Archive for the 'Travel Insider' Category

Portugal’s Best Beaches

In a country known for it’s beaches it’s hard to choose just a few. But in the spirit of summer, my family and I have put together our recommendations for Portugal’s best oceanside retreats.

Guincho Beach

Guincho This gorgeous beach just north of Lisbon is our sentimental family favorite because it’s where both my husband and children grew up. The North Atlantic water is freezing cold and the shore is wild and rocky. But it has the best windsurfing in Europe and is the epitome of raw beauty. Because of the wind, you have to pick your Guincho outings carefully. But if you wait for a calm spell, you will be richly rewarded.

Head to nearby Adraga Beach for lunch at the Restaurante da Adraga. Stay in Sintra

Praia de S. Joao Caparica

Praia de S. Joao  Known in English as St. John’s Beach, this is an area of over ten different beaches just across the Red Bridge that connects Lisbon to Caparica. The beaches stretch on forever and each has a lively bar scene. But because they are so close to Lisbon they are also very crowded on the weekends. So enjoy these gems during the week.  The spectacular beaches of Alfarim are less than 20 kilometers away.


Comporta  One hour south of Lisbon is a hidden paradise that is starting to get attention outside of Portugal, including a glowing article in the New York Times. This is where we shot most of our Spring/Summer 2011 catalogs. In addition to stunning beaches, the area is known for its distinctive thatched cottages.

Quinto do Lago

Quinto do Lago and Ancao These are our two favorite beaches on the Algarve, Portugal’s southern coast. It’s easy to see why the entire area is a holiday destination for Europeans. The beaches on Ria Formosa Nature Park are also a must see. 

I hope you get a chance to enjoy your favorite beaches this summer.  To help get you in the spirit, selected boy’s and girl’s swimsuits are now on sale.

Have a relaxing summer filled with happy family memories.



Travel Insider: Shaw’s Crab House in Chicago

I was in Chicago last week to attend a conference and visit my parents. I love the city–especially the architecture and the way the buildings wrap around the edge of  Lake Michigan.

While I was there, my brother Gordon introduced me to Shaw’s Crab House.  A local favorite, Shaw’s feels like a combination of a speakeasy and a classic seafood eatery. I loved it so much that I went twice in three nights.

The extensive menu includes everything from sushi to Lake Michigan smelt to lobster bisque. But everyone in my party enjoyed the same delicious meal: oysters for a starter (ask your server for recommendations as the offerings change daily) followed by a jumbo lump crab cake. Made from blue crab meat picked exclusively by Shaw’s, it’s as perfect a crab cake (hardly any breading) as I’ve ever tasted.

Dessert was a shared piece of chocolate layer cake enjoyed to the groove of a Chicago blue’s band. Perfection!

Papo d’Anjo Models: Meet Ritinha

Now that my own children are too old to model for Papo d’Anjo, I’ve loved getting to know a new group of kids. One of my favorite models is Ritinha, an adorable 7-year-old from Monte Estoril, a coastal suburb of Lisbon.

Ritinha isn’t a professional model. She is the daughter of a good friend of Sara Alves, who manages our Lisbon store and who insisted that Ritinha go to one of our casting calls. “It’s very important to carefully choose the brands she represents,” says her mother, Rita. “We don’t want modeling to be a hard job for her.”

Like many girls her age, Ritinha is a fan of “Hannah Montana” and “Phineas and Pherb.”  She loves to dance, play with friends, and go body boarding.

Living in Portugal, she can take that board to her pick of beautiful beaches. She and her family particularly enjoy Guincho Beach, which is near their home. Other favorites include Praia Grande, and Malhao on the Alentenjo Coast.

Ritinha also loves special outings to Badoca Safari Park, an African-themed amusement and adventure park. She and her brother Antonio also enjoy the Pavilhao do Conhecimento, an interactive science and technology museum in Lisbon. The Museu do Brinquedo, or toy museum, in Sintra rounds out her list.

Casa da Agrela

For special family holidays, Ritinha and her family drive to the northwest corner of Portugal to explore the Peneda-Geres National Park. They stay at the charming Casa da Agrela and recommend the Restaurante A Carvalheira in nearby Ponte de Lima.

Casa da Agrela

Travel Insider: Comporta

Most of the photography for the Spring 2011 collection was shot in the magical beach resort of Comporta. Located just an hour south of Lisbon on the Atlantic coast, this summer holiday favorite of Portuguese families is set between sand dunes, pine trees, and rice fields and is mostly made up of a protected nature preserve .

My family adores Comporta and we make a point of spending time there every summer. Many families stay with friends or rent houses, but a beautiful hotel is the CasasNaAreia. The hotel melds the classic thatched fishermen’s cottages that the region is known for with cutting edge design.

Interested in seeing more? For a beautiful slide show, take a peek at the New York Times story on the region.

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