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Click picture to enlargeCruise on the Cloisterbelle - Sea Island ResortThe Garden Atrium - Cloister Spa - Sea Island ResortBeautiful Kohler Golf - American Club

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Click picture to enlargeJim and the "Gallery" at Whistling Straits - Kohler, WIBagpiper at Sunset on the 18th at Spanish Bay - Pebble BeachLone Cypress at Pebble Beach

This collection of Great Resorts are all located "seaside" and may be the most dramatic and spectacular group of resorts in the world. Scenery, golf, lodging, food and service combine to offer a truly amazing experience.

CHATHAM BARS INN, Chatham Massachusetts
Cape Cod is the body of land that extends from Massachusetts into the Atlantic like a beckoning finger.  Its year round population of 200,000+ explodes in the summer as Bostonians seek to escape the city and New Englanders flock to the beaches.  Among the most picturesque of Cape Cod towns, Chatham is home to the Chatham Bars Inn, a magical oceanfront resort that can serve as a romantic escape for two or a memorable vacation for the whole family. Built at the turn of the century and last renovated in 2009, the property sits perched on a bluff overlooking  Pleasant Bay and the Atlantic. Magnificent sunrises are worth the visit alone. Set on 25 exquisitely manicured acres, the Inn  offers luxury accommodations, excellent food, outstanding service and enough to do to keep even the little ones happy.

SEA ISLAND RESORT, Sea Island, Georgia
Sea Island is everything a great resort should be and more. Beautiful rooms, terrific food, exemplary service and wonderful golf make a visit here a "must" on any travel wish list. There is such a sense of tradition here and it is not just the marvelous pictures of celebrities, politicians and others from days gone by that line the hallways. It is the fact that there are so many families who have been coming here for generations. It is Tuesday night bingo where men wear jackets and ties and there's a waiting list for the 500 seats available! It is the sense that you are visiting friends. One visit and you will want to become part of the tradition.

Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond award winners. "Top Small Hotel" Zagat Survey. "75 Top Golf Resorts in North America" Golf Digest. Gold List, Conde Nast Traveler, "World's Best Places to Stay".

THE AMERICAN CLUB, Kohler, Wisconsin
The American Club is testament to what one man can do if he has the resources and a vision. Built in 1918 to house immigrant workers for the Kohler Company, the Tudor style building with slate roofs, dormers and red brick exterior, was considered an architectural marvel and an example of employer benevolence at the time. Many changes occurred over the years and in the early 40's the property changed from a worker's dormitory to a public inn.

Flash forward to the late 70's when Herbert V. Kohler, Jr., grandson of the founder of Kohler Co., and the firm's current chairman and president decided to convert the aging property to a world class resort. What followed is a remarkable story. The Club was transformed into a luxury resort, The Black Run Golf course opened in 1988 and a short 10 years later hosted the Women's U.S. Open, the Whistling Straits course opened in 1998 and incredibly hosted the PGA Championship only 6 years later. A world class spa was added in 2000 and a magnificent wildlife preserve and private club in 2002.

The setting here is reminiscent of the great courses in Scotland and Ireland which makes sense because Kohler also owns St. Andrews in Scotland.

If you are an outdoors man, there may be no better resort than this. Spectacular golf, world class fishing (we saw huge salmon jumping in the river while we played golf), terrific hunting (they'll even cook what you shoot at the River Wildlife restaurant) and if your traveling companion prefers the indoors, the Spa is worth the trip alone.

This is an American gem and worth every minute of the trek to Wisconsin.

Forbes Four Star Award. "Best Resort Golf Courses"-Golfweek. 4 courses in Top 100. Gold List-World's Best Places To Stay"-Conde Nast. "World's Best Hotels" Travel & Leisure.

THE BREAKERS. Palm Beach, Florida
I had not been to The Breakers in some time, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the “Grande Dame” in the midst of a $250 million on-going renovation blending its old world style with the modern world. The legendary Breakers Hotel, located on 140 oceanfront acres on Palm Beach Island, was first built in 1896, burned down twice in the early 1900’s and today is one of the few “grand” hotels left in the country. The opulent Mediterranean style building is nothing short of spectacular and was modeled after the Villa Medici in Rome. The 1000 ft. red brick driveway lined with tall palms and centered with lush gardens may be the most dramatic entryway of any hotel….anywhere. Seventy-five artisans were brought from Italy to complete the magnificent paintings on the ceilings of the 200-foot long main lobby and first-floor public rooms. They are worth the trip alone. Manicured gardens, intimate grottos and dramatic fountains dot the property and surround the guest with a sense of well-being.

Many of the best resorts in the country are family owned, resulting in an attention to detail and service not found elsewhere. Often these places have lots of dedicated long-term employees who feel that what they do is more than just a job…they feel a part of something. Such is the case with The Breakers which has been owned by the same family since it was first built. The enthusiasm and genuineness of the staff is evident throughout the property.

The Breakers is perfect for a quiet getaway for two or as a place to take the entire family. Recognizing that traveling with the family is more important than ever, The Breakers has built a wonderful Children's Program, rivaled by very few.
AAA Five Diamond Award.

THE LODGE AT PEBBLE BEACH, Pebble Beach, California
Set high above the crashing waves, overlooking Carmel Bay, Pebble Beach Resorts is world renowned for its golf courses which host the annual AT&T Pro-Am PGA event and has been host to 4 U.S. Open tournaments with another scheduled for 2010. Golfers the world over are familiar with this amazing setting.
Playing these courses is a golfer’s Nirvana and something every duffer should experience. But the breathtaking scenery, excellent food and non-golf activities make it a worthwhile trip even if you have never picked up a stick. Just sitting in one of the fireplace rooms overlooking the Bay....with a good book and visions of delicious meals ahead is worth the visit alone.

Conde Nast Traveler ranks The Lodge #4 in its “Top 50 U.S. Resorts” and Travel & Leisure names the Lodge to its “World’s Best Hotels” list. Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond award recipient. Ranked #3 of Golf Digest “Top 75 U.S. Golf Resorts.”

LODGE AT TORREY PINES, La Jolla, California
Set on 6 1/2 acres beside the famed Torrey Pines Golf Course and overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Lodge at Torrey Pines is one of the most dramatic settings for a resort in the country. The beautiful Torrey Pines State Park with its beaches, rugged cliffs and forests of rare Torrey pine is just steps away.

The Lodge is a AAA Five Diamond award winner, one of the Top 500 Hotels in the World, Travel + Leisure Magazine, one of the Top 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America according to Golf Digest and Forbes Four Star Spa award winner.

The Lodge hosts the Farmer's Insurance Open each January and was the site of the 2008 U.S. Open, the last major Tiger Woods won.

THE RITZ CARLTON, Naples, Florida
Two things I truly enjoy on vacation are a beach on which to take long walks and beautiful sunsets. The gorgeous Ritz Carlton in Naples, Florida has both. Set on 20 beachfront acres overlooking the Gulf of Mexico with 3 miles of white sandy beach, we enjoyed one spectacular sunset from our room balcony and another as we sat on the beach with a bottle of wine. Doesn’t get much better.

Located just north of the charming, historic town of Naples (worth the visit alone) the resort has all the amenities and attributes that luxury travelers have come to expect and appreciate from a Ritz Carlton. The service is impeccable, the rooms wonderfully decorated, the food is excellent and there is lots to do, including a terrific children’s program.

Outside the lush grounds are immaculately maintained with stunning gardens, a natural mangrove and soothing fountains. Inside there is a collection of over 250 pieces of museum quality art and antiques amid elegant furniture, Persian rugs and crystal chandeliers.

The resort has been awarded the Forbes Five Star and the AAA Five Diamond designations. Conde Nast lists it as one of its “Reader’s Choice, Top 100 Hotels in the U.S.”, one of the “Top 50 Resort Spas in the U.S.” and a member of its “Gold List”. Travel & Leisure magazine named the resort to its “Top 100 Hotels in the U.S. and Canada” and to its “Top 25 Hotels Spas in the U.S. and Canada”.

THE SANCTUARY, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Perched majestically on the shores of Kiawah Island overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, The Sanctuary is a blend of modern convenience and Southern charm. The design goal was to create a seaside mansion that seemed as if it had been there for hundreds of years, passed from one homeowner to another. 50 foot live oaks were brought in to give a centuries old look. Walnut flooring was set on sleepers so the floor would "give" and creak. The public rooms have soaring ceilings and sweeping staircases...one could almost envision Scarlett O'Hara descending from above. The decor manages to be elegant and sophisticated without being stuffy.

This resort opened in 2004, but it is already taking its place among the country’s greats. Most come for the golf, but miles of sandy beach are ideal for leisurely strolls, the Spa is world class, the fishing terrific, the tennis facilities top notch and the dining exquisite.

AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star recipient. #38, “Top 100 Golf Courses in the US”, Golf Digest. #56, “Top 100 Golf Couses in the World”, Golf Magazine. “Top 10 North American Resorts”, Conde Nast Traveler. Ranked #14 of Golf Digest “Top 75 U.S. Golf Resort.

WEQUASSETT RESORT and GOLF CLUB, Chatham, Massachusetts
Located on “The Cape” (Cape Cod) on 27 exquisitely landscaped acres overlooking Pleasant Bay, Wequassett (pronounced “we cwoss it”) is a privately owned and operated resort that is a mecca for families and couples seeking luxurious accommodations, great food and lots to do. It features four restaurants, two pools, two beaches, boating and water sports, four Har Tru tennis courts and eighteen holes of championship golf. Built in 1944 and renovated in 2010, the resort has been awarded Four Diamonds by AAA and Four Stars by Forbes.

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Getting There

Chatham Bars Inn
Boston is the closest major airport and is about a two hour drive from Chatham. There are also flights from Boston to Hyannis on the Cape that take about 35 minutes. Drive times from other cities:
Providence:2 hours
Hartford:3 hours 15 minutes
New York City:5 hours 30 minutes

Sea Island Resort

The resort is located off the coast of Georgia about midway between Savannah and Jacksonville, the two closest major airports. It is about a 1 1/2 hour drive from either.
Drive times from other cities;
Charleston, SC: 3 1/2 hours
Atlanta: 5 hours
Charlotte: 5 hours, 15 minutes

The American Club
The American Club is located on the banks of Lake Michigan, about an hour north of Milwaukee. By air it is accessible from Milwaukee and Green Bay airports, although we found it easier to fly into Chicago and drive up. The drive from Chicago is 2 hours and 45 minutes, about an hour and 45 minutes longer than from Milwaukee, but there are more flights into Chicago, the rates are usually less and you will need a car anyway.

The Breakers
Unless you live in Florida and can drive, the Resort is located 7 miles from Palm Beach International Airport, 42 miles from Ft. Lauderdale International Airport and 72 miles from Miami International Airport.

The Lodge at Pebble Beach
The Lodge is located on the California coast about 2 hours from San Francisco, the closest major airport. Flights also arrive at Monterey Airport from major airports, 20 minutes away.
Drive times from other cities:
Los Angeles: 5 hours 15 minutes

The Lodge at Torrey Pines
The Lodge is accessible by air from anywhere in the U.S. through San Diego airport, just twenty minutes away.
Drive times from other cities:
Los Angeles: 1 hour 45 minutes

The Ritz Carlton
Naples is about a 2 hour drive from the East Coast cities of Ft. Lauderdale and Miami and from Sarasota to the north. It is a 3 hour 40 minute drive from Orlando. Closest airport is Ft. Myers, about a half hour away.

The Sanctuary
The Sanctuary is located on Kiawah Island, about ½ hour from Charleston, SC and the largest area airport. Charleston airport is accessible from airports around the country.
Drive times from other cities:
Columbia: 2 ½ hours
Savannah: 2 ½ hours
Charlotte: 4 hours
Atlanta: 5 ½ hours

Boston is the closest major airport and is about a two hour drive from Chatham. There are also flights from Boston to Hyannis on the Cape that take about 35 minutes. Drive times from other cities:
Providence:2 hours
Hartford:3 hours 15 minutes
New York City:5 hours 30 minutes

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Getting Around

With the exception of The Breakers and the Ritz Carlton, our “Great Resorts” are somewhat isolated in location or at least some distance from a major city. You will need a car to reach all of them.

While you may want a car to explore the area while at The Breakers, it is not necessary. Everything you may want is on the property and even where there is some distance involved, there are convenient shuttle buses to take you where you want. If you are flying in to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, it may be less expensive to rent a car than pay for a car to the resort.

For the Ritz Carlton, the drive from the airport is about a half hour and the surrounding Naples area is worth visiting, so we suggest renting a car.

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When To Go

Chatham Bars Inn
The summer months are very busy as you would expect and the Spring and Fall offer great weather and fewer people.

Sea Island Resort
Temperatures average about 67 degrees throughout the year with January averaging about 42 degrees and August 91 degrees. Rainfall averages about 54" per year, with July-September with the most precipitation averaging 6". Ideal months: April-June and October-November.

The American Club
Certainly the first time I went, I would be sure to go during golf season, that is an experience you wouldn't want to miss. The winter has its own charm and while the weather can be tough at times, there is much to do that could make for an enjoyable weekend.

The Breakers
Close to the Gulfstream, The Breakers enjoys a year round sub-tropical climate with temperatures in the 75-80 degree range with gentle breezes.

The Lodge at Pebble Beach
With its coastal California location, temperatures are pretty consistent and moderate throughout the year, in the 60’s, spiking to the low 70’s in the summer. January-March is considered the rainy season with rainfall averaging 3-4” per month. My last trip there was in January and we enjoyed rain-free weather in the low 70’s.

Lodge at Torrey Pines
With little rainfall and consistent year round temperatures, the San Diego area is ideal to visit at any time of the year.

The Ritz Carlton
Tropical temperatures and cool breezes throughout the year, make Naples an ideal destination just about any time.

The Sanctuary
Temperatures tend to be in the 60’s in the Winter months and the mid-80’s June-September. Rainfall is highest June-September, averaging 6” per month. April/May and October are the perfect months.

Wequassett is a seasonal resort, open May-November

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