Getting the flavor of...
The beach bar that turns into a church
Every Sunday at a storied beach bar called the Flora-Bama, “fine churchgoing folk sit elbow-toelbow with sinners, lost souls, and a smattering of tourists,” said Matt Meltzer in Thrillist.com. The roadhouse, which sits square on the Florida- Alabama state line, has been hosting Methodist services for the past five years, drawing hundreds who sing along to hymns played by the house honky-tonk band. The bar is open during each Worship on the Water service, so you’re welcome to order a Bloody Mary before finding a seat. Often, the crowd spills out onto the beach, and occasionally the pastor performs baptisms in the waves. “As the service revs up, a familiar ker- CRACK can be heard as someone near the back opens his second beer of the morning.” At this laid-back church—where a cross hangs under a sign that reads “Bud Light Bikini Contest”—the faithful expect no fire-and-brimstone sermons. Their official motto: “It’s OK to not be OK.”
California’s serene Stinson Beach
A short weekend in Stinson Beach, Calif., “can feel like a weeklong getaway,” said David Taylor in The Washington Post. Life is that blissful in this tiny beachfront community an hour’s drive north of San Francisco. My wife and I had to book in advance to get a room in one of the two humble hotels, but the wait was worth it. “Even in winter, you can dip your toes in the ocean and soak up the Zen without setting foot in a yoga retreat.” The beach and the tiny town named for it sit amid protected redwood forests, and the community’s beauty has attracted Bay Area musicians since the 1970s, when Jerry Garcia was a resident. After an outdoor lunch at the Parkside Café, we set off on a 7-mile hiking trail, pausing often to take in the sun filtering through the blue-green canopy of a spruce-and-chaparral forest. “The view to the west went on forever. To the right, Bolinas Lagoon cut a blue slice just below the hills to the north.”
Last-minute travel deals
Tanning in Tanzania
The Tides Lodge & Villa on Tanzania’s Ushongo Beach is offering its Indian Ocean beachfront cottages for $250 a night, down from $400, with meals, beer, and wine included for two guests. Book by Feb. 15.
The Dorchester way
Several Dorchester Collection luxury hotels in Europe and the U.S. are offering third nights free in early 2017. A three-night stay in a suite at Coworth Park country house hotel outside London is roughly $1,400, down from $2,100. Book by Jan 31.
A Bahamas opening
The new Warwick Hotel on Paradise Island in the Bahamas is offering introductory rates through the end of January. Doubles at the adultsonly beachfront property start at $409, or 24 percent off spring’s rate.