A London mainstay for the past decade, the Connaught Bar in Mayfair decided to commemorate its 10th anniversary with a gin of its very own. Blended and bottled in house, the spirit is the brain child of mixologist Agostina Perrone and combines traditional gin methods with a character all of its own.
If the holidays make you crave simpler times, the Victorian-era Christmas celebrations at Nashville’s most historic mansion are just the ticket.
In 1973, local businesses founded the Nantucket Christmas Stroll in an effort to prevent islanders from fleeing to Cape Cod to do their holiday shopping. Now, 45 years later, the annual event acts as a draw for tourists from all over the Northeast. Held the first weekend in December, hundreds of decorated seven-foot Christmas trees are illuminated while carolers sing familiar holiday tunes and merchants offer special deals and refreshments to customers.
Nobody decked the halls like the Gilded Age’s 400. At the Newport Mansions, grandeur lives on at The Breakers, The Elms, and Marble House with newly imagined holiday décor on display through January 1. Thanks to dozens of volunteers who spent a month preparing, the historic homes are ornamented with 25 large Christmas trees, countless garlands, wreaths, and hundreds of live flowers (like poinsettias, lilies, azaleas, paperwhites, and mini-evergreens), on a scale of which the Vanderbilts and Berwinds would approve. New this year, professional event designers have created contemporary tablescapes at all three estates, so visitors can draw inspiration for decorating their own holiday tables.
Long decades ago—first when I was an investment banker and then when I embarked on what seemed at the time a promising writing life, and both my fiscal and physical state were in more robust condition than now—I used to go to London regularly. Those were the palmy days, the early 1970s through the 1980s, before Mammon took over the world. My London life centered on Mayfair and Knightsbridge: after a few hours of city or publishing business, I would look in at Heywood Hill bookshop, then run by my lifetime friend, the incomparable John Saumarez Smith. Time would be found for consultations with my tailor at Anderson & Sheppard, where the cost of a suit back then didn’t require floating a bond issue, and my shirt man at Bowring Arundel, that wonderful shop now just a memory. There were bookstores and art galleries to visit. I had kind of a rounded London life.
Take the opportunity this holiday season to participate in Letters to Santaa program custom to The Towers at Lotte New York Palace. Each year guests are provided customized postcards to write their very own letter to Santa and ‘mail’ them in the hotel’s Santa mailbox.
Founded in 1930, The Surf Club was an unlikely addition to the Miami Beaches. After all, the then southernmost city was a place for the limelight as much as the sunlight. Still, there’s always that coterie of like-minded folks who prefer to socialize behind closed doors, which was precisely the appeal.