Roam the World

Best described as a cross between a boutique hotel and a hostel with shared, high-end commodities including a chef’s kitchen, pool, yoga and art rooms,  library, a large serene courtyard lawn and plenty of work spaces, Roam Miami offers accommodation for guests and residents from a week to a lifetime.

Roam Miami bedroom
Roam Miami bedroom photo credit: Sherel Purcell

The property preserves the historical features from the 1920’s former Miami Inn on the River in downtown. Private rooms and over-sized bathrooms feature period piece furnishings. The comfortable quarters are stocked with high-end linens and new Tuft and Needle mattresses.

At the end of a work day the digital nomads – “Roamies” often gather in the kitchen to share a drink, a communal meal or an excursion in the city.

Roam Miami kitchen
Roam Miami kitchen photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Reasonable prices are enhanced via a Flex pre-payment plan, guaranteeing the lowest rate at all Roam properties, currently, Miami, San Francisco, London, Tokyo and Bali with more to come. Like standard hotels, prices are for the private quarters so couples are at a distinct advantage here.

Roam Miami Art Studio
Roam Miami Art Studio photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Roam  offers good suggestions for finding digital-nomad-type-work and suggestions for unloading your current or regular digs. For those who develop a taste for the communal lifestyle  with plenty of options for privacy, this setup could become a viable full-time work/housing/travel option.

Roam Miami backyard
Roam Miami backyard photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Generally, the median age is 38 and while many are truly digital nomads, artists and writers of all ages are welcome.  With new locations planned beyond Miami, Bali, London and Tokyo, the optional initial $3500.00  just might work to your advantage in terms of price and flexibility when exploring all the Roam locations.

Driving from New York to Montreal

Driving from New York City to Montreal presents several choices.

The most scenic is the 9W highway with views of the Hudson River, which follows I 87 almost entirely. It’s best to avoid the 9W south of Poughkeepsie, however, as it is bordered by an endless string of strip malls. 9D is a scenic alternative as are the Palisades and Taconic Parkways which forbid trucks.

The most obvious (and easiest) is to stay on the interstate 87, the New York State Thruway, which goes almost straight north from New York City to Montreal. The 200 miles north of Albany to the Canadian border, the Adirondack Northway section of interstate 87, is toll-free. Exits on I – 87 are numbered sequentially and not by distance.
The parkways were constructed with lowered bridges and overpasses as Robert Moses wanted to discourage bus loads of immigrants from visiting the state parks.

Stopping in the Hudson River Valley is an absolute must. The following recommended sites are all within a one and a half to two hour drive from New York City (three + hours to Montreal) and are easily accessible from the routes mentioned above.

Kingston, NY, the state’s first capital, and site of the largest Dutch settlement in the state is at exit 19. The historic stockade district is well worth a walking tour, which can be completed in an hour or less. Highlights include the Dutch Reformist church (open on Sundays) and the beautifully preserved Hoffman House Tavern. With its intimate stone and dark wood interior and pretty garden terrace, the Hoffman House Tavern is a good lunch stop.

Beacon, NY is home to the 300,000 square foot DIA Galleries that houses a huge collection of contemporary art from the 1960’s to present day. Highlights include permanent works by Richard Serra and temporary exhibits of Sol Lewitt’s drawings. The naturally lit space is a reclaimed Nabisco factory.

Richard Serra at DIA Beacon
Richard Serra at DIA Beacon

Art lovers can check out the big names in contemporary sculpture found at the Storm King Art Center in Mountainview, off 9W. Most of the large works are outdoors and can be seen from a guided trolley tour. The Edward Hopper house in Nyack is worth a peek, though none of his works are housed here.

Storm King Art Center
Storm King Art Center
Architecture fans will want to check out the Greek Revival church dating from 1835 that overlooks the Hudson in New Burgh. The Boscobel House, in Garrison, just off 9D, is a good example of the Federal style and makes for a pleasant visit and picnic with great views of the Hudson. The ample grounds also host concerts and Shakespearean theater.
Just outside Poughkeepsie, stop at the C.I.A. (Culinary Institute of America) for a meal and a tour. Reservations are recommended at their French and American fine dining restaurants. The new Marriott Courtyard 15 minutes away makes a good overnight stop. If it’s good enough for Dick Cheney…
For overnight or day visits, nothing beats the Mohonk Mountain House outside New Paltz in Ulster County. The inspiration for “The Shining”, this “house” is more of a castle complete with spa, glacial lake, forested hiking trails and a tricky nine-hole golf course. Private balconies and wood fireplaces complete the getaway.
Mohonk Mountain House
Mohonk Mountain House

 

Certified Village Cafes of the Eastern Townships

An hour outside of Montreal, visitors to the beautiful four-season vacation area of the Eastern Townships (Cantons-de-l’Est) can join the locals for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just coffee at a new association of local cafes that have been certified for serving quality, healthy meals using local ingredients and products. Strict criteria state the cafes cannot be part of a chain, must be central to community life and often feature the cafe owner behind the counter.

Local village café owners invite visitors to their fine restaurants to enjoy coffee (often organic and sometimes free trade) along with meals prepared using top quality local ingredients as well as locally-produced specialty products for take out, often available frozen for quick make-at-home meals.

This newly created, select group of local cafes is similar to the Cafes de pays found all over rural France.  These cafes also serve as meeting places that are known to be friendly, welcoming and down-to-earth. The owners of these cafés, which are centrally located in the towns and villages of the  Eastern Townships are proud to share their diverse flavours and their beautiful surroundings. The cafes are often located near scenic viewpoints such as alongside lakes and rivers.

Musee-du-Chocolate
Musee-du-Chocolate

An example of a village cafe which produces a specialty product is the one located in the Chocolate Museum in Bromont, founded in 1993. While enjoying such local dishes as salmon pie, chicken crepes or baked beans served with a fresh vegetable salad topped with a home made chocolate and balsamic dressing, visitors can also learn about the history of chocolate and enjoy a wide selection of hand made chocolates and chocolate desserts served with a rich cup of milk or dark hot chocolate.

Cafe de Saveurs
Cafe de Saveurs

Some of these small establishments like Cafe Saveurs et Gourmandises also hold liquor licenses and offer local beers and wines. Sitting on the bank of Lake Massawippi in North Hatley, Saveurs et Gourmandises, specializes in homemade delicacies including a perfectly-sized cake-style chocolate brownie filled with walnuts. For lunch, their hearty French onion soup topped with a generous helping of melted cheese is a great place to start followed by a fillet of salmon sandwich or a warm cheese and ham on a fresh croissant. Their six varieties of pizza are popular too.

Other village cafes in the region specialize in maple syrup products or multiple varieties of homemade bread while still others grew out of central food markets. Some serve as local co-ops and a few feature exhibits by local artists.

Whatever their origins or focus, the village cafes, a prime feature of everyday life in the community, are a great place to experience the Eastern Townships like a local.

Your Guide to an Active Vacation