Bucket-List Travel

Consider these lesser-known destinations for the year ahead.

Avid travelers, intrepid adventurers, and culture enthusiasts eager to make up for lost time are circling their calendars for this year and beyond. But with the masses also looking to vacation with friends and family, the world’s most in-demand travel destinations and experiences are likely to be busy and crowded. Here’s a look at some of the world’s best under-the-radar travel options.

Historic Hot Springs and Via Ferratas in the American West

Active travelers looking to take their adventure game to another level are seeking out via ferratas (Italian for “Iron Way”), climbing routes that employ steel cables, rungs, and ladders affixed to natural rock formations. One of America’s newest and most expensive via ferratas is found at Castle Hot Springs, a historic resort north of Phoenix that has been revitalized in recent years to become one of the country’s most luxurious destination resorts. After walking across a 200-foot long aerial walkway high above the cactus-strewn canyon floor, guests recover in one of three therapeutic hot spring pools, with temperatures reaching 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

Visitors to Colorado can explore the 720-mile, Historic Hot Springs Loop, which incorporates five inviting destinations in the western part of the state. The 19 hot springs facilities offer unique features such as vapor caves, hot pots, terraced pools, and gigantic travertine formations. Highlights include the charming alpine town of Ouray, known as the “Switzerland of America,” and historic Pagosa Springs, which offers a convenient base in The Springs Resort & Spa, where guests enjoy access to 24 soaking pools ranging from 83-114°F. Overlooking the picturesque San Juan River, the pools are filled with mineral water from the resort’s “mother spring,” which has been measured to 1,002 feet deep, making it the world’s deepest measured geothermal hot spring.

The tony ski town of Telluride offers one of the country’s most jaw-dropping via ferrata routes, thousands of feet above the town’s famed boxed canyon. Guides are not required, but with its challenging course, featuring metal ladder rungs bolted onto a sheer cliff face, not to mention gorgeous views of Bridal Veil Falls, the course is not for the faint of heart.

Luxe Tropical Wellness in Lanai

The Hawaiian island of Lanai, which gets only a fraction of the visitor traffic received by neighboring Maui, is famously owned by the tech mogul Larry Ellison. Travelers often feel like they have the island to themselves, as crowds are rarely found across its pine-clad forests or glimmering shoreline. Ellison’s newest contribution to the island, Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort, is a secluded wellness enclave that distills preventive health science, data, and research into simple paths for everyday living. Guests can explore untouched wilderness, burn off calories in an outdoor adventure park or via myriad fitness and movement classes, and refuel with meals by Nobu, highlighting sustainable, local ingredients. Or guests can venture over to the island’s other destination resort, the oceanfront Four Seasons Resort Lanai, where the stunning grounds contain memorable spaces for R&R, namely stunning lagoon-style pools and museum-quality botanical gardens.

Next-Level Thrills in Alaska

Best known for its world-class salmon fishing, the majestic town of Ketchikan is home to Salmon Falls Resort. Situated at the southernmost entrance to Alaska’s iconic Inside Passage, the resort offers numerous intriguing activities, most notably float plane fishing in which, after a scenic chartered flight, guests land in remote spots to enjoy one-of-a-kind guided fishing experiences. Due to a lack of cruise ships and a decrease in charter fishing excursions, the wildlife watching and fishing is better than ever. The resort’s other bucket-list experiences include bear watching tours, wildlife watching boat safaris, salmon cooking demos, and wine pairings with salmon roe.

Located in a remote spot in Alaska’s Denali National Park, the Sheldon Chalet attracts big spending mountaineers—three-night packages cost around $35,000 for two guests, inclusive of a helicopter “flightseeing” tour, gourmet meals, five-bedroom luxe accommodations, all gear and equipment, and more. Once properly fitted with a climbing harness, snowshoes, helmet, and poles, guests attend the chalet’s glacier school. (No previous mountaineering experience necessary.) Others may simply prefer to relax around the fireplace or warm up in the sauna with views of Denali’s summit.

Situated 60 miles west of Anchorage, Tordrillo Mountain Lodge lures adventurers with its heli-skiing and other hair-raising pursuits; owner and heli-ski pioneer Mike Overcast opened the lodge with Olympic gold medalist Tommy Moe. Guests can tackle the only via ferrata in Alaska, or go bear viewing in a vintage 1956 Turbine Otter plane.

Reflections in the beautiful blue waters of Horseshoe Lake at Denali National Park in Alaska.

Reflections in the beautiful blue waters of Horseshoe Lake at Denali National Park in Alaska.

New Options, Spread Apart in the Maldives

Luxury travelers looking to enjoy world-class scenery and relaxation in private, secluded environs have long flocked to the Maldives. But with roughly 1,200 coral islands spread over 35,000 square miles, the destination offers an endless array of new locales to explore.

Located in Raa Atoll on Muravandhoo Island, Joali Maldives is one of the destination’s splashiest new openings, as well as its first immersive art resort. The 73-villa property places a distinct focus on design, having utilized the Istanbul-based design firms Autoban and Atolye4n, and Tokyo-based Studio Glitt. When not luxuriating in the postcard-perfect waters, guests take holistic wellness journeys and go on yachting excursions to spot whales and manta rays.

Another relative newcomer, the Vakkaru Maldives resort is memorably situated within the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Baa Atoll. A tropical wonderland filled with more than 2,300 fully grown coconut trees, the resort’s Work Well package—which includes a bespoke fitness program, personal assistant, and access to a private, oceanfront office—is perfect for executives looking to “work from home” in one of the world’s most scenic offices. Available to guests who book a stay for 21 days or longer, each Work Well residency includes a complimentary upgrade to a bigger villa with a well-equipped study.

For the ultimate private luxury experience, big spenders can buy out one of the Maldives’ priciest and most decorated options—for $35,000 per night. The small private island of Naladhu offers blissful seclusion; there are 20 elegant houses, each with a private pool and 24-hour dedicated butler service. The buyout includes exclusive access to other islands, and guests can enjoy activities such as deserted island picnics, private yacht cruises, in-room spa journeys, and more.

Joali Maldives is a high-end resort and immersive art experience at the same time.

Joali Maldives is a high-end resort and immersive art experience at the same time.

Hard-to-Reach Caribbean Highlights

With its natural hot springs and tropical rainforests, Dominica is one of the Caribbean’s hidden gems. The mountainous island nation is home to some of the region’s most spectacular rivers and canyons. Participants jump into secret waterfalls and natural pools, descend into deep gorges, hike through lush jungle, and rappel down giant waterfalls to drop into the water below.

Serious hikers make the trek to the island’s awe-inspiring Boiling Lake, the second-largest of its kind in the world. The journey to the lake—an ancient, natural cauldron of bubbling water that’s more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit—takes visitors through lush jungles, natural springs, and sulfur pools. The island is also home to the Caribbean’s first long-distance walking trail, the 115-mile Waitukubuli National Trail. With 14 contiguous segments, the trail can take experienced hikers nearly two weeks to complete in its entirety. Family-friendly and suitable for all types of hikers, the trail takes visitors through the island’s history, including indigenous Kalinago villages and ruins from 18th-century French settlements.

Over in the British Virgin Islands, eco-minded visitors to Oil Nut Bay on Virgin Gorda can try their hand at turtle tagging. The scenic island resort, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Atlantic on the other, sits in a turtle-rich environment. Turtle tagging boating adventures allow guests to swim alongside green sea turtles and partake in free diving to safely catch the turtles alongside a researcher. Turtles are measured, tagged, and released, and guests can then follow their adventures even after returning home.

A sailing paradise with 60 islands and cays, the British Virgin Islands are best explored on the water. Voyage Charters recently launched Electrified, its first solar-powered charter yacht and the first sustainable sailing option of its kind in the destination.

Those looking for a truly out-of-the-ordinary diving experience should head to Virgin Gorda’s Mountain Point, home to the islands’ newest diving mecca, the BVI Art Reef. In 2017, the Kodiak Queen—one of only five surviving ships from Pearl Harbor—was intentionally sunk with a large-scale sculpture of an 80-foot kraken. The project was created by a group of artists, engineers, scientists, and donors (including Sir Richard Branson) to raise awareness of ocean conservation. The site is a coral out-planting platform, which is facilitating a thriving new reef habitat while rehabilitating vulnerable marine life such as the goliath grouper.

Speaking of Branson, the islands’ most famous ambassador, his private island retreat, Necker Island has been fully restored after the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma in 2017. Those visiting in 2021 will be among the first to experience the island following its pricey restoration; in addition to two additional guest rooms in the Great House, three giant wind turbines have been installed, furthering the island’s commitment toward sustainability. Aquatic types pass the time with underwater sea adventures, while landlubbers can enjoy everything from private yoga and tennis to cave exploring. The starting rate for exclusive hire of the entire island, which includes use of 20 bedrooms, is $105,000 per night.

Dominica in the Caribbean offers lots of hiking and climbing options for all levels.

Dominica in the Caribbean offers lots of hiking and climbing options for all levels.

Source Sotheby's International Realty Blog https://www.sothebysrealty.com/eng/bucket-list-travel-april2021 

Announcing the 2020 Presidents Club Members

We are very proud to announce our 2020 Select Sotheby’s International Realty President’s Club! Each agent who is inducted into this club will provide you with an unparalleled experience with buying or selling your next home. Congratulations to all of these outstanding professionals.⁠ Presidents Club Social Media 2020

3 Things to Consider Before Buying a Second Home

Buying a vacation home sounds like a dream, but that doesn’t make it the right move financially. Consider these three things to see if purchasing a vacation property makes sense for you.

Realtor.com teamed up with Keir Weimer, an Associate Real Estate Broker with Select Sotheby’s International Realty, to promote his expert advice at a national level, on three things you should consider before purchasing a vacation home. Keir’s team specializes in second home, commercial and resort properties throughout the Adirondack Park and Upstate New York.

Watch the video here : http://www.realtor.com/videos/buying-a-vacation-home-better-watch-this-first/2f7f6aed-779a-484a-8d6b-128dbecb4c2e

John Burke Sells His Shares of Select Sotheby’s International Realty to Daniel Collins

Select Sotheby’s International Realty, founded in 2007, with offices in Saratoga Springs, Bolton Landing and Lake Placid, is excited to announce that Daniel Collins is the new President/CEO and sole owner of the company.

Dan Collins purchased the shares formerly owned by John A. Burke, Jr. on July 17, 2015. Burke founded the company with three other partners in 2007 and started out with no agents, no clients and no listings. As of July 2015, the company has 56 agents and over 480 active listings. In 2014, the total sales volume was over $110 million.

“My passion is in business development, the start-up phase of new companies. Select Sotheby’s International Realty has reached a point of maturity, and I am excited and confident that Dan Collins can take the company to the next level,” Burke said.

John is also excited for the opportunity to build his sales portfolio as an associate real estate broker for the firm and to focus on service for his clients.  Real estate will remain a strong passion for him. He is committed to providing a level of service that is consistent with the Sotheby’s International Realty brand, and by stepping down as President/CEO, he can focus more of his energy on doing so.

Burke also noted that he is at a point in his life where he wants to spend more time with his family, especially his children. With only 4-5 years before they are off to college, he wants to be sure he can attend all of their school and life events, having as much of a presence as possible.

Dan Collins is excited to make some positive changes for the company, including building a more agent-centric business with a focus on training and development. “We want to create an environment where the agents won’t be competing with the brokers for sales,” Collins said. “We’re going to be personally working with each agent to help them be more successful, which is mutually beneficial for the company. I have also decided to promote Andrea Demoracski to Director of Operations. Her primary role will be overseeing the agent support team, and improving the overall agent experience by streamlining and developing processes to make things run more efficiently.” Dan is a former owner of D.A. Collins, a full service construction group headquartered in Upstate New York.

Current Vice President, Joanne DiMarco, will continue her role of growing the company revenue, with agent recruiting, training, development and day-to-day management support for the agents.

As part of the change, the company hosted a meeting and celebration for its staff, agents and clients. Featured guests Fran Santangelo, Senior Vice President of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates, LLC, and Robert Byrne, Vice President of Affiliates Services Northeast for Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, were on hand for the event.

Select Sotheby’s International Realty Hosting Pet Adoption Clinic

The Saratoga County Animal Shelter will be at Select Sotheby’s International Realty, located at 270 Broadway in Saratoga Springs, New York on Saturday, June 27, from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm for a pet adoption clinic.

The Saratoga County Animal Shelter will be at Select Sotheby’s International Realty this Saturday with adoptable dogs and cats from the shelter. The shelter is a modern facility which provides a space where animals can be made healthy and adoptable. The shelter promotes spay and neuter programs. There will be information available about volunteer opportunities and The Friends of the Saratoga County Animal Shelter.

The Friends is a non-profit, all volunteer organization dedicated to providing financial and volunteer support to the Saratoga County Animal Shelter for the care and well being of the animals that pass through the shelter. There will be a raffle and refreshments.

For additional information, please contact Jane Sanzen at 518-526-6056.

New owners plan McGregor Links as year-round destination

The new owners of McGregor Links Country Club are bringing in a brewing company, installing an indoor golf simulator and renovating some of the golf course to turn the Wilton, New York country club into a year-round destination.

“We’re really pushing for the year-round. We’re really pushing to bring the country club back to families,” said Blake Crocitto, one of the new owners.

Crocitto and his business partner, William Ahl, owner of Ontario Scrap Metal in Albany, will bring in Druthers Brewing Company to run the restaurant, with cross-country skiing, ice skating and snowshoeing as recreation options.

Druthers Brewing Company, a craft brewery and restaurant based in Saratoga, will move into McGregors by April. The brewery, which is also expanding into a new Albany location, will use the space as test-kitchen to develop new beers and to brew small batches for club members. Crocitto and Ahl will add air conditioning and heating to the restaurant and expand the bar area.

McGregor will remain a semi-private club. The restaurant will be open year-round to the public.

McGregor Links is the fifth most difficult golf course in the Albany area, according to the Albany Business Review‘s Book of Lists. The country club features an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, a swimming pool and clubhouse.

The club has more than 440 members. Crocitto believes he can add about 100 members over the course of 2015.

“It’s a lofty goal,” he said. “We think we can get here, even possibly by the end of this season.”

Part of the draw, he said, will be an indoor golf simulator that will bring in members during the winter months to work on their game or test new equipment. The simulator will be installed in late 2015, he said.

Members can expect to see course improvements during the summer, Crocitto said. Those improvements will including patching up the fairways and greens and removing some trees for more sunlight.

“It’s really an exciting time for McGregors,” he said. “My business partner and I feel this is the best course in the area when it comes to layout, so we won’t do too much to the layout. We’ll just make it better.”

Two manufacturers awarded tax breaks for Saratoga Springs expansions

The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency will award nearly $1.5 million in tax breaks to two manufacturing companies.

The tax breaks offset the cost for both PeroxyChem LLC and Greenfield Manufacturing Inc. to build manufacturing plants at the Grande Industrial Park in Saratoga Springs, New York. The industrial development agency approved tax incentive packages for the two companies Tuesday.

PeroxyChem, a Philadelphia chemical manufacturer, plans to build a 7,140-square-foot peroxide purification plant in Saratoga Springs, New York. PeroxyChem, which employs 600 globally, will receive nearly $894,000 in tax breaks over a period of eight years.

The move brings jobs and production from the company’s plant in Texas to New York. The company estimates the project will cost $23.1 million. More on that here:

Greenfield Manufacturing will receive $525,000 in tax incentives.

The specialty chemicals manufacturing company plans to construct a 33,000-square-foot factory in the Grande Industrial Park, where it leases a smaller factory. It will own the new building. More on that here:

New housing on the rebound in Wilton

WILTON>> New home starts in town increased for a second straight year in 2013 and were at their highest level since 2007, a major indicator of increased consumer confidence in the local economy.

The town issued 45 residential building permits last year compared to 34 in 2012 and 29 in 2011, the lowest figure in recent history.

The number is a far cry from the 202 permits issued in 2002 but still reflects a turnaround that is slowly gaining steam.

“We’re very encouraged,” said Charles Wait, Adirondack Trust Co. president, chairman and chief executive officer. “All of our loan activity increased substantially during the past year, including personal loans, mainly for new car purchases. Housing and car loans are a very good sign for the economy and this area.”

Loan applications are up for both new construction and existing homes, not just in Wilton, but Saratoga Springs and Milton, he said.

Some people are encouraged by the gradually improving economy. Others who put off purchases during the recession are now making needed expenditures. However, there’s also a third group, Wait said.

“Some of it is money on the sidelines coming in; people who had money, but were being cautious with it,” he said.

The 45 residential permits issued last year in Wilton were the most since the 74 issued in 2007. An average 33 permits were issued annually for the five-year period of 2008 through 2012.

Developer Bill Morris has begun clearing property for his 49-lot Craw Farm subdivision on Traver Road, just south of Wilton Town Hall.

“We’re cutting a road now and will start building a model home this spring,” Morris said. “We haven’t tried the market, but there’s definitely a lot of interest. That’s why we’re putting in infrastructure now.”

Meanwhile, commercial construction crept upward, too, last year in Wilton as 43 permits were issued, the highest figure since 2006 when 45 were approved. However, actual non-residential new construction totaled 32,625 square feet, the least since 2005 when a peak 214,357 square feet was built.

The town Planning Department’s 2013 Development Report says there are 629 approved, but still undeveloped residential building lots in Wilton, meaning the town is poised for considerable growth, depending on the area demand for new housing.

Some approved subdivisions have dozens of undeveloped lots each. They are: Park Place at Wilton (114 lots), Mill at Smith Bridge (60 lots), Craw Farm (49 lots), Burnham Hollow (38 lots) and Olson Farm (31 lots). Ridgeview Estates and Rolling Greens Executive Estates have 28 undeveloped lots each.

Also, Witt Construction owner John Witt has a proposed subdivision called Palmertown Ridge on 900 acres near the Mount McGregor Correctional Facility property. Homes would be priced from $500,000 to more than $1 million.

“I’d like to see the high-end market come back a little before we start that,” Witt said.

However, he’s busy elsewhere.

In Saratoga Springs, an “in-fill” project is currently in the design phase. Plans call for seven single-family condominium units on one lot, on Jumel Place.

Witt is also drawing up plans for 108 apartments and more than 50 townhomes at Northway exit 15, near the Marriott Hotel, a project he hopes to start work on this summer.

“Things have definitely picked up,” Witt said. “It’s not crazy busy, but consistently steady. Everybody is still very conscious of price. That’s going to drive a lot of the new construction. If interest rates stay low, things should be good the next few years.”

Saratoga National Bank & Trust Co. Chairman Raymond F. O’Conor said, “Saratoga County never saw the depths of the ‘Great Recession.’ We had a relatively strong base. Now, with an overall improved economy it was time for the housing sector to make a strong recovery.”

Star Exemption Deadline

Have you reapplied for your STAR exemption? All homeowners must do this by 12-31-13 or they will lose the exemption. Here is the link. http://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star13/default.htm. It only takes a few minutes.

New York voters approve casino gambling expansion

As many as seven new casinos, complete with roulette and craps tables, could be built in New York state.

NY voters approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday to expand casino gambling in the state, according to a report by The New York Times. An unofficial tally showed that about 57 percent of voters approved the measure.

The first four casinos will be constructed in upstate NY – in the Capital Region near Albany, in the Catskills and along the Southern Tier, a region that runs along the Pennsylvania border.

Here’s The Times report:

Earlier this year, the president and majority owner of Saratoga Casino and Raceway talkedabout the impact that the casino expansion could have on his business.