At the time of writing, widespread international travel seems like a real possibility. And in a recent member survey, I was extremely encouraged to see how many of you were contemplating travel not just to Italy, France and Great Britain but also to Asia and the Pacific. More than anything, I think, it was the reopening of Australia to foreign travelers on February 21 that convinced me that the worst of the pandemic may be over. Since then, I have been busy planning potential itineraries around the globe.
Looking back, one of the few positives to emerge from the past two years of restrictions and frustrations has been my reacquaintance with parts of the United States that I had not visited in years. This Hideaway Report is all-American and includes an account of a relaxing trip along the Gulf Coast of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. The main story this month, however, comes from the Napa Valley, where the opening of a new Four Seasons resort in Calistoga provided a perfect excuse to head back to Northern California. Not that we really need an excuse to return to one of our favorite parts of the country. On the trip, we also took the opportunity to see the restoration of the fire-ravaged Meadowood resort in St. Helena and to revisit a longtime favorite hideaway, Milliken Creek Inn, situated a five-minute drive from downtown Napa.
It has been nearly 15 years since Hal Oates joined us as our Wine Concierge, and this issue contains a description of three of his favorite Napa wineries, at which his company, Porthos, can arrange exclusive tours and tastings. So perhaps this is an appropriate moment to raise a glass of Napa Cabernet to the prospect of a world open once again to inquisitive and passionate travelers.