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Category: Travel

Two Nights in the Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone

A visit to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming was a lifelong dream and last fall I finally I got my chance. During my end of September trek, the sky was unfortunately laden with gray clouds as the first snowfall was expected. But snowy skies would not damped my spirits; I had entered the hallowed gates of Yellowstone — the 2.2 million acre gem that shines with incredible landscape diversity. I drove along with a mixture of goose bumps and glee. Driving within the park proceeds slowly. Backups occur whenever a large animal appears. Drivers simply stop in the middle...

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Go to Kutna Hora and Czech Republic

“Go to Prague and Czech Republic” discovered the food, local sites, and fine hotels in the capital city of the Czech Republic. The stay at Prague got everyone on the local clock, plus we had a fascinating day trip to Melnik and the Lobkowitz Castle with its antique furnishings, restaurant luncheon of wild boar with dumplings, and wine tasting. This current article continues the adventure, transitioning through Kutna Hora and on to Brno in the southern part of the country. Kutna Hora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the filming location of numerous motion pictures. Its St....

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Perfect Antidote to Seattle’s Winter Grey Palette, New Chihuly Garden and Glass

As soon as I entered the exhibition I thought that this is exactly how Alice must have felt after she tumbled down the rabbit hole into a fantasy world. This one is populated with surreal, kaleidoscope-colored glass creations ranging in size from minute, gem-like balls to a 1,340-piece, 100-foot long sculpture, hovering high overhead in the “Glass House”, inspired by Dale Chihuly’s two favorite buildings, Paris’ Sainte-Chapelle and London’s Crystal Palace. Done in vibrant shades of orange, yellow and red, it offers a warm sunrise/sunset glass-framed view of the Space Needle towering behind the building. As you meander through...

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New Zealand: Wellington and Beyond

  While I can’t prove this statistically, I’ve read that a trip to New Zealand is high on many bucket lists. And so it should be. First you have its capital city, Wellington, which Lonely Planet called the coolest little capital in the world. And so it is. Located on the southernmost part of New Zealand’s North Island, Wellington is a cultural hub with impressive museums, a lively music scene and, according to some estimates, more cafes and bars and restaurants per capita than New York City, the place where I lived most of my adult life. Yet during...

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Oh la la, Cal-a-Vie Spa Brings Pampering and Provence to Southern California

When it comes to five star destination spas it’s hard to really rank them:  they all offer gorgeous accommodations, great treatments, fitness and healthy food.  What it really comes down to is a certain je ne sais quoi that is highly personal. Arriving at Cal-a-Vie, a destination spa nestled 40 minutes north of San Diego, I feel like I’m pulling up to a friend’s massive French Country estate (If my friends owned 200 acre properties in Provence!)  The architecture and manicured grounds are stunning, and the result is an instant feeling of relaxation. There is no real check-in process...

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Amazon Luxury Yacht Fishing Expedition

By Larry Larsen Few travelers have heard of the Rio Negro, which flows southeast a short distance along the Venezuela and Colombia border and then winds its way through the Brazilian state of Amazonas; it meets up with the also little-know Rio Solimoes to form the mighty and renown Amazon River. What many people don’t realize is that both rivers are larger than the Mississippi. Their conjunction is near Manaus, the gateway city to the Amazon Basin, about the same size as Houston, the fourth largest city in the U.S. Despite the sizes of the rivers – the basin...

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Musical Instrument Museum (MIM)—A Unique Phoenix Treasure

The MIM is a Phoenix museum featuring a host of musical instruments from all over the world. Opened in 2010, Robert J. Ulrich, former CEO of Target, the retailing giant, founded it with assistance from his friend Marc Felix. They were inspired by visiting a museum of the same name in Brussels, Belgium. Total costs to date to complete and stock the Museum have totaled hundreds of millions. MIM’s  mission statement is: “The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) enriches the world by collecting, preserving, and making accessible a wide variety of musical instruments and performance videos from every country in...

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Mexican Molecular at Le Chique: Azul Sensatori

People typically rave about a restaurant with comments like, “I swear they had the best ribs I’ve ever tasted,” or perhaps,”the beef was so tender, I didn’t need a knife.” However, these are not the comments diners will say after eating at Le Chique, an adult’s only restaurant on the Azul Sensatori property in Riviera Maya, Mexico. That’s because the meal at Le Chique is an adventure in dining, a cutting-edge food fantasy like none other than I have tasted anywhere. My evening began with a peek into the busy kitchen where my foursome was served a foamy cucumber...

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Naples FL Is Not Your Average Beach Town

When I read that Naples Florida has the second highest proportion of millionaires per capita in America, I have to admit that it made packing for my visit a wee bit difficult. After rummaging through “all” my designer labels (took about 5 seconds) I gave up and opted for a casual, sporty look, which turned out to be just right. Moneyed though the folks might be, Naples is delightfully laid-back, understated,  and simply a whole lot of fun! (Bring a pair of jeans, a swimsuit, comfy exercise clothes for biking, beachcombing, exploring, and a nicer outfit for dinner and...

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Fall Under Sedona’s spell at Enchantment Resort and Mii amo Spa

After a very hectic couple of weeks, I was sooo looking forward to flying into Phoenix, where I was going to be picked up by my friend, Joan, (who recently lost her beloved father and was in dire need of a restorative retreat) and then take the scenic, two hour drive to the Enchantment Resort/ Mii amo in spiritual Sedona. As an avid spa-goer, visiting Enchantment/ Mii amo, had been on my short list for quite some time. After all, you don’t rack up a laundry list of accolades ranging from the #1 destination spa in the world by...

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Auberge Saint-Antoine—A Fusion of Great History In Quebec City

On our last visit to Quebec City, we went ahead of the group we were traveling with to experience the Auberge Saint-Antoine. Both being interested in history, we had walked by this property in the late 90s, took part in a site inspection in 2010 and were convinced we needed to discover more this past year. Auberge Saint-Antoine is part of the prestigious Relaix & Chateaux group. Guests may or may not know that all of its properties must have a story. Well, this hotel has a soul and guests are aware of it throughout the entire property. Very...

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The Spa at The Ritz-Carton, Wolfsburg, Germany

  In general, when traveling a long distance, I attempt to arrive a day early to have time to rejuvenate. When I arrived at the train station in Wolfsburg, I was whisked away in the limo to The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg. One of my first goals was to make a spa appointment for a signature treatment, as that is always relaxing and refreshing.  Once that was scheduled for early the following morning, I was able to enjoy high tea and then take an long nap before dinner in the hotel’s Michelin 3-star restaurant. After a wonderful night’s sleep, I checked...

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