Category Archives: Activities

Active City Travel vacation ideas include activities like cycling, golf, hiking, horseback riding, tennis and watersports.

Explore Canada’s Rideau Waterway on Le Boat

Explore Canada’s scenic and historically significant Rideau Waterway with Le Boat,  the largest operator of self-drive boating holidays in Europe. As the captain of your own boat, you  cruise in your own time and stop at your leisure. 

Le Boat docked at twilight
Le Boat docked at twilight photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Depending upon the model, Le Boat accommodates between two and 12 passengers. All regular berths come with ensuite baths making Le Boat the perfect economic option for families and small groups traveling together.

Le Boat Interior cabin
Le Boat Interior cabin photo credit: Sherel Purcell

These custom contemporary styled craft offer a natural, light-filled kitchen/dining area and a spacious top deck for maximum cruising and viewing pleasure.

From Canada’s capital, Ottawa to her former capital, Kingston, the 125-mile (202 kilometers) route traverses forests, wetlands, the rocky Canadian Shield and the famous locks system – a technology dating from the 1830s earning the waterway a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.

The cities and towns abutting the Rideau Waterway where boaters dock at marinas and lock sites are well worth a visit. Ottawa, the largest city on the watery route, offers docking near the downtown area. Highlights include the National Gallery of Canada, the Ottawa Art Gallery, the Museum of Nature, the parliament buildings and the selfie – worthy Ottawa sign-sculpture on the edge of the Byward Market.

Smith Falls Golf and Country Club
Smith Falls Golf and Country Club photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Heading west on the Rideau, the happening town of Smith Falls is served by Via Rail and is home to Canadian golf sensation, Brooke Henderson and her sister-caddy, Brittany. Their home course, The Smith Falls Golf and Country Club allows visitors to play at reasonable rates for a pretty course in excellent condition.

Tweed, a new cannabis operation occupying 1,000,000 square feet offers tours of this highly scientific venture focusing on recreational and medicinal products that seeks to provide beverages to rival the alcohol market with a new emphasis on flavor. In homage to the former Hershey factory’s roots they’ve started producing chocolate and post tour samples are available as is their excellent coffee.

Eastern Canada’s only railway museum and a heritage museum that focuses on the old and the new are worth a visit. A good dining option, the Axe and Arrow offers tasty fish, seafood and local specials along with products from the excellent Perth Brewery.

A few hours sail away – Le Boat caps the speed at 10 kilometers an hour (6 miles) – sits the town of Perth, famous for its sizeable collection of limestone buildings and a main street built over the waterway. Quality local goods, new restaurants, cafes, a cheese shop and an English garden complete the pretty picture. The Rocky River cafe offers high-end pub food and healthier options in an attractive indoor/outdoor setting with excellent local brews.

Town of Westport Ontario
Town of Westport Ontario photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Another worthwhile stop, Westport, is home to the Scheuermann Winery whose folks will transport boaters to the scenic, six-acre vineyard and cafe above the water amidst rolling hills. Oven-fired pizza, inventive salads and tasty varietals top off a perfect day of boating.

The Westport Brewing Company occupies an intimate, contemporary-styled pub with a patio overlooking the waterway and serves tasting flights of their pale and darker brews.

Chaffey’s Lock, along with the usual waterside picnic and barbeque sites and friendly, helpful Parks Canada Lockmasters, offers good access to the 104-kilometer Cataraqui recreational trail – perfect for the folding bikes that can be rented from Le Boat to accompany your trip.The Lockmaster’s House Museum, an art gallery and the excellent cuisine of the Opinicon Resort all warrant a visit.

Previously published on USA Today 10Best.com

Diplomat Beach Resort & Spa Hollywood

The Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood is at the top of upscale resort destinations in South Florida. Situated on the beach between the Atlantic and the Intracoastal waterway in Hollywood, the Diplomat is a member of the Curio Collection, a select group of luxury hotels under the Hilton imprimatur.

By the Pool at The Diplomat Beach Resort & Spa
By the Pool at The Diplomat Beach Resort & Spa photo credit: John Cameron

The AAA Four Diamond  Diplomat features 8 different culinary destinations and 209,000 square feet for meetings and events, the largest hotel convention space in South Florida. The Diplomat was voted one of the top 10 resorts in Florida by Condé Nast Reader’s Choice, 2019.

Diplomat Fitness Center
Diplomat Fitness Center

The compact, fully equipped two level fitness center is adjacent to the spa which features floor to ceiling windows that overlook the Atlantic Ocean.  Try a Diplomat Spa + Wellness signature massage –  any massage from the menu at the Diplomat Spa is available for couples.

Diplomat Beach Resort & Spa Governor Suite
Diplomat Beach Resort & Spa Governor Suite

All 1000 rooms have a warm, contemporary palette with a nod to surfer culture – a pleasing blend of upscale with casual. Guests have a choice between rooms facing east with beautiful views of the sunrise over the Atlantic or facing west with a view of sunsets over the Intracoastal waterway. The corner suites have 180 degree views of both.

Diplomat Beach Resort pools
Diplomat Beach Resort pools photo credit: John Cameron

If the ocean is too rough or too cold, swim the Diplomat’s two beautiful pools, a shallow rectangular infinity pool with a unique glass-bottom window and a large, elongated kidney-shaped pool at beach level.

Where to Eat

Monkitail Sushi Bar at The Diplomat
Monkitail Sushi Bar photo credit: John Cameron

Whether you’re staying at the Diplomat or just come for a meal, you have great options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Restaurants Point Royal from celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Monkitail from Chef & Restaurateur Michael Schulson complement the luxury steakhouse Diplomat Prime and beachfront patio cafe Playa.

There is also Counterpoint, an all day grab and go, featuring specialty coffees, sandwiches and pastries, open seven days a week, Candy & Cones for your sweet tooth and a secret, intimate karaoke bar, Nokku, where you can drink and sing your heart out until 2am.

Point Royal at The Diplomat Beach Resort
Point Royal at The Diplomat Beach Resort photo credit: John Cameron

Point Royal has an appetizing array of breakfast buffet choices and a custom omelet chef. Choose your ingredients and the chef will magically create one of the best omelets you have ever tasted. Tip: if you’re not that hungry, ask for a one or two egg omelet. Point Royal is also open for lunch and dinner.

Michael Schulson & Chef Taek Lee
Michael Schulson & Chef Taek Lee at Monkitail photo credit: The Diploma

Michael Schulson’s Monkitail has a beautiful Japanese themed sushi bar, main dining room and private speak-easy karaoke, all conceived by design team Rohe Creative.

Start your meal with a cocktail – the Monkitail – a great variation on a Manhattan with extra visual pizzaz – our waiter placed cinnamon and cloves on a barrel stave, torched it until it smoked, then captured the smoke in an overturned glass. Once the glass was filled with smoke, our waiter filled it with the cocktail. The smokiness remains for the entire drink and takes the ordinary Manhattan to another level. 

As it was our first visit, we chose the chef’s tasting menu – a perfect introduction to Monkitail’s take on the classic Izakaya.  Some favorites: the big eye tuna special roll, the lobster tail, neatly split in two, the Duck Scrapple Bao Bun – duck confit with maple teriyaki syrup wrapped in a home-made steamed bun covered in black sesame seeds. Ice cream sushi was the perfect finish to our meal.

When you want to celebrate a special  occasion head to Diplomat Prime, featuring both steak and seafood. Stone crabs, found only on Florida’s gulf coast, make a great appetizer. Two large claws, perfectly cracked, arrive at the table. Eating them is 100 percent satisfaction, zero effort. Tip: Florida stone crabs are only in season from October to May.

Diplomat Prime at The Diplomat Beach Resort
Diplomat Prime at The Diplomat Beach Resort photo credit: The Diplomat

We enjoyed a crisp wedge salad followed by the walnut crusted halibut and a buttery melt-in-your mouth salmon.  And since this is one of the best Miami steakhouses, we couldn’t leave without tasting the delicious Japanese certified A5 Kobe NY Strip. Attentive service and a great sommelier with spot on wine pairings made this dinner a memorable one.