also the gateway to Joshua Tree National Park at the confluence of the Mojave and Colorado deserts. Aside from the boundless hiking opportunities, Joshua Tree is a perfec…

Virtuoso Travel Week preview

Virtuoso Travel Week preview By Damien Martin

      It’s the most wonderful time of the year for travelers. No, it’s not the holiday season, although that is fast approaching and if you haven’t started planning your festive travel, you need to get on it now. It’s Virtuoso Travel Week, the week your trusted advisors head to Las Vegas to meet with thousands of hoteliers, tour operators, cruise lines, on-site, airlines and tourism boards from all over the world.

     While we love reconnecting with friends from remote outposts, we’re there building and strengthening relationships so that when we send you out into the world, we’re sending you to trusted friends who are going to welcome you like a member of the family. Try as we might and enjoyable as it might be, we can’t get to every hotel in the world or do every tour. But next week, representatives from the best ones will converge in Vegas to show us what they have to offer you, our clients.

      We’ll be getting up to speed on the la…

Fall getaway in the Balkans

Fall getaway in the Balkans By Damien Martin
       After decades of Communist rule and civil unrest, the Balkans have gained steadily in popularity in recent years. Coastal cities such as Dubrovnik and Split, Croatia, and Kotor, Montenegro, are crowd-pleasing ports on Adriatic cruises out of Venice. The interior has remained a secret but is beginning to emerge as a destination as well, and with good reason. Virtuoso-preferred on-site partner Leonidas Travel, which operates in the Balkans and Venice, has put together the perfect autumn getaway, and it’s so enticing we’re counting the days until the first leaf changes color.

      It begins with the Croatian peninsula of Istria and its world famous truffles. Just across the narrow part of the Adriatic from Venice, Istria calls to mind the Italy of old. As with the entire Mediterranean rim, the Romans left their mark here, as the Arena of Pula and Temple of Augustus attest. After marveling at them, taste a bit of history with a sample of…