Perfectly Planned Travel for Bespoke Holidays

Antonia (Toni) Dosik’s memories of her first foreign trip include sandy beaches and seashells. In reality, Mexico was hardly a protracted voyage for a six-year-old kid from Los Angeles, but it was the kickoff for Toni’s travel-centric life.

Antonia (Toni) Dosik

At 13, Toni began plotting her return to Europe while on a vacation that included visits to England, France, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland. During college, she took advantage of a study abroad program to improve her French language skills, and to visit Switzerland and southern France. Toni spent a university year in England before racking up extensive travel miles to Provence, Paris, Italy, Serbia, Slovenia and Portugal.

Dorset England via Perfectly Planned Travel

Best in Britain was born in 1987, a small business that sprouted from friends and family asking Toni for help with their travel planning. Toni’s travel bug married her planning talent. She tells me that Best in Britain planned more than 40 trips to England and Wales for people who wanted unique and personalized vacations. Starting with a client’s response to her detailed questionnaire on their interests and individual needs, Toni has planned holidays with a focus on gardens, maritime history and even mazes.

Toni says that for clients “I planned travel for them just like I plan travel for myself.”

Hour B&B Les Acanthes Toni Dosik

Now, with Perfectly Planned Travel, Toni is concentrating her efforts on the undiscovered or under-discovered in regions that she knows best: England, Portugal, Paris and Provence.


“I am drawn to Portugal and Provence by the gorgeous scenery, the warm, friendly people, and the charming small towns and villages.  England is also about gorgeous scenery and charming villages and small market towns.  Despite its reputation, England has some of the warmest and friendliest people on earth!  Paris, of course, is quintessentially French, somewhat challenging, as cities can be, but beautiful and fascinating.”

Toni limits her number of clients, so every Perfectly Planned Travel trip is individualized and customized – there is no typical itinerary.  Toni has planned many trips for first-time travelers who are reassured by her attention to detail. In equal measure, Toni proposes excursions for people who want to experience something different in a place they have already visited.

What was your most challenging trip to date?

Planning a family vacation for 17 adults and two small children in Provence.  They wanted a house that was big enough for everyone to have their own bedroom and bathroom and yet affordable.  Lots of different needs and travel styles. They all had a great time!

Street in Alentejo #Portugal Perfectly Planned Travel

What would you say clients must discover in England, Portugal, and Provence?

  1. The lovely countryside of the Alentejo region of Portugal, with its sophisticated wineries, olive oil producers, and cork trees. Also, charming towns, villages and friendly people.
  1. The market towns of England. Most people know London and maybe the Cotswolds or the Lake Country. However, some of the most interesting places to visit in England are towns that have had markets since the medieval period, like Woodford in Suffolk or Calderdale in West Yorkshire.
  1. The area of Provence known as the Vaucluse with its perched villages, long and complicated history, and its truly breathtaking vistas of vineyards, lavender fields, and olive trees.

What would you tell your clients to taste in England, Portugal, and Provence?

In Portugal and Provence, drink wine.  Portugal produces some of the best wine in the world, but it is often not available outside of Portugal.  Not just the vinho verde (young white wine), but the delicious reds like those from Herdade Do Esporao in the Alentejo.

Same for Provence.  Explore the wine. Côtes du Rhone, Châteauneuf du Pape, and the dry rosés.  One of the best ways to do this – and eat the delicious food as well – is to have your main meal of the day at lunch, so you can drink the wine, walk around the local village or town, and still drive home safely.

England has a very undeserved reputation as a place without decent food. Ever since it joined the EU, the food in England has become more and more varied and sophisticated.  Including “pub food” that is way more than fish and chips or toad in a hole.  I had some of the best meals of my life at the Museum Inn in Farnham, Dorset, population 111!

What would you suggest for relaxation?

This is truly idiosyncratic.  I love to shop and find it both relaxing and stimulating.  Other people like to fish, or walk on the beach, or sit in a café or see a concert.  That’s where my Questionnaire comes in – it helps me to get a sense of what people like to do, what they want from their trip, their “style” of travel and how I can help them plan a perfect trip.

Are you ready for a Perfectly Planned Travel holiday?

Get in touch with Antonia (Toni) Dosik:




Disclosure: Perfectly Planned Travel is a Ginger and Nutmeg sponsor

Image Credits: All photos were provided by and published with the permission of Perfectly Planned Travel


Pappy and Harriet’s Rocks Pioneertown

Fault lines, droughts and dust storms are the realities of the California desert where nothing can be too permanent or too real.

Pioneertown may look like a Wild West frontier town from gold rush days, but it in reality it was created in 1946 for western-themed Hollywood movies. Complete with facades of banks, jails, saloons and stables this veneer of a town was the stage set for over 50 movies through the end of the 1950s.

@pappy_harriets #Pioneertown #California

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Biking Through Bavaria on Germany’s Romantic Road

Ginger and Nutmeg’s group of friends were all interested in cycling the Romantic Road in Germany for different reasons, but it was clear that sausage, sauerkraut and artisan beers were a common denominator. However, no one was too excited to begin the bike journey in cold-weather gear in the face of single-digit temperatures.

Biking Germany #Germany #RomanticRoad @GingerandNutmeg

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The West Coast Coffee Trail on U.S. Route 101

Seattle Chihuly Garden #Seattle #WestCoast #RoadTrip

Coffee and audio books are the only way to fuel a seven-day journey in a small car. G&N joined U.S. Route 101 on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State and “Where is the best place to go for coffee?” became the recurrent question of their road trip.

It might be impossible to count the number of espresso signs along the historic US Highway that stretches 2,500 km (1,550 mi) from Port Angeles to Los Angeles. There is no lack of java along the route; Italian-inspired coffee drinks advertised at everything from standard coffee chains to dollhouse roadside trailers. Nutmeg thought it might be a fun way to show you some photos and provide a few tips on where to stop along the route.

Seattle Pikes Place #Seattle #WestCoast #RoadTripSeattle: No touristy trip to Seattle would be complete without a visit to Pike’s Place Market open to the public since 1907. On a Tuesday morning, the market was quiet, and it was too early for the fish “tossing.” Yes, they really throw fish check it out here.

Seattle Pikes Place Market #Seattle #WestCoast #RoadTripStoryville Coffee’s high-ceiling second-floor location sits above the market crowd. The barn wood flooring and leather seating are in roasted-coffee browns that bubble with a cosy ‘stay-awhile’ brew. This is the place where coffee is an art, and the sea-salt-chocolate-chunk cookies are heaven. On their next trip, G&N will visit Storyville’s Banbridge Island Roasting Studio.

Seattle Pikes Place Market #Seattle #WestCoast #RoadTripIn case you need another cup of joe before you leave Pike’s Place Market the original Starbucks (1971) is at 1st & Pike.

Boeing Factory Tour #WestCoast #RoadTripPoulsbo: According to their sometimes trusty GPS the small town of Poulsbo was the closest hamlet to the Edmonds-Kingston ferry terminal. G&N fueled with coffee from Pike’s Place Market spent the afternoon in Everett at the world’s largest building (by volume) on the Boeing Future of Flight tour. A 98.3 acres structure (just shy of 74 football fields) houses the commercial airplane assembly lines. The tour was not quite enough for Ginger to get his fill, so they made a quick stop at Historic Flight Restoration Center to see their gleaming vintage airplane collection.

Needless to say, they disgorged from the ferry in the dark and Scandinavian-inspired Poulsbo was the only decent option. Mid-week in November might not be the best time to get the real impression of this town. G&N stumbled upon a decent restaurant (there were few open) and even got a suggestion for morning coffee — Hot Shots Java and Sluys Poulsbo Bakery for some choice of handmade sugary treats. Thumbs up for both!

This is an excellent resource for the Olympic Peninsula if you are planning a trip.

Portland: The route along the Olympic Peninsula from Poulsbo to Portland is a long 400-mile drive highlighted by expansive Pacific Ocean views, long beaches and at times a stunted horizon of impenetrable rainforest foliage. The trees are so big and the terrain so steep near Lake Crescent that state maintenance crews frequently close the road for clean-up after a windstorm to prevent the giants from crushing passing traffic. In what became a bit of a trend on the road trip G&N arrived in Portland after dark. This is a city where they could easily have spent a few days. Instead, they had one morning — long enough for books and coffee.

Oregon Coast #Oregon #WestCoast #RoadTripPowell’s City of Books is heaven for anyone who loves reading. The original location (1971) is on the fringe of Portland’s Pearl District. As a neophyte, it is a good idea to pick up the floor map when you arrive at this temple of books. Powell’s now is a megalith that covers three floors, gobbling up space in adjacent buildings as book storage and demand necessitated. The rooms are colour-coded for easy navigation.

For their Portland java fix, Heart Coffee Roasters (12th Avenue) was the ticket. HEART lettering on the black espresso machine confirms that the machine is the core of their business. The coffee is excellent brewed one precision cup at a time. Heart’s plank flooring and industrial black metal décor are straightforward inviting you to stay and chat or work, but not too long (no WIFI on weekends).

Here is a Portland website with more coffee options.

Oregon Coast #Oregon #WestCoast #RoadTripBandon: It turns out there is a lot to do in Bandon. Golf at Bandon Dunes or one of the other four courses in the area for some wind buffeted holes reminiscent of Scotland. Visit a cranberry bog, where the farmers harvest 95% of the Oregon crop in the fall. Sample some Face Rock Creamery cheese.

Alternatively, if it is rainy, windy, foggy and socked-in then get in the car like G&N did and head south along the coast with a coffee from the Bandon Coffee Café. This is a resource website for the Oregon coast.

Oregon Coast #Oregon #WestCoast #RoadTripMendocino: G&N booked a room in Mendocino, the previous logging station now an artist-meets-weekender town. A low cloud ceiling and skyscraper redwood trees highlighted the drive from Bandon to the rugged Northern California coast.

Redwood forest #California #WestCoast #RoadTripMendocino has a bit of everything for every taste – history, art, natural beauty and decent restaurants. According to G&N visit to this hamlet, must include a stop at the Mendocino Headlands State Park and the Good Life Cafe and Bakery for generous pastries.

Point Arena Lighthouse #California #WestCoast #RoadTripMendecino State Park #California #Mendocino #RoadTripSan Francisco: Bubbling-foam-topped surf and seagulls dancing in the on-shore winds frame the coastal beaches en route to San Francisco. This beautiful city could be the demise of self-respecting foodies. Its rolling hillsides and trendy neighbourhoods are dripping with options for dining, drinking and sampling. G&N discovered Sightglass Coffee Roasters SOMA district location. This is a place where the intoxicating aromas bean roasting might convince you to apply for a job.

San Francisco Golden Gate #California #RoadTripSan Simeon: The sun was shining as G&N left San Francisco for a sparkling curvaceous drive down California Hwy 1 to San Simeon. The history of the previous whaling village and the seasonal elephant seal rookery are interesting, but hands down the star attraction in the area is the Hearst Castle.

Hearst Castle #California #RoadTripHearst Castle #California #RoadTripLos Angeles: The final overnight stop on their journey and the point where G&N left Highway 1 was the “City of Angels” for one night at the Ace Hotel. This hotel opened its doors in 2014 in a restored 1927 film studio where black and white frame the colour palate and practical guides the methodology.

Hwy 1 #California #RoadTripThe Ace Hotel is located in downtown L.A. a neighbourhood where small dogs walk large people and gals in yoga wear jostle for sidewalk space with models in 5-inch spikes. G&N loved the hotel so much that they tested the amenities from the rooftop bar to the gym from the dining room to coffee the bar -– some more than once. The hotel’s Stumptown Coffee is so good that one cup is simply not enough.

Jardin de l’Achimiste in Provence

In a green maze – that is how your journey starts.

Wandering aimlessly through the hedge circuit your footsteps form the letters, as your shoulders rub against the thick shrubbery.  The characters spell Bereishit the first word of the Torah, a Hebrew word that translates to in the beginning of. In this case, it is the beginning of a distinctive garden adjacent to Mas de la Brune, a home that dates from 1572.


Le Jardin de l’Achimiste (Garden of the Alchemist) is a public garden located near the village of Eygalières and a short drive from St Remy. This magical place was created in 1997. “It is a philosophical essay in the form of a garden, representing physical and intellectual development, and the development of the senses.” – a well-crafted description is from Wikipedia.

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Viktorija Todorovska’s Wine and Olive Affair

“Tu es amoureuse des olives!”

A six-year-old’s words to describe author, linguist, sommelier and Mediterranean food aficionado Viktorija Todorovska. According to Todorovska, the young girl pegged her with such laser accuracy that she is considering changing the title on her business cards to read “Amoureuse des Olives.”

Viktorija Todorovska @SipTasteShare

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Van Gogh’s St Remy de Provence

Much has been written about Vincent Van Gogh’s life, the famous Dutch painter who led an expressive, tortured life. This statue le voleur de tournesol (the Sunflower Thief) by Gabriel Sterk may just capture the essence of Van Gogh’s work – as you never quite look at sunflowers, irises, olive trees or wheat fields the same way after seeing his paintings.

le voleur de tournesol (the Sunflower Thief) by Gabriel Sterk

le voleur de tournesol (the Sunflower Thief) by Gabriel Sterk

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Lumina Lights up Cascais

In 12 days, Ginger and Nutmeg had explored the northern part of Portugal from A to Z, they drove from Lisbon to Porto and beyond the Douro Valley. The early September weather cooperated, and the summer tourist crush had started to wane, leaving the rugged, windswept coastline devoid of summer crowds — picture perfect.

OCUBO #LUMINA Light Festival 2014 #Cascais #Portugal #festivaldaluzOCUBO #LUMINA Light Festival 2014 #Cascais #Portugal #festivaldaluz Continue reading

5 Provencal Myths

When Ginger and Nutmeg first ventured to Provence they felt prepared for the adventure. After all, it was not their first trip to France, they had previously biked in the region, and they had read Peter Mayle’s books – so they were confident in their basic understanding of the region.

And basic it was!

Nutmeg would like to share five Provencal myths for consideration as you pack your bags for the south of France, with visions of purple lavender fields and olive groves dancing in your head.

Old Provencal Window

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Palm Springs ABCs for the Desert

The Coachella Valley:

Palms to Pines
Golf holes to Polo fields
Hiking boots to Stilettos
Date trees to Dance floors
Swimming pools to Concerts

Ginger and Nutmeg are ‘relative’ newbies to the Palm Springs area and want to thank their friends for the locals’ tips. Nutmeg has created one of her ABC lists to provide all G&N readers a snapshot of the valley.

Crazy January Shadows

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