SUMMER Calling
Grazia|April 2021
Let us help you escape amid social distancing
BARRY RODGERS

We’re all intrinsically tuned in to the fact that travel has drastically changed in the past year. In fact, many of us are currently in the throes of planning a summer holiday, with Covid restrictions, night curfews, and a fresh wave of the virus looming large. But, this summer could feel revelatory. The dramatic change in the trajectory and tenor of the news could give a sense that the pandemic is far from over, but that doesn’t mean that life should come to a standstill. The energy of the moment could be an opportunity to find solace in isolation.

Even as you start thinking about taking trips, either by yourself, or with close family or friends, we recommend three gorgeous summer retreats that will help you distance from the crowd.

OFF THE Grid

Tucked away in a cosy corner of the Kumaon region in Uttarakhand, Mary Budden Estate, which sits pretty inside the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, is what isolationist travel dreams are made of. The serene, five-acre estate is perched almost 8,000 ft above sea level. The restored eco-friendly heritage property (one of the five privately owned estates in the sanctuary) was bought in 1899 by Mary Budden herself, and converted into a school for local orphans. The estate lay derelict until nearly a hundred years later when Serena Chopra – a Delhi-based photographer and writer – purchased the property and turned it into her mountain home.

The property’s multiple sit-outs are spread across the vicinity with gorgeous views of the surrounding valleys. Enjoy a meal at one of these tranquil spots. You could either opt for the ‘Wild Cat Brunch’, which is a tribute to the majestic leopard that calls the Kumaon its home, comprising live grills and hot pots accompanied by heady mountain air and the thrill of a chance of sighting a leopard. Or, there’s always the nocturnal ‘Milky Way Dinner’, where you can enjoy a meal served under a constellation of stars and the cloudy arch of the Milky Way.

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