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Anywhere, Anytime

Global

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Were travel, art, architecture, fashion, food and adventure meet. Founder and global adventurer Geren Lockhart was "Born Packed" when she started traveling at a young age and never stopped. This site follows along on her journey. 

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Filtering by Category: TRAVEL GUIDE

FORMENTERA IS PARADISE

Geren Lockhart

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The sexy, chic, and relaxing island of Formentera was high on my list of places to visit while I was based out of London last year. It is a small island that is part of the Islas Baleareas sitting off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea. The beauty of Formentera is an underexploited secret sitting just south of Ibiza. There is no airport. You fly into Ibiza, taxi to the port, and then ferry to the island. That is an adventure in itself. I recommend renting a car for your time on Formentera. They are reasonably priced and prove necessary to freely see what you want to while you're in residence. The island is small but not walkable if you want to partake of the many beaches, experiences, and sites to be seen.

IN-RESIDENCE / Dotted throughout the island and almost all out of sight from the main roads are small luxury resorts, bo-ho chic party spots, and bungalows on the beach. There aren't any large properties on the island. Below are my three picks for places to stay on the island. Two a bit more lux, posh, and chill and one a bit more affordable, with an authentic beach party vibe. All good, and all worth going back to again. 

Es Mares Hotel & Spa • A 20 room luxury boutique property situated in the main city of San Francesc. This enclave of breezy chill is very centrally located and makes for easily jetting to any part of the island. The property is pared back with a beach decor that feels very mediterranean. The restaurant and spa are excellent so even if you're not laying your head here I recommend dropping in for an afternoon or evening. Book here ∞ hotelesmares.com

Es Ram • With just 8 double rooms and 4 villas this is definitely an exclusive luxury eco-resort. A gorgeous property that is completely secluded a mile down a sand road a thirty minute drive from the ferry.  This is the kind of property you can stay put at for an entire stay. You will feel like you live here from the moment you arrive. This is small footprint luxury at it's best. The staff is welcoming and the common areas, rooms and villas are stunning and stylish. The grounds make you want to meander for hours. With pools and lots of lounging bungalows, the days will slip away. Book here ∞ esramresort.com

Las Banderas • Located directly on Mitjorn beach a 20 minute drive from the ferry in one of the most historic buildings on the island this bo-ho chic 8 room property is an enjoyable place to stay. The rooms are basic but well maintained and have the kind of character you want. Each room has an outdoor area with ocean views and you're just steps from the sand. The food and drink are good but not stellar and the outdoor bar area is a great place to watch the sunset. I stayed here and left having had a great time and feeling like it was a great value. Book here ∞ hotelresidenceformentera.com

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FOOD / I didn't have a bad snack or meal while I was on the island and there are ton's of small spots that sit right on the water.  As an island just off the coast of one of the most foodie nations on earth with mostly Italian visitors. The expectations for food and beverage are lofty. 

People • The chiringuito (aka beach bar) sits directly on Platja de es Pujols is where you will end up often. No matter where else on the island you are if you're like me you will find a way to be there for lunch or cocktail hour on more than one occasion. The libations are divine - think huge delicious refreshing adult beverages made with fresh ingredients served over crushed ice - and the snacks are above par for beach food. 

Juan y Andrea • A posh beachfront restaurant that has evolved from a small bar founded in 1972 into a see and be seen hot spot today. The food is good, the drinks are classic and it's an experience worth having for the people watching alone. Situated on a secluded beach almost at the end of Playa Illetes the journey is almost as good as the place itself. juanyandrea.com

Can Dani • A true foodie level experience in the middle of the island. Eating al fresco in the courtyard makes this a great dinner choice and you will certainly have a memorable meal. The chef works primarily with local ingredients, and with those simple beginnings she makes magic happen. I recommend the tasting menu, a luxurious valuecandaniformentera.com

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BEACHES / The beaches are the number one reason to visit Formentera, While they are all gorgeous my favorites were: 

  • Cala Saona
  • Platja Migjorn
  • Platja des Canyers
  • Platja Tramuntana
  • Platja de Ses Illetes 

LIGHTHOUSES / There are three on the island, two that I visited primarily because they offered vistas that I wouldn't be privy to. They were breathtaking cliffs on both occasions with interesting surrounding areas. 

La Mola • the highest lighthouse on the island it sits atop a 1200 ft cliff. The best part about visiting this spot was the scale it gave to the island. I ventured out my first late afternoon and ended up dropping into the "Hippie Market" which is really more of and artisanal market. Situated on the main road in El Pilar de la Mola and open Wednesday and Sunday afternoons this is a must do if you're in the area on those days. Please while you are there pick up some leather bracelets from the charming leather worker. I bought two and have much to my dismay lost them in my travels. I loved them so much I sometimes daydream about heading back just to procure some more.

Es Cap de Barbaría • this lighthouse is a bit more off the beaten path, but it's worth the drive. The views are stunning and you get a chance to hike a bit further and see a watchtower that was used to protect the island in century's past. The watchtower is stunning up close. (there is a photo at the top of this story with people providing scale)

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Formentera is a magical place not far from civilization geographically but very far in reality. It is a part of the world that still moves slowly most of the time. The air is fresh, the water is sparkling, and you breath. Really breath when you are there. The cultures of Catalan, Spain, and Italy collide to protect what it means to be living completely in the moment. The residents are welcoming and the tourists I encountered were all relaxed, mostly Italian and there for the same reasons I was. While it's not an easy location to get to from Los Angeles or New York where I spend most of my time. I know I will be back to this tiny piece of the world again in this lifetime. I'm counting down the days.


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ST. BARTHS RESIDENTS HOLIDAY HERE

Geren Lockhart

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Marie-Galante is a small island in an out of the way corner of the world. Hidden a day trip away from Guadeloupe which is a days travel from most places, it delivers on what you imagine the Caribbean was like before it is now. There are no large hospitality companies playing on the island, only local hotels and restaurants with expanses of postcard ready beaches that you'll have mostly to yourself. The tourists I encountered the day I was there were mostly people escaping from other islands, with the highest concentration being made up of those that live and work on St. Barths, but can't afford to relax there. They come to Marie-Galante for holiday. The island is part of the French overseas department of Guadeloupe and it's about as calm and chill as you can get this close to the USA. 

I was lucky enough to have a local to guide me around. Eric Luc Bade was a perfect host. He's lived abroad but also knows everyone on the island, and half of them are his cousins. We explored all day, stopping at various sites and meeting many makers. Yes there are still makers of things on this island. Sugar and rhum are the primary focus. Pere Labat was my favorite distillery, we toured the in's and out's of the buildings and the distilling and packaging processes. Then we topped it off with a shot of gorgeous aged rhum and a Panache at 10am. Onward into the rest of the day where we popped in and out of sugar syrup makers, beekeepers and a wood carver who all impressed upon me the idea of using what is near. They have no choice due to geography and they're doing an amazing job of making top quality products that are personal. One great example of this is that by the time we left the sugar syrup stand there was a line of locals outside the make-shift storefront waiting for it to open so they could clean out the days stock in less than an hour just like they do everyday. 

I pushed Eric to giving me the local tour in addition to the tourist tour and it paid off. We stopped at one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen and then turned the opposite direction away from the beach which lead to us climbing up a small hill and down into the mouth of a cave. BATS..lots and lots and lots of them. It was really exciting and something I wouldn't have seen otherwise. We drove down unpaved roads to see vistas and sites, sped thru the mountains, along the way spotting historical slave homes from long ago, we sat at the mouth of the massive river that flows from the mountains and watched as kayakers took off for th e day and then made our way further afield to Capesterre the second "city" of Marie-Galante where we relaxed sipped beer and hung out with a few French ex-pat's that mind a great beach bar called La Galette.  As we departed for the ferry back to Guadeloupe I promised I'd find a week of my time on this planet to make it back to this patch of peaceful paradise. 

DETAILS

  • Catch a ferry from L'Express des iles or book a private charter from Charter World Guadeloupe or Dominica and land in Grande-Bourge.
  • Hire a great guide. Contact the Board of Tourism for advise. I usually don't want a tour but in this case it's the key to seeing the magic of the island. 
  • Speaking French is a big plus, I spoke and heard very little english in my time in Guadeloupe and the surrounding islands. It was refreshing! 

 


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MOTHER COPENHAGEN

Geren Lockhart

Exhausted at the end of a long day of art and shopping. I made my way to the “Meatpacking” district in Copenhagen, modeled after the success of its New York twin. This meatpacking is still in its infancy and is still mostly good food and good art. Exactly what I wish it still was in New York. Mother pizzeria (mother.dk) is on the list of local spots to try while I am in Copenhagen. As I approach it’s jammed, there is a chalkboard announcing the wait for a pie is 45 minutes and everyone is enjoying themselves a bit to much for it to seem real. I am greeted by David Biffani learning later he is not only from Rome, he’s co-owner and head chef. It is a true Italian greeting, welcoming and business all rolled up together. I put my name in and head to the bar for a cocktail while I wait. Very happily I discover they have Campari spritz and they actually know how to make them perfectly. 

I have a feeling I am in a locals favorite spot.  This was confirmed when David pushed me to invade a communal table filled with other guests while we waiting. They were Italian as well and the theme was starting to sink in. These young gentlemen are architects and engineers moved to Denmark as a part of a massive team from the Italian company contracted to build the new metro line for Copenhagen. 

Two cocktails later we migrate to our table together. David is having none of my sitting alone as planned. We place our pie orders and are then joined by David himself as well as another Italian engineer, who eerily looks like Stefano Pilati’s little brother. Now to the pizza! As good as anywhere you’ll ever have it. Ingredients that I find out are mostly imported from specific regions of Italy known for their mastery be it salami, flour, or olive oil and onward. The pizza crust is a perfect crispy sourdough cooked up in the wood fired ovens each day after being crafted from their “mother” dough. The spots name is an attempt to dispel the clichés of Italian restaurants outside Italy but is truly at its heart an homage to the dough itself. The starter for the mother dough was procured at the restaurants opening and was then three years young. It is now going on a decade in the making. We ate on the later side and before we were done with our meal the dough was finished for the day. The pizza is so good I can see why they run out.

David then took us on a fieldtrip to Mother’s offices across the street, through a locked gate, a locked door and into a huge basement bound meatpacking elevator that made me think. “I don’t really know these guys…this is either going to be really cool, or really bad.” Good news it was really cool. We got to peek into Mother’s underground headquarters and take a look at the collection of young Danish contemporary art David is amassing. Christian Andersen’s (christianandersen.net) gallery is just next door to Mother and that works out well for David with this quest.

We headed back to our table and closed the restaurant down along with a production team in town filming a fieldtrip for the latest cycle of Holland’s Next Top Model. A mix of local’s and visitors Mother felt like somewhere very special and at the same time somewhere I’d been a hundred times before. I had completely forgotten my earlier exhaustion and embraced what was a very memorable last dinner in Copenhagen.  Thanks David. 

Mother // mother.dk 

høkerboderne 9-15, 1712 københavn v / Sun - Wed 11am - 11pm / Thurs - Sat 11am - 1am


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BYRON BAY AUSTRALIA

Geren Lockhart

BYRON BAY, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA 

Stunning beaches, a bubbling foodie culture, gorgeous green countryside, and a chic beach vibe make for the perfect well curated peace out. I was lucky enough to experience Byron when I spent a long weekend there earlier this year.

STAY //

  • Atlantic Guesthouse / Communal living at it's best among a compound of houses and room blocks surrounding the courtyard Airstream. Family style share kitchens and chill out areas are great for meeting your fellow travelers while whipping up a great bbq or a healthy breakfast. The clean chic beach theme rooms are well appointed and sport comfortable cozy beds. Ask for a room upstairs so you can take in the green view and the sunsets. Read more on born packed. atlanticbyronbay.com.au

EAT// 

  • St. Elmo / Tapas and Spanish influenced mains, alongside the best cocktails and wine list in the area. Read more on born packed.  stelmodining.com
  • Harvest Cafe & Deli /  A short drive down the coast but so very very worth the trip. A hopping main restaurant serves amazing breakfast and lunch offerings. Be prepared to wait a bit as they are in demand. The deli next door serves up their wood fired breads and sports a cheese cellar that would make Murray's jealous alongside a meat locker that's not to be missed. Stock up on their sauces and treats for the kitchen back in Byron. harvestcafe.com.au
  • TOWN / Karl and Katrina Kanetani are big chef's in a small town. There are two TOWN's. Uptown which is for dinner offering sophisticated tasting menus and Downtown offering up breakfast and lunch that is thoughtful and complex and accessible without reservations or with a group. townbangalow.com.au

DRINK // 

  • Barefoot Brew Room / Simply the very best coffee in the area. A small hole in the wall just around the corner from St. Elmo. commongroundaustralia.com
  • Bayleaf Coffee / Great Coffee, Great Breakfast and it's just across the street from Atlantic Guesthouses. Owned by the roasters of Marvell Street coffee the coffee is top notch and the food isn't far behind. Be prepared to wait during the peak hours they've got the market cornered in Byron. Location Info

MUST DO //

  • Bangalow Market / A country upscale foodie version of what everyone in LA loves about the Rose Bowl. A must do if you're lucky enough to be in town when it's on. bangalowmarket.com.au
  • Hike the Lighthouse Trail / Ideally timed with sunrise or sunset this hike is a must do while you're in Byron. You will wind down the coast walkway and past some of the most famous beaches in the world on the way to the lighthouse and the easternmost point of the Australian continent. Rounding the tip you spy Tallow Beach below before you pop into the canopy and hike through the woods on the back side of the loop. byron-bay.com
  • Beaches /   They're all beautiful. They're all different. Don't pick, just go to all of them. Ensure you don't miss. Main Beach, Tallow Beach, Cosy Corner, LIttle Wategos and Wategos.  byron bay beach listing
  • Byron Bay Massage / Katie Connolly is a magic maker. She will come to you at the Atlantic Guesthouse and your life will be better. A variety of services and very well vetted therapists means you're in good hands, literally. I booked a massage just before hitting the road again and it made a huge difference in my travel experience. byronbaymassage.com.au 

BRING BACK //  

  • Super Awesome / cool surf spot on the main drag in Byron. Snag a tee or a backpack. Worth the luggage space. superawesome.com.au
  • Island Luxe / A chic for anywhere edit of high end and unknown designers some global and some local.  With outposts in both Byron Bay and Bangalow it houses styles for you and the new beach house you are slowly decorating in your head as each moment here passes.  No doubt you will begin imagining future summers here within an hour of landing. Islandluxefacebook
  • AHOY / Bright and playful accessories, clothes and home stuffs from around the world. Curated to match an overall theme each season there will be something you NEED here. ahoytrader.com
  • Our Corner Store / In Bangalow this small store on the main drag is packed to the gills with creative finds and great treats to bring home to those that didn't get to tag along. Pop in after lunch at TOWN ourcornerstore.com.au
  • One Teaspoon / If you're in need of a party dress or a bathing suit. This is your shop. Fun young and ready to dance is the best way to put it. oneteaspoon.com.au

RADIO // Triple J Radio 

TRAVEL STACK //4 Wheel carry-on & a tote. Bring your tablet and your phone, no computer needed. Swimsuit, sunhat and sunblock are musts. I picked up a Jack & Jac towel and some All Tomorrows Parties sandals in Sydney which became instant staples in the travel stack. They've been on every beach adventure since. 

TRANSPORT //  Fly to Gold Coast Airport from Sydney on Quantas.co.au and rent a car from Europecar.com. I had an Audi A1 the whole time I was in Australia and I couldn't recommend it more. 

WHEN TO GO // December to March which is the Australian summer is the best time to visit. New years eve is a big blowout but a bit less chic even though the fashion flock from Sydney make a showing. 

CONNECTED // Hotels and restaurants are Wi-Fi equipped, and when not directly connected you will get a signal most areas with your locally equipped mobile phone. Pick up an Australian SIM from Vodafone.co.au at Sydney Kingston airport just outside the customs check. All you will need is an un-locked mobile phone and a passport. 

POWER //  You will need adaptors for your US based electronics. Multi-port options save suitcase space and the Apple international adaptor kit is a must own. 

VISA //  Most countries require a visitor visa to enter the country. It's an easy on-line process that needs to be completed prior to arrival. Web link


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