A slew of ravaging hurricanes couldn't knock out these national park treasures

St. Marys, Georgia (CNN) — Before Hurricane Irma ever made landfall at the waterfront town of St. Marys, Georgia, in September, local officials and US National Park Service employees did everything they could to batten down the hatches.

They activated their emergency response plans, working hard to board up mainland structures and the park service's historic structures and treasures 7 nautical miles away on Cumberland Island.

But no human effort could block the power of Irma.

After the hurricane departed, residents saw boats stacked on top of each other or tossed onto the mainland, flooded streets and debris scattered everywhere.

The park service's mainland dock -- where up to 300 passengers daily could catch the ferry to Cumberland Island, the main attraction of Cumberland Island National Seashore -- had been destroyed.

While some tattered parts remained, the accessible dock was at the bottom of the St. Marys River.

To read more about other national parks recovering from the 2017 hurricanes, click here. 

So much food: Why do restaurants serve tasting menus?

New York (CNN) — I still remember the "Oysters and Pearls," a dish described as a "sabayon" of pearl tapioca with oysters and caviar.

It was one of many perfect little Thomas Keller dishes, and they just kept coming.

I was delighted to be dining at Per Se that night in 2004, just a few months after French Laundry chef/owner Thomas Keller and his partner Laura Cunningham had opened their East Coast outpost in the Time Warner Center in Manhattan.

There was no traditional choice of appetizer, main course and dessert. It was the tasting menu to end all tasting menus, I thought, all perfectly orchestrated by Keller, Cunningham and their staff.

As would befit a fine dining restaurant, the mood overlooking Columbus Circle was quietly elegant, and the service was sublime. (The wait staff had taken movement classes to learn how to walk gracefully within the space.)

And the food? I counted more than a dozen perfect little dishes before the night was over, and it took most of the night.

And yet, it sometimes felt like an endurance race for my stomach.

To read more, click here.