Beauchêne Wilderness Lodge, Canada
An outdoorsman’s or woman’s paradise, La Réserve Beauchêne spreads across 50,000 acres in the high hills of Quebec province, about a five-hour drive north of Toronto. It’s the perfect destination for a family looking to escape the daily noise and spend some quality time immersed in nature. It’s most well known for its fishing. There are an astounding 40 lakes on the reserve, chock full of fish whose populations are meticulously maintained by qualified biologists. But there’s plenty more this expansive resort has to offer from hunting, to hiking, to beaches on their main lake, Lac Beauchêne. The best part is you don’t have to sacrifice any of the creature comforts for this one-of-a-kind natural experience. Guests can rent out luxury cabins or stay in the main lodge which was originally a summer home built in 1924. Alternatively, rough it out in an “Outpost Cabin” or on one of the five campsites. Make sure to try their homemade maple syrup pie.
Mediametic, Amsterdam, Holland
Seasonal and very local Dutch restaurant housed in a greenhouse in Amsterdam on the banks of the Oosterdok River. It is the restaurant that made news when the first lockdown in Europe relaxed, by building mini greenhouses for diners so they could still enjoy a meal while abiding by social distancing restrictions and regulations. The menu is plant-based and seasonal depending on the availability of vegetables, which are sourced locally. This of course, can be a challenge, but it’s one Tommaso and Giulia, the core of the restaurant’s kitchen, have overcome. Tommaso, a chef with a design background and Giulia a designer have created imaginative new food combinations and preparation methods combining design and cooking.
Bulrush, St. Louis, Missouri
When you think of fine dining, Ozark cuisine is generally not the first food genre that comes to mind. Bulrush in St. Louis is trying to change that. Self described as “rooted in Ozark cuisine,” the restaurant breathes life into a traditionally heavy and homely type of cooking. Using locally sourced organic ingredients, chef Rob Connoley curates a menu that offers a modern twist on Ozark cuisine. Though innovative, the menu stays true to local flavors and ingredients.
The restaurant offers a 5- or 7-course tasting menu. Each dish is a work of art, with unique flavor combinations such as foraged oyster mushrooms marinated in pumpkin juice and black walnut sap vinegar, or roasted sweet potatoes glazed in toffee of pork snout served atop yogurt whey, apples and candied pecans. The menu dedicates a full paragraph to each dish, describing the origins, inspiration and flavor profile of each carefully crafted plate.
The atmosphere leaves nothing to be desired either. Stepping into Bulrush, you might think you were in a Michelin-starred Tokyo sushi bar rather than a Midwestern restaurant. Diners sit around a sleek dark wood countertop while overlooking mixologists whip up unique craft cocktails that are paired with each dish. The open floor plan of the restaurant facilitates conversation and guests are encouraged to chat with fellow diners and the chef himself. Just opened in spring 2019, Bulrush has already garnered praise as one of the best restaurants in St. Louis. The restaurant also emphasizes sustainability — all ingredients are locally sourced, many ingredients are foraged directly by the restaurant and the kitchen is zero-waste.
PAN Treetop Cabins, Norway
If you have the desire to experience the real Norwegian wilderness, PAN Treetop cabins are waiting for you in the forest with their nature-based activities, traditional local food and extraordinary animal life, with elk, venison, the capercaillie bird, wolf, bear, lynx among a plethora of animals.
In Finnskogen, 26 feet above the ground and accessible via a covered spiral staircase, PAN Treetop’s award-winning designed cabins are framed from steel and apparently can withstand a hurricane. Not that there are any around here, but, you know, just in case. The A-frame-shaped cabins consist of everything you need for a retreat, starting with peace and quiet: a double bed on the mezzanine level, a heated bathroom, a hot shower, a living area with a fireplace, a small kitchen and delivered food. They even have beds that pull out from secret places so can actually sleep up to six. The cabins are situated to work with the phases of the sunlight during the day giving you optimal nature experiences. The forest and lake views are spectacular.
Should you get cabin fever, there’s forest yoga, horse and carriage rides, sleigh rides in winter, fishing, hiking, biking, birdwatching the great grey owl, a wolf safari (!), a climbing park and if that’s all too much, there are magical spa treatments — body scrubs, soothing oil massages or moisture body wraps using essential oils, clay, salt and seaweed — that can be brought to your cabin, all based on organic principles.
Uri Buri, Israel
While travelers flock to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv for world-renowned Israeli cuisine, the best seafood in the country is actually found elsewhere. Nestled in Acre, an ancient port city in northern Israel, restaurant Uri Buri has been serving the country’s best fish for over a quarter-century. In a 400-year-old restored Ottoman-era residence, chef Uri Jeremias curates a unique menu of Western Galilean dishes. His culinary approach emphasizes simplicity. Denouncing formal culinary education, Jeremias sees unique flavor combinations and fresh ingredients as the key to his restaurant’s international success. He strives to pack as much flavor as possible into each dish with eight ingredients or less, and most of the fish is caught the same day it is served. The restaurant’s seasonal tasting menu is particularly popular for patrons looking to experience a diverse range of flavor. Diners can enjoy their meal overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, sipping on a bottle of Israeli wine selected from Uri Buri’s vast wine list. Israeli wine is not all Manischewitz, you know.