From London to Shanghai

By Kristen Gray

This month, our voyagers surfed the waves in Nicaragua, toured a vibrant Chinese city and celebrated a Hawaiian babymoon.

London lovebirds

When boyfriend Dan Darcy ventured to London for work in early March, Caitlin Carroll could not resist tagging along. “We explored the different neighborhoods, took in a Kinky Boots show, cheered on England’s rugby team as they crushed Scotland in fine fashion and, of course, toured the city on the classic red double-decker hop-on hop-off bus,” Carroll says. The pair indulged in a six-course meal at the Social Eating House, sipped whiskey at Milroy’s and popped into the Soho lounge Disrepute, a “must if you’re in search of excellent cocktails, a little ’60s glam and London style,” Carroll adds. The jaunt across the Pond marked the beginning of what appears to be many travel adventures to come for the smitten duo. “It was a very romantic vacation,” she muses. “I mostly enjoyed sharing moments holding hands as we walked across Westminster Bridge looking upon Big Ben and Parliament.”

Where to go when you’re expecting…

Maria Hemphill and her other half, Chris, recently traveled to Princeville, Kauai, to enjoy romantic sunrises and sunsets while celebrating the impending arrival of their first child. “We have a little girl due in May so this trip was our babymoon,” Hemphill says. “My husband took this photo of me overlooking the ocean on our first day, which happened to mark 100 days until our daughter’s due date.” Their sporty nature fueled a few activities, mostly on the North Shore of the island, including the Na Pali Coast, where they hiked the less treacherous part of the Kalalau Trail. The couple spent a few evenings in the town of Hanalei for dinners at Bar Acuda and The Dolphin. Hemphill’s favorite memories, however, are of relaxing moments at The St. Regis, their resort. She says, “Each morning, they brought us French press coffee, which we would drink overlooking Hanalei Bay as the moon went down and the sun came up.”

Shanghai sophistication

“Going to the top of the 128-story Shanghai Tower was wow,” recalls Suzanne Tucker of her trip up the world’s second-tallest building. Earlier this year, the chic interior designer and husband Tim Marks journeyed to Cambodia and Vietnam, with a layover in Shanghai, China, that made a lasting impression. Their time there also included strolls through the famous and the serene and breathtaking Yuyuan Garden, which is filled with pavilions, ponds and cloisters. Another memorable stop was the old French Concession, with its mix of 19th-century European architecture that evokes a “Paris of the East” feel, Tucker says. “The Xintiandi neighborhood [within the area] is widely considered one of the best urban developments in China and it’s a must-see for any designer or architect.”

Surfin’ Central America

Ben Ribnick is a regular visitor to Nicaragua, drawn to the country’s incredible surfing and friendly locals. He stays at the isolated Playgrounds Surf Camp, which is located in the jungle on a nature preserve near the Pacific. “The max number of guests who can stay at the camp is nine, which all but ensures overcrowding won’t be a factor,” Ribnick says. “The food they offer is some of the freshest and healthiest I’ve found on any trip I’ve done.” Other perks: The hot springs near Popoyo, and more important, the chance to make a difference in the community. “Make it a point to visit a local school and bring some baseball gloves and balls, maybe some sunglasses or baseball caps you don’t use anymore,” he suggests. “The joy you will bring to the kids will make you feel like a champion. If you happen to snap a board down there, leave it with a local kid so he can have it repaired and surf it. Who knows? Next time you go down for a visit, odds are that same kid will be surfing at a very high level.”

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