Hotels gone to the dogs; The post-Sandy Jersey Shore

Hotels gone to the dogs

Some of the country’s “toniest” hotels now cater to posh canines, said Rosemary McClure in the Los Angeles Times. Recently, I took my wheaten terrier to several such establishments in Southern California, and Darby enthusiastically embraced the role of food critic. At the Peninsula Beverly Hills, he enjoyed an 8-ounce New York strip steak and slurped a “martini” made with low-sodium beef bouillon before settling into a velvety dog bed near his bowl of Fiji water. At Carmel Valley Ranch in Carmel, “he was in canine heaven,” sated by chicken with organic brown rice as he “barked like a junkyard dog” at the deer and wild turkey roaming the hillsides. We both fell hard for the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara. We dog owners are handed the keys to private cottages, and Darby took time for a $120 massage. When he tried to get up after the masseuse finished, “he was so relaxed he could hardly stand."

The post-Sandy Jersey Shore

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Hurricane Sandy devastated the Jersey Shore last fall, “but her monster footprint is shrinking,” said Andrea Sachs in The Washington Post. I recently drove north along the coast from Long Beach Island to Sandy Hook’s Gateway National Recreation Area to assess the area’s recovery and was happy to see that the state’s “Stronger Than the Storm” motto rings true. “No doubt, the progress is fitful,” but Seaside Heights had a mile of new boardwalk, and its arcades were ready for action. Ortley Beach “needs a lot more cleanup time,” but most of Long Beach Island looked like new. Mantoloking was missing some fine mansions, and Long Branch’s beach had narrowed, but both Belmar and Point Pleasant looked fine. I grabbed a towel when I finally reached Sandy Hook and was glad to find its beach pristine. Kitesurfers sailed, families picnicked, and with each step I took across sand toward the ocean, the storm felt a bit more distant.

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