About gbooks

Our luxury travel service puts the ultimate touch on Journeys reflecting a unique experience of a lifetime; we design Legacy Travel for our clients. Our focus on bespoke Journeys entails more than a creative idea and a few reservations. We hand select our land teams, guides, behind the scenes experts - all who reflect our passion for excellence and personalized service. I’m passionate about travel and unique experiences; interested in meeting local people,studying architecture, discovering and learning as much as possible about every city I visit. I adore Paris, yearn to see more of Africa, a recent visit to Istanbul reminds me that there is much more to see in Turkey. A passage to India allowed me to explore the rich and diverse culture, and I barely scratched the surface of this amazing country. Love to sail, discover music and indigenous food of each region, seek out the best markets and design, and of course dine at the local restaurants. I particularly love roaming Africa, recently explored Argentina and India, which deserve another visit. A devoted Francophile, love all things Parisian, world music, excellent wines & champagne.

Happy 350th Birthday – Celebrate Charleston!

The grand dame city of Charleston kicked off their tricentennia with a 300-gun salute followed by a parade and a ball, the festivities continued for more than a month. Eight days of the activities were named for each of the Lords Proprietors, the individuals who were granted a royal charter to found Charles Towne.

Now, in 2020, for Charleston’s semiseptcentennial — that’s half of a 700th anniversary, or septcentennial — the celebration will last all year. 

Charming Charleston is the oldest and largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina, known for its large role in the American slave trade. Charleston was founded in 1670 as Charles Town, honoring King Charles II of England. Known for historic charm, few cities outshine Charleston, one of the South’s most appealing destinations!

Luxurious Lodging – may we recommend one of our favorite Belmond properties: Charleston Place. Where Southern charm meets timeless elegance. Sitting on the city’s iconic King Street, Belmond Charleston Place is a timeless gem in this historic South Carolina town. Boasting more than 400 spacious accommodations, it is the largest Belmond property in the world and, with a renowned restaurant, stylish Southern charm and live music seven nights a week.

Charleston Place

Celebration Activities: Gardeners and historic architectural tours will be featured events. Garden and historic home tours as group reserved events run from March 11 – through April 18, 2020. A collection of stimulating events, including cuisine, gardens, architecture and musical performances round out a full calendar. Plan a few days to savor fine food, history, gardens and architecture.

A month of celebrations includes several more exclusive events, the Architectural Splendor Tour of Showcase Houses hosts smaller groups to visit magnificent architectural treasures and their incredible decorative arts and furnishings collections will be interpreted by leading local experts during this once-in-a-lifetime tour. Guests will gather in small, intimate groups to visit four select properties south of Broad Street in the Old and Historic District. Tickets: $150 per person.  Advance purchase is required. Limited availability. Date: March 19, 2020.

Charleston Gardens

Garden Splendor Tours: Passionate gardeners and horticulture devotees will savor four spectacular gardens in the historic district. Enthusiasts will gather in small, intimate groups to learn the trials, tribulations and triumphs of designing and maintaining a selection of Charleston’s most celebrated gardens. Tickets: $150 per person. Advance purchase is required.  Limited availability, dates March 26, 10:00 am – 12:00 or April 1, 2020. Time: 2- 4:00 pm.

The city boasts a vibrant contemporary art scene well worth exploring, a very walkable city tour begins at the core of the city — south of Route 17 highway – it’s compact, safe and walkable. Start your exploration with a morning on foot in the handsomest part of town, the cherished South of Broad neighborhood. Take a step back into history and explore the beautiful antebellum neighborhood, the district dates back to 1721 and features rare historic homes amongst cobblestone streets. One of the true gems of the South, this neighborhood is a beloved part of downtown Charleston. It boasts traditional southern architecture and homes that look straight out of an American storybook. Guided walking tours can be arranged. Suggested reading: Pat Conroy novel, “South of Broad”.

Charleston Gardens

Unique Shopping: Charleston remains remarkably independent from the outside world; it may be a small city, enjoy a vigorous assortment of unique shops, particularly as you move north and away from the most touristy bits of the historic center. 

Lively libations and the dining scene has become a foodie mecca. Husk and its petite bar across the alley are two of the best things about the city’s restaurant scene.  Husk, transforms the essence of Southern food. Executive Chef and Lowcountry native, Travis Grimes, reinterprets the bounty of the surrounding area, exploring an ingredient-driven cuisine that begins in the rediscovery of heirloom products and redefines what it means to cook and eat in the South. And right across the alley, in a beautifully renovated old brick building, is where you’ll find the Bar at Husk. Squeeze your way in – and peruse the creative cocktail menu, filled with excellent southern classics, including the Sazerac. 

Add golfing to your itinerary by a visit to Kiwah Island, one of the country’s top golf resorts, featuring five championship courses in privileged oceanfront locations, all centered around one of the East Coast’s most luxurious resort hotels, The Sanctuary. 

Back to the Birthday! Gardens are open during the month of March and April on specific dates if you are interested in a self-guided tour of some of Charleston’s most splendid gardens. These walking tours are arranged so guests may stroll leisurely through approximately seven private gardens.

Gullah Spirituals Concert Spiritually Yours ensemble

Guides are stationed at each location to provide information about garden design, plant material and history. Colorful blooms are found in many of Charleston’s spring gardens, while others display elegant, limited palettes of green and white. Scale and proportion are deftly used to complement each house, whether it boasts a small courtyard space or a series of garden “rooms.” In addition to frequently favored plants, such as azaleas, camellias, climbing roses and tea olives, look for masonry walls, wrought iron gates, parterres edged with boxwood, water features, statues and garden rooms with slight but changing elevations as you stroll through a selection of sophisticated Charleston gardens. Each Glorious Gardens tour includes a wine reception in the garden of the Nathaniel Russell House Museum, 51 Meeting Street, from 4-5 pm. Tours $55.00.

Charleston Gardens

Combine the garden tours with special educational programs: March 16, Flavors of the Lowcountry: Reviving Gullah-Geechee Cuisine. Charleston-native Chef BJ Dennis serves Lowcountry history and culture through his food. West African slaves brought foodstuffs that have since become staples of the Southern diet, and they plied the local waters for seafood. As an ambassador of Gullah-Geechee cuisine, Chef Dennis is studying, reviving and sharing their foodways, the basis for much of “Southern cooking.”

Food for Thought Luncheon Lecture Series:This is an event in the Food for Thought Luncheon Lecture Series. The luncheon lecture series will take place in an informal setting at the historic Captain James Missroon House, c. 1808. Join us atop Charleston’s High Battery and enjoy a commanding view of Charleston Harbor and the antebellum mansions along East Battery. Participants will enjoy a casual light lunch of salads and sandwiches.

Experience the music that defines Charleston’s history–gospel, Gershwin, Civil War songs, jazz, and light classics —coming to life in historic Circular Congregational Church in live 75-minute concerts. Gullah Spirituals Concert: Clap your hands and stomp your feet during an exhilarating performance of Gullah spirituals and the music of the Sea Islands. The ancestors of the Gullah people brought a rich heritage of African cultural traditions to this country, and the Spiritually Yours ensemble will share that extraordinary musical inheritance with you. The Circular Congregational Church, c. 1892, provides a splendid setting. March 19, 5:30 pm.

March 18, Fabric, Fashion and Freedom: Clothing and Its Production in Colonial Charleston ~or~ What to Wear to a Revolution. Clothing is one of the most intimate expressions of a culture. This program lends a peek at what women did, thought, experienced, and wore during the period of our nation’s birth. Historian Jean Hutchinson will share her extensive research into the roles that women of the Carolina Lowcountry played prior to and during the American Revolution through their words and fashions. Food for Thought Luncheon Lecture Series: This is an event in the Food for Thought Luncheon Lecture Series. The luncheon lecture series will take place in an informal setting at the historic Captain James Missroon House, c. 1808. Join us atop Charleston’s High Battery and enjoy a commanding view of Charleston Harbor and the antebellum mansions along East Battery. Participants will enjoy a casual light lunch of salads and sandwiches.

Enjoy the selected listings of the events, find the full schedule at http://www.historiccharleston.org/blog/events/category/festival-houses-gardens/

Plan a few days to enjoy the architecture, glorious gardens and fine cuisine!

Winter Blues

Cures for the Winter Blues: we recommend The Four Seasons Maldives – two scrumptious properties, plus a private island and a private yacht- https://www.gwenbooks.com/2019/10/four-seasons-maldives-hotels-private-island/ https://www.gwenbooks.com/2018/03/four-seasons-maldives-yacht-explorer/ https://www.gwenbooks.com/2018/02/four-seasons-kuda-huraa-resort-maldives/

There aren’t enough superlatives to fully and accurately describe the staggering natural beauty of the Maldives. Nothing prepared me for the beauty of the Maldives, the diving and snorkeling are exceptional, fish to table meals, scrumptious spas, it’s a distance, but beyond worth it! I stayed for two weeks and could have easily lounged/snorkeled for an additional week!

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa Resort Maldives
Four Seasons Kuda Huraa Resort Maldives
Snorkel or dive- this little guy was was in barely 4 feet of water right in front of my beach villa, manta rays hover in deeper seas, turtles may come in close for a peek at your mask!
Ancient Bhutan Kingdom

Brilliant blue skies at dizzying altitudes in the ancient Kingdom of Bhutan, explored village by village with Amankora Resorts. Amankora has five lodges spread through the Kingdom and each lodge is a subtle suggestion of the white walled Dzongs. The Bhutanese architecture is very colorful and replicated in farmhouses, temples and local shops. Amankora has kept it clean and simple, why try to compete with the majesty of the Himalayas, the bedecked local homes and the elaborately painted Temples. See my glorious posts on Bhutan https://www.gwenbooks.com/2019/02/amankora-bhutan-2-by-2/; https://www.gwenbooks.com/2019/01/amankora-bhutan/

We are strong Four Seasons supporters all over the world but for warm water and sizzling sun think of the divine Four Seasons Punta Mita, villas, beach cabanas, tequila tasting, warm water – it’s got it all! The recently opened Four Seasons Cabo is an architectural stunner- if you like a desert environment, absolutely isolated experiences, swimmable beaches then this new resort will speak to you. Our clients seeking winter warmth have visited almost every Four Seasons beach resort: Costa Rica, Bora Bora, Nevis and even the beautiful Four Seasons Athens beach resort in summer. Oh and the multiple Hawaiian resorts: Lanai, Maui, Hualalai, and Oahu Ko Olina, so many choices!

Four Seasons Punta Mita

Farther afield: Fiji, many exceptional properties offering so many water activities, the kiddos will be worn out by the daily options! Exceptional deep sea fishing is also very popular in Fiji.

Laucula Island Resort, Fiji

New Zealand and Australia offer summer warmth when we are chilly. Argentina wine tasting, it’s hot there! Spin the globe, follow the sun!

Image result for new zealand

Ring us for Winter Warmth Solutions – Cures for the Winter Blues!