Affordable Luxury That Feels Like Home

I cozied up legs crossed on the floor taking in all of the warmth of the crackling fire that I could handle while spoon-feeding myself Vermont-made ice cream in a room adorned with vintage snowshoes, skates, traps and trinkets hung from the three surrounding walls. As I got up to throw another log on the fire, I noticed the snowflakes were still gracefully making their way to the ground. It was the first big snow of the season for the small town of Waterbury, Vermont. I could have stayed forever.

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In fact, many of the guests who have come to stay at Moose Meadow Lodge in Waterbury have done just that. They’ve gone and bought property after their stay. Once you’ve experienced the hospitality of owners Greg and Willie, you’ll not only fall in love with their quaint B and B, but the entire Green Mountain State.

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While this property must be just as idyllic in the warmer months, there is no shortage of a nice balance of serenity and adventure throughout the winter. We bunked up for two nights in the Sled Room, one of four themed rooms in the lodge each equipped with their own balcony or patio. Breakfast was on each morning at 9 am including local Vermont Cabot Cheddar over eggs, french toast and maple bacon with maple syrup tapped from the trees on their very land.

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With 86 acres of private property to explore, snowshoeing after morning coffee was at the top of our list. With several different paths to choose from, we listened to the sounds of nature and crunching of the snow under our feet as we made our way to the top stopping to enjoy the picturesque views along the route. If you hike all the way up to the top, you’re in for a beautiful surprise: a simple fully enclosed gazebo with large windows shielding you from the elements where you can reflect, relax, and take in the aerial mountain views. There’s even a heater if you wish to stay a while!

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Once we were back at the lodge, I stepped into the bathroom barefoot on heated floors to warm up and had a nice twenty minute steam on the bench in the shower. There is also a jacuzzi tub in the basement! It’s really easy to get too comfortable in the lodge and not even leave the property during your stay, with the option to use the kitchen to make dinner. If you do decide to venture out, there’s so much to do for the epicurious traveler.

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For a taste of Waterbury, venture just down the road and taste the world at Vermont Liberty Tea Company, sip small production, family owned, and naturally produced wines at Cork, enjoy small plates at Prohibition Pig, and dine at Hen of the Wood. Not far down the road, the food scene in Stowe is just as exciting. We enjoyed innovative apps at Doc Pond and the classic underground dinner scene at Harrison’s. Vermont also has a huge influence in arts and culture and I especially loved making a trip to the West Branch Gallery and their outdoor Sculpture Park.

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Speaking of sculpture, every detail back at the Moose Meadow Lodge was done by hand and all of the Maple and Birch inside of the house is from the property. For those looking for a more secluded escape, book a stay in the Treehouse out back. Open the three warmer seasons of the year, this feel like a kid again beautifully hand crafted room has all you could ever need including an outdoor shower and overlooking the fully stocked pond, perfect for paddling out or fishing.

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An affordable luxury escape that feels like home, don’t forget to remain young and adventurous at heart as you plan your next escape in Vermont. A great retreat for all types of travelers including the solo adventurist, couples, or entire family or friends weekend retreat, experiencing a stay at the hidden gem that is Moose Meadow Lodge will leave you refreshed, restored, and curious for more childlike wander.

Kristen Kellogg

Exploring rugged to refined, digital storyteller and film producer Kristen Kellogg has a unique eye and flair for capturing the essence of a brand or destination that is immediately recognizable in the work she crafts through her Wanderlust Website + Creative Agency: Border Free Travels. Kristen’s work has been featured in Yahoo Travel, AFAR, and Microsoft among others. A Nantucket resident, when Kristen isn’t on the road, she is literally running around exploring her own backyard. Kristen is from Southern Illinois. Follow her daily adventures on Instagram here.

Canopy Camping: Camp Kekerengu

Glamping is no longer a niche experience, it has become a mainstream trend offering lodging for every type of traveler.

Glamping may be a bit more costly than the usual camping experience. There is no tent to pitch or sleeping bag to unroll. You will get to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury.

Canopy Camping offers glamping accommodations worldwide, on the hillside the structures are furnished with soft linens, hot showers and cooking facilities.

One of their newer properties, Camp Kekerengu has breathtaking views of the surrounding land from its hilltop location.

The camp is set within the majestic Kaikoura Coast, at Ngaio Downs, a sheep and beef farm.

Situated three hours from Christchurch, you’ll feel a million miles from anywhere as you look out at the ocean from your luxury tent.

1. Kekerengu can accommodate a maximum of 11 people in summer, making this a fantastic group or family getaway.

2. The camp has three tents, a group kitchen and covered lounging areas for the entire group.

3.Three luxury tents are perched on raised decks with their own sun porches. Two of the three tents have wood-burning stoves inside and are equipped with queen bed as well as bunks designed for kids.

The Kaikoura Coast is one of New Zealand’s travel gems offering stunning countryside, mountain views and coastal attractions making for an unforgettable glamping getaway.

Whether you choose to relax at the campsite and soak in the views, wander around the farm, or get out and about to explore the area, there are plenty of activities to make for an unforgettable escape into nature.

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Alexandria Autrey

Recent graduate from the University of Utah with a degree in Mass Communications and previously the lead writer for Glamping LLC.

Sky Beach Club: The Un-Hotel

Just a 45-minute flight from Fort Lauderdale, there’s a sliver of land that divides the teal Caribbean and the deep blue Atlantic; it’s lined with 135 beaches, coral cliffs, 8,000 locals and a handful of tourists…the majestic Eleuthera, Bahamas. We landed at the Governor’s Harbour airport and within minutes arrived at the island’s prestigious Sky Beach Club. It could be called a hotel but it is more is a like a cluster of luxury vacation homes with tons of privacy and staff just when you need them. There is a main pool but most villas have their own. There is a fabulous restaurant but the villas’ fully equipped kitchens and ocean-view terraces often inspire a night in. It’s a special place where life slows down and relaxation comes easy.

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The 22-acre property has four villas perched on the hillside and two bungalows down by the rare and fabulous pink sand beach. The Atlantic is always in view, and from the top of the Sky Beach Club, you can get 360-degree dual ocean panorama.

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The villas are modern while embracing the natural setting, with floor-to-ceiling windows and ample outdoor space. A spacious sunken living room, state-of-the-art kitchen, and room to sleep eight…it’s perfect for families or a few couples. Stock up on groceries in nearby Gregory Town or have the staff fill your fridge prior to arrival. Don’t feel like cooking? Sky Beach Club can arrange a private chef.

04 Sky Beah Club Pool

Just outside the thatch-roof bungalows is the infinity pool and swim-up cocktail bar. We spent our time sunbathing on the chaise lounges by day or sitting by the conch-shell fire pit by night.

05-Sky Beach Club Cocktails

Sammy’s Swim Up bar is renowned on Eleuthera. This local character has been bartending on the island for 19 years and is famous for his gift of gab and Goombay Smash. We chitchatted while he created masterful cocktails. Lounging on their chic patio under the swaying palms, sipping Smashes, and watching the teal sea break was nothing shy of heaven.

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The Sky Beach Club lured one of Eleuthera’s top chefs and restauranteurs to their property, Pascal Burrows. He previously owned three restaurants but is now focusing his efforts on Pascal’s Oceanfront Seafood Restaurant. In addition to seating by the pool, the dining room offers sumptuous views that complement every meal.

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For lunch, we started with fresh cracked conch and a pair of Kaliks (the national beer of the Bahamas), followed by a blackened grouper sandwich and bountiful salad of romaine, apple, walnut, cranberries and blue cheese. Delish!

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Pascal has also secured a beach bar along the coral sand. Grab yourself a Rum Punch as you pass through and lounge under the thatch umbrellas on this secluded stretch of beach. The hotel manager CC leads nature walks along the shore, pointing out the flora and fauna like hog plums and kamalame trees. Follow the scenic and original Banks Road and it will lead you to Governor’s Harbour, a charming British colonial village and home of the famous Friday Night Fish Fry.

09 Sky Beach Club Cocktails

Sky Beach Club is the kind of place you’ll want to stay a week or a month. If you’ve ever wanted a second home on tropical island (without the commitment), check into the Sky Beach Club.

Anne & Mike Howard

Mike and Anne Howard left on their honeymoon in 2012 and have been traveling the world ever since. HoneyTrek.com chronicles their adventures across 7 continents, 44 countries, and counting! Their writing, photography, and the story of the “World’s Longest Honeymoon” can also be found on Condé Nast Traveler, BBC Travel, The Knot, Los Angeles Times, CBS, and dozens of other international publications. Connect with @HoneyTrek on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.