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.

The Point Resort – Oh My!

At this time of year as days get longer and the thermometer climbs higher, one might imagine the perfect day would include planing across an immense sapphire hued lake in a classic wooden boat. My recent visit to The Point Resort on Upper Saranac Lake provided several leisurely afternoons cocooned in a cozy corner of a classic mahogany Hacker-Craft. The timeless design of this traditional boat is indicative of the panache and polish of The Point Resort.

Speeding across Saranac Lake in this classic beauty!

The Point, in Upper New York State, was designed and built for William Avery Rockefeller, a nephew of the tycoon. Situated amidst a pine forest on a peninsula jutting into Saranac Lake, it’s in the distinctive style of a private luxurious Adirondack Great Camp. In the early 19th Century, wealthy industrialists, the well-known families of this era, Vanderbilt’s and Astor’s, Guggenheim’s and Rockefeller’s built their summer Camps tucked into the tree line along this scenic lake. Log cabin mansions built of native timber and stone replaced their city mansions, truly ‘roughing’ it in rustic chic luxurious wilderness camps. Families would arrive to retreat for the summer and many still do to this day. The great Adirondack Park is a summer and winter paradise, a six-million-acre wilderness spreading from upstate New York all the way into Canada, a vast forest dotted with stunning lakes.

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The Point Resort Outdoor dining

The Point Resort Guest House

If you lack a perfectly outfitted Adirondack Camp, the only Forbes five star resort in upstate New York, is the picture-perfect solution for a decadent countryside escape. The ruggedly luxurious – this is an up-country resort in which two differing descriptions can be used to describe the eleven-room resort – the rooms are spread out between the main log-cabin mansion and several stand-alone cottages. Each room has a massive stone fireplace, lake views, hand built beds and private luxurious baths. Decorated with many original to the home, fine antiques, rustic log and twig furniture, 19th century oil paintings, rich fabrics, bookshelves stacked with reading material, honestly every comfort has been carefully defined. A fully inclusive resort, one should diet before arrival as No is not in the staff vocabulary. Fully stocked bars are scattered across the property, in the great room, along a trail, at the splendid boathouse, near the bonfire pit, tucked into a massive log… one will not die of thirst.

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The Point Resort- my cozy bedroom!

Enticed yet? We haven’t even discussed the gorgeous lake, and the beautiful mahogany boats for your pleasure. Several run about classic wooden electric boats with canopies are for guest use. Knowing my cell phone had limited coverage and not trusting my complete lack of direction on land, let alone a lake, I opted for lake cruising only with Captain Dion in the 12 passenger great power boat. Plus the ice bucket brimming with Champers would certainly have created additional navigation difficulty. Captain Dion is the local expert, pointing out the old guard Great Camps of the Robber Barons, tucked into the pine coves, you might actually just view the handsome ‘garages’ used to house the summer boats.

The Point Resort- Guest Boating!

Although The Point is a summer and winter resort, due to the size of the lake, you are unlikely to encounter much traffic. Summer activities swim, fish, canoe, and water ski, or merely explore the lake in one of the resort’s swanky teak electric inboard boats. In winter, the rates include a variety of activities such as curling on the lake with a full ice bar and bonfire, outdoor snow barbecues each Saturday.

The Point Resort Dining Room

There is a genteel casualness at The Resort – in that doors don’t have locks and there is a no-tipping policy; however, refined customs are observed, as in the grand dinner served at eight pm, cocktails always precede, of course; change attire or not for the after dinner bon-fire up on the hill with a lake view. True to my must do everything when I perform site inspections, lit by moonlight, I traversed the rocky path up the hill to a roaring fire after dinner for S’mores. You might imagine a Gatsbyesque atmosphere. We, of course, didn’t refuse cognac, made successful attempts with the S’mores, but declined the baskets of truffle fries and truffle popcorn…well, maybe one nibble…but really – unfailing hospitality and beyond generous meals, it never ends here! The ever-gracious staff is extremely willing to please and is constantly offering drinks and endless delicious snacks before you even ask – they are mind readers!

On most nights, a jacket and tie is suggested attire for men for dinner. Ladies, glam up, you won’t be the only one who prefers to dress for dinner! On Saturday and Wednesday nights, regardless of the season, formal attire is de rigueur, black tie!

There isn’t a gym on property, however if you ask for workout equipment, it will be delivered to your room – for a buy out, consider using a room for a gym, hospitality, is their specialty. Drop in to the kitchen to see what Chef Loic Leperlier and staff are preparing, no problem – want a cooking class, of course! Take a well-marked hike through the fragrant pine forest and find a box of chilled water along the trail, discover Camp David, a small cottage on property and nosh on the cookies and fruit left for your arrival. Slip out of your room and multiple snacks are delivered, just in case you didn’t fill up at the barbecue lunch. Can’t say enough about the food, simply delicious, innovative cuisine.

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The Point Resort Boat House Suite

My favorite room is The Boat House, it is an airy, open hall above the boats and water where a lofty, beamed ceiling vaults over a story-book canopied bed in the very center of the room. Wide porches front the suite with swaying hammocks on each end for afternoon snoozing!

I’m sure none of my clients enjoyed this luxurious lifestyle in 1933, relish it now, at The Point Resort! A five hour drive from Manhattan, but only a 60 minute puddle jumper flight from Boston!

An incomparable Resort, quite decadent, just like Summer Camp should be!

A Great Camp along Saranac lake

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Cementerio General – Mérida

As we drove toward Plaza Mayor, we slowly passed through a vast cemetery, the oldest Cementerio General. If you like moseying through old cemeteries, this one is a particular treasure. It is the largest and oldest in Mérida and is graced with a few spectacular headstones and mausoleums of wealthy Hacienda owners, historic figures, groups of musicians, hemp workers, a complete gamut of the locals, albeit deceased locals.

Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustre, including Governor Felipe Carillo Puerte – Cementerio General – Mérida

One intriguing surprise was the grave of an intrepid American woman, Alma Reed, who had a love affair with Governor Felipe Carillo Puerte. He, a Socialist, doing much to reform and improve the lives of the Mayan hemp workers, was assassinated with some of his brothers and Socialist colleagues. At a corner in the Cemetario is the Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustre  (rotunda of illustrious men), where you will find his remains. You will also see the wall against which he was executed by a firing squad in 1924, a bright yellow monument in the cemetery. Alma was a writer for several New York and San Francisco newspapers and was in San Francisco buying her wedding dress when the Governor was assassinated. Crushed by the death of her lover and fiancé, she asked to be buried near him. Her grave is across the street from his, lovers still separated by a wide boulevard. Her story is quite unique, I encourage you to  find her history online or in the several books published about her life. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alma_Reed

American Alma Reed Headstone – Cementerio General – Mérida

Rosa Benet, gazing at her husband, Alvaro Medina Rodriguez, Cementerio General – Mérida

Rosa Benet, gazing at her husband, Alvaro Medina Rodriguez, Cementerio General – Mérida 1905

Humberto, my guide, led me to another remarkable mausoleum, a shrine to a wealthy Hacienda patron. An enormous full size bed, layered with rippled linen sheets of hand carved marble, is elevated about five feet off the ground. Standing alongside the bed is a elegantly dressed woman, Rosa Benet, gently lifting the corner of the sheet to gaze at her husband, Alvaro Medina Rodriguez, who passed away while she was at a gala. The story is that he had persuaded her to go and enjoy the evening, she protested, but went and missed saying a last goodbye to her beloved husband. The work was an Imitation of the work of Mexican sculptor Almo Strenta.

The Cementerio mimics community life, the wide main avenue is lined by the houses/mausoleums of the wealthy, the casta divina families. Many historic people are buried here, and its memorials are built in Greek, Gothic or French neoclassic styles, often from stone or granite brought from Europe by local wealthy families. They range from classically beautiful to over-the-top displays of wealth, and deeper in the back you will find simple but colorful houses of the dead, all filled with restos – remains.

If you walk deeper into the Cementerio, under the enormous shade trees, you will also discover more modest houses for the deceased, small tomb-houses that seemed to be devoted to just one person. On closer inspection, you will see stacks of osarios, boxes full of bones. The bones of generations, buried one on top of the other. In a family-owned plot, the most recent body will be buried in the ground. That usually involves digging up the old bones from previous generations and adding new family members. The little houses, built by the living for the dead relatives, are kept for visiting purposes. Simple replicas of houses, some are very colorfully painted, others remain white, bleached by years of blazing sun; some have windows or doors and are topped by angels or crosses and inside each house, may be a small memento of the deceased. The living place these trinkets to honor their ancestors, you may see statues of saints, candles or bits of flowers and plants.

Every year, the Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is celebrated Oct. 31 through Nov. 2 throughout Mexico, in the Yucatán it’s called Hanal Pixán, Mayan for “food of the souls.”

Once, historically held at the beginning of summer, Day of the Dead was moved to coincide with the Christian festivals following the Spanish colonization of Mexico in the 16th Century. On Oct. 31, All Hallows Eve, children make a children’s altar to invite the angelitos – children to visit. Nov. 1 is All Saints Day, and the adult spirits are invoked and invited. Nov. 2 is All Souls Day, when families go to the cemetery to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives. The holiday and celebration has evolved over the years and is a complex celebration of the deceased relatives and a celebration of life.

Cementerio General – Mérida

Look skyward to view the many cherubs or angels, many missing wings or body parts, spirits guarding the families from above.