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Cool Vacations to Escape the Heat

As Texans, of course we can take the heat, but when you want to slip into a cool change of pace, place and temperature, we’ve got some great escapes:

San Francisco, California

Stay: The Laurel Inn, a Joie de Vivre Hotel

Centrally situated in Pacific Heights, with 18 spacious, studio-styled rooms, the boutique hotel is far enough away from the bustle of San Francisco, yet close to all the iconic attractions: Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marina District and Pier 39.

The dining options are plentiful of course, but the room’s kitchenettes give you the option to dine in. Though the rooms are smartly styled, the vibe is easy living with at home touches like fresh baked cookies and lemonade every afternoon. You can even bring the family pet.

Play: The Historic Presidio

Monthly Art Hikes and short-term exhibitions offer sculptures and installations among the botanicals. Don’t miss the largest North American collection of works by renowned British artist Andy Goldsworthy. Among them are his famous installations: Spire, Wood Line, Earth Wall and Free Fall. The park also houses the Walt Disney Museum’s archeology lab.

Eat: Foreign Cinema

It’s a can’t be beat combination – small plates of Mediterranean dishes and courtyard film screenings. Brunch highlights include a dozen oyster choices, shellfish and the Weekend Picnic Menu with delectable offerings including baked lavender goat cheese and coastal strawberry baguette toasts, local Monterey calamari and Croque Madam sandwiches. Enjoy the extensive beverage menu of aperitifs, beer, cider, cocktails and wine.

Lexington, Massachusetts

Stay: Inn at Hastings Park

Opened in 2014, this luxury inn, encompasses three, renovated, historic buildings built in the 1800’s enveloping you in a setting that is distinctively New England. The charming exterior invites you to linger, and the 22 contemporary rooms are so tastefully designed you might just want to stay in. Details are not overlooked with gas fireplaces, notable furnishings and superior service. So special, the family-owned and operated Inn has been widely-recognized including a World’s Best Distinction Award from Travel + Leisure and the AAA Four Diamond Award. While there, indulge in the award-winning on-site restaurant Artistry on the Green.

Play: Walden Pond State Reservation

A history buff’s dream, there is much to explore locally but, when you’re ready to get outdoors, make the quick 15-mile trip to Boston. Near Lincoln and Concord is the historic landmark, Walden Pond State Reservation. Set on 335-acres of protected open space, the lush, natural environment allows visitors to explore where American author, poet and transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau lived from 1845-1847 an experience that led to the book Walden. Summer months are ideal for swimming, boating, fishing and hiking.

Eat: Lexx

Cozy and sophisticated, local favorite Lexx has something for everyone. Known for exceptional classics like apple-laced pork Osso Busco, and Moroccan Stew, they also showcase Market Fish options like Semolina encrusted Chatham flounder with whole wheat couscous and arugula salad and grilled striped bass with fiddleheads, orange scented rice and pea shoots. Enjoy a variety of regional craft beers like Brooklyn Chocolate Stout. Sunday Brunch features three different benedicts including the New England topped with crabmeat and asparagus.

Helsinki, Finland

Stay: Klaus K Hotel

The first design hotel in the city, Klaus K Hotel is a member of Design Hotels™ and distinctively draws inspiration from Finland’s 19th century, national poetry epic, Kalevala. The stories of folklore and mythology and themes of passion, envy, mystique and desire are noted in small details throughout the hotel’s interior.

Distinctive Designer Rooms are the unique collaborations of prestigious Finnish contemporary artists. Sky Balcony Rooms high above the city afford spectacular private balcony views and elevated bedrooms.

Located in the heart of the capitol city, there is easy walking access to shops, markets, restaurants, galleries, museums and the harbor.

Play: Vallisaari Island

Yield to the call of the sea and immerse yourself in the archipelago. Adjacent to the historic Suomenlinna Sea Fortress and opened to the public just a year ago, Vallisarri Island was formerly a military installation and is home to unspoiled nature and numerous endangered species. There are beautiful views of Helsinki and trails to enjoy. Water bus services are available and during the summer visitors can enjoy the café and tour guide services.

Eat: Ravintola Aino

This Finnish restaurant on the Esplanade is centered on modern cooking and fresh local ingredients. The intimate bistro menu includes impressively plated dishes like Helsinki Dry Gin-salmon with pickled fennel and cucumber, Cauliflower soup with vegetable mosaic and artistic desserts. All menu items have recommended wine pairings. Seating options available inside and outside.

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