Check out our recommendations for what to do, where to go and what to eat in some of Cayman’s favorite overseas destinations this October.
Queenstown, New Zealand
CULTURE: Many of Queenstown’s attractions are of the adrenalin-fueled kind – this is the “Global Adventure Capital,” after all. Active types can bungee jump off Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge, go jet-boating on the Shotover river and catch the last of ski season in the Remarkables. For more sedate tastes, historic mining towns and vineyards await in the surrounding Otago countryside.
SHOPPING: Grab a pre-loved designer bargain at fashion boutique Walk-in Wardrobe and trawl Vesta for interesting prints, glassware and gifts – the gallery is housed in Williams Cottage (1864), Queenstown’s oldest home.
FOOD: After racking up Michelin stars in London, New York and LA, chef Josh Emett has brought his culinary talents back home, opening the surprisingly unflashy Rata restaurant. Its small but perfectly formed menu showcases the best seasonal local produce.
COCKTAILS: Sip your cocktail from a frozen glass while surrounded by ice sculptures in novelty-value Below Zero Ice Bar. Also, be sure to sample some of the world’s finest Pinot Noir, which the area is famous for, by taking a vineyard trip into Gibbston Valley (there are some 75 wineries to choose from).
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH: It’s spring in the southern hemisphere: The green valleys around Queenstown bursting into bud and the renowned hiking trails come into their prime. From Oct. 20-23 the sounds of Queenstown Jazz Festival fill the air, with performances by legendary musicians Phil Broadhurst and Nathan Haines making this event a Mecca for music lovers.
CULTURE: Dubbed the “Pink City” for its rose-hued buildings, at Jaipur’s center stands the opulent City Palace complex. Its gardens, courtyards and museums provide respite from the chaotic, kaleidoscopic street life beyond. More history and fairytale architecture await at the Amber Fort, Jaipur’s star attraction.
SHOPPING: You’ll find stunning high-quality textiles such as block-printed fabrics and scarves at Anokhi boutique, plus there’s a great little bookshop in the same building.
FOOD: India’s street food is legendary and some of the best bites you can have are served from ramshackle roadside stalls – like the onion kachoris from Rawat Kachori. For fine dining, meanwhile, nothing beats Surya Mahal at the Oberoi Rajvilas. Try the tandoori fish in garlicky kasundi mustard, or chicken on the bone marinated in yogurt and Kashmiri chilies.
COCKTAILS: The most glamorous cocktail bars are found in the grand hotels, like The Verandah at the Rambagh Palace. Order a crisp gin and tonic (this tipple was invented here in India) and savor the panoramic garden views from the veranda.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH: The spectacle of Diwali, the Festival of Light (from Oct. 19), should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. See the city illuminated with breathtaking fireworks, lanterns, candles and fairy lights for five days of celebrations.
Bar Harbor, Maine
CULTURE: For the quintessential New England experience, hop in a rental car and cruise the coastal roads – all jagged sea cliffs, peaceful harbors and lighthouses. The Acadia National Park is right on your doorstep, offering up wildlife-spotting opportunities (including moose and bears) and glacier-scoured granite peaks.
SHOPPING: For the bright, floral Lilly Pulitzer look, pop into the Romantic Room on Northeast Harbor. Fair Trade wins is a good place to pick up eco-friendly gifts including jewelry, tree-free journals, organic coffee and chocolate.
FOOD: Follow in the Obamas’ footsteps by dining at Havana, a red-walled restaurant that deals in “American fine dining with a Latin flair,” and you must also stop by one of the traditional lobster shacks, a Maine institution.
COCKTAILS: Filled with old photographs and nautical signage, Geddy’s is a kitsch local favorite. Sample some of the special blueberry-infused drinks, such as the Sea Dog draft beer.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH: Fall in Maine is spectacular, as the trees put on a show like no other. Embrace the season’s evening bonfires, freshly-squeezed hot apple cider, pumpkin carving and fresh water fishing among the flaming leaves.
CULTURE: Savannah is a real southern belle, with its manicured parks, horse-drawn carriages and antebellum architecture. Take of walking tour around the cobblestoned Historic Quarter to view the Gothic-Revival Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, clue up on Civil War history and get goosebumps hearing the local ghost stories.
SHOPPING: You’ll find some of the cutest shops tucked into huge historic buildings – see Upper Factors Walk and City Market. Savannah’s Downtown Design District has a score of independent fashion and homeware boutiques, while Broughton Street is go-to for high-street brand names.
FOOD: Brunch in Savannah means a trip to Huey’s for Bloody Marys and beignets. As for dinner, reserve a table at The Olde Pink House, which serves inventive Southern cuisine in an elegant Colonial mansion (there’s also live music in the cellar tavern).
COCKTAILS: Moon River brewery serves an ever-changing list of great beers, including local IPAs. If the autumn weather is kind, the outdoor rooftop bar at The Bohemian Hotel – Rocks on the Roof – has a chilled, hangout vibe and riverside views.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH: From shrimp to classic cars to Jewish food – you name it, there’s a festival dedicated it in Savannah this month. Forsyth Park’s free outdoor philharmonic concert draw crowds in early October, while Savannah Film Festival kicks off at the end of the month. Halloween is also a huge deal here; Savannah is known as one America’s most haunted cities.
CULTURE: History is heaped up like layers in a baklava pastry in Rhodes Old Town. One of the best preserved medieval settlements in the world, you can stroll up Street of the Knights to the Palace of the Grand Master (complete with 158 rooms of frescos and antique furniture). The ancient, clifftop ruins of the Acropolis of Lindos are another must-see.
SHOPPING: Olive oil, honey, leather goods and jewelry should be on your shopping list here, and maybe a bottle of Ouzo if you can handle it. Wander the Old Town’s narrow lanes and you’ll find plenty of little shops.
FOOD: At quintessential Greek taverna To Meltemi, the moussaka, calamari and saganaki (shrimps stuffed with tomato and feta) specialties come with a side of panoramic sea views. Another seafood hotspot is Hatzikelis, where the fresh swordfish or snapper are caught by free-divers and filleted in front of diners. If it’s good enough for Tom Hanks …
COCKTAILS: Recognizable by the colorful bunting strung outside, The Union Bar has won rave reviews for its fresh craft cocktails, friendly service and cool playlists, whether it’s a Sunday chill-out sessions or lively Friday evening street party.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH: Oct. 28 is OXI (meaning “No!”) Day, a national holiday marking Greece’s refusal to allow Mussolini’s troops to enter their territory in 1940. With Greek flags strung from the buildings and street parades, raise a glass of Ouzo to their bravery and soak up the proud, rebellious spirit of the day.