French Life Paris Podcasts Restaurants Travel: French Life Paris Podcasts Restaurants Travel
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There are so many websites and blogs on Paris that you can spend hours—if not days—perusing them in an effort to find the information you’re seeking for the City of Light. Want to check out the hottest restaurants? How about some up-to-the-minute fashion news? Or even better, do you need to find just the right place of lodging for your dream trip? Girls Guide to Paris provides this and more.
I chatted with Doni Belau, founder of this dynamic site on Paris and other French destinations, during a special April in Paris Travel Fun interview last month. Click on the play button below to listen to what Doni has to say about yet another of her “passion projects.”
Indeed, Doni is a woman of many passions. I was familiar with Girls Guide to Paris for a while although I came to know Doni from Susan Viebrock, a connection here in Telluride that does her own information-packed website/blog, Telluride Inside…and Out. Susan wrote a story that showcased Doni’s philanthropic works in the post TAB Welcomes Honorary Beneficiary: Ubuntu Africa. TAB, or Telluride Aids Benefit, is an organization that raises money for HIV/AIDS education, advocacy and NGOs. They put on many fun and happening events throughout Telluride Gay Ski Week. This year, Doni’s organization, Ubuntu Africa, was one of the beneficiaries from funds raised by TAB. Doni actually came to T-ride, my town, for the events, yet unfortunately we did not meet up in person. (She actually found out about TAB from Kittie Lingeman Brown, a former resident of Telluride that now lives in Paris.) Doni talks about that experience and her impressions of Telluride—particularly the fabulous TAB Fashion Show—in the below interview.
Back to Paris and specifically Girls Guide to Paris. With 100,000 readers/month consulting her site, Doni has good reason to be proud of the baby that she breathed life into in 2009. On the phone from New York, Doni talks about why she likes Paris so much and how she started this site which has turned into a fantastic resource for Paris and beyond. Doni spends about a third of her time in Paris every year, however, like many other people, she’s aiming to claim Paris home more and more.
“Paris is my first love,” Doni says. “To sum it up in one word, it’s beauty. You can’t convince me that there’s another place so beautiful,” she continues. Our interview turns into a full-on chat when I share my impressions of Paris as well. After having lived there eleven years, I have a few things to add and not surprisingly, Doni and I agree on everything.
Listen to Doni highlight the various features of Girls Guide to Paris, including her top Paris restaurant picks and the eighteen downloadable tours, most of which she created. You’ll also want to check out their Travel Club and the fixed pages that make the site like a guidebook on the web. Plans are in the works for an eBook and an eMagazine.
It seems as though there’s no end to Doni’s passionate projects! Bravo to you, my dear, and keep up the good work all over the world.
Note that in the interview, Doni cites Segway tours as a fun way to visit Paris. Read my story, Tour Mania Versus Zee Segway, on the Paris Segway Tours here.
Click on the play button below to hear Doni Belau talk about Girls Guide to Paris.
Hurry, hurry, there’s still time to send something off to “your favorite moms.” Whether that includes your mother, your mother-in-law, your wife or even yourself, if you order today, all kinds of goods may still be delivered via surface mail in time for this special holiday on Sunday, May 12. (Tomorrow even works for some—depending where you live.) Here’s a round up of lovely online boutiques that will make your shopping experience more enjoyable.
Zanadia offers a boudoir-sized selection of gift items curated by someone that obviously has very good taste. To me, browsing here is almost like shopping in a quaint Left Bank boutique in Paris. Their candles, rich and luxurious, consist of some of the finest brands including Voluspa, Votivo and Trapp. I’m especially over the moon for their Voluspa candles, redolent, voluptuous works of art that would woo the most sophisticated and romantic of us all. Made a coconut wax blend and superior quality fragrances, these candles burn evenly while exuding heavenly scents. Consider a Voluspa Diffuser for a more evenly-distributed, burn-free dispersion of fragrance. Zanadia also offers many lovely beauty products including Thymes creams, lotions and fragrances; I found their Lotus Santal Cologne particularly light and refreshing for warm spring/summer days.
I’m a fan of anything recycled and green. But it has to look good. Rewined Candles do just that and they also smell incredibly delicious, very much like a fine glass of wine. Handmade in Charleston, South Carolina, Rewined uses repurposed glass—mostly from old wine bottles—in their candles handcrafted from soy wax. Fragrances such as Cabernet, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc mimic the flavors and aromas found in your favorite varietals of wine. Each creation is marked with the vintage date and artisan’s initials. Rewined Candles look especially handsome in kitchens, living rooms and offices. Love their classy, down-to-earth feel. Mimosa, their special spring fragrance that features effervescent Champagne and fresh-squeezed orange, would be perfect for moms.
There’s nothing like beautiful soaps, especially when they feel and smell so good. Shop at Fresh Soap Company for handcrafted cold process and glycerine soaps, sure to perk up any bathroom, powder room or kitchen. I discovered these products last fall during a trip to Breckenridge, Colorado where the soaps are made, showcased and shipped out to happy customers from a charming space in this historic mountain town. For extra zip, order some of the colorful bath bombs for mom, fizzy wonders sure to add fun to every luxurious soak. Type in promo code Bonjour when ordering from Fresh Soap to receive an additional 10% discount.
My Online Shopping page features many more charming online boutiques that also offer 10% discounts to Bonjour Colorado readers. Follow the instructions from that page in order to receive the added perk. Be sure to browse through all of the boutiques since many are featuring some fresh and fun gift ideas for spring and summer.
Consider brightly-colored espadrilles, bags and hats from Quel Objet, one of my favorite online boutiques for French goods. Telluride-based Alpen Schatz, offers Italian silk scarves and scarf ornaments that ring in at an excellent price point. Cinnamon Wear, another Telluride company, offers pretty, hand-stenciled T-shirts made from breathable bamboo fabric. For the collector mom, why not consider an original gift idea from the Autograph Source? Chocolates and candy are welcome year-round; you’ll find some of the best toffee ever at Ruth’s Toffee and extraordinary chocolates at Telluride Truffle. If you’re sending a gift to a warm climate, send Telluride Truffle’s decadent chocolate sauce. Also at my Online Shopping page, shop from Henri’s Reserve, purveyor of fine champagne from some of the best (albeit lesser-known) champagne houses of France. And for the special pet mom in your life, consider gifting her with a wonderful organic toy for her kitty or pup from Purrfect Play. As the mommy of two cats, I can’t think of anything that would touch me more.
Remember to use/or mention code Bonjour for all of the boutiques featured on my Online Shopping page in order to receive your 10% discount.
OK, time to get really personal. If you or anyone you know has experienced the pain and sadness of miscarriage, consider reading my new book, A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France. Sure, this story is filled with lots of fun and adventure, food and wine, romance, travel and love. But to me, one of it’s most powerful messages is that there is life after miscarriage; there is hope.
People don’t talk about this “m” word much. They seem to more easily relate trials and tribulations surrounding infertility/in vitro issues rather than speak of miscarriage. But the truth is there are many women (and consequently their men, too) that suffer tremendously from both the physical and mental pain of miscarriage. There was little that could console me years ago after having experienced this myself—far too many times. I’m proud that I’ve written a book that I strongly believe brings comfort to women (and men) confronted by such disappointment, such despair. I noticed recently that amazon includes one of the more raw scenes that deals with this subject (at the end of the second chapter) in their excerpts from my book. I felt a big WOW on that one but hopefully in so doing, it will serve to get A Tour of the Heart into the hands of people it might help most. (Thank you to Deb Dion, my copy editor, who encouraged me to dig deeper in revealing my emotions around this most sensitive matter.)
With Mother’s Day upon us, this is an especially delicate time for those dealing with the “m” issue. Please be mindful of this and if you know someone that’s facing the challenge of not being able to have a child, consider sending her (or him) a copy of A Tour of the Heart. You can find paperback copies in many charming shops across the U.S. and online; eBooks are currently sold at amazon and you don’t have to have a kindle to download them. You can also send an eBook as a gift. I hope to have A Tour of the Heart available at iBooks and Nook very soon.
Please share this message of hope with someone you know (or sense) is going through “m” issues or other related hurdles.
Art & Culture Food & Wine French Life Paris Shopping Travel Writing & Books: Art & Culture Food & Wine French Life Paris Shopping Travel Travel Writing Writing & Books
With ski season behind me, I suddenly have a voracious appetite for reading. I always want to read and to me, it’s one of the most relaxing and enjoyable activities in the world. But during ski season I’m exhausted in the evenings and tend to just zone out in front of the TV and then head to bed before there’s time for a leisurely read. (Also, I often stay up late when engrossed in a good book and that certainly doesn’t gel with a ski instructor’s need for a long, fat sleep.)
Being the Francophile that I am, I love reading books set in France. Whether it’s Paris or the provinces, if the writing is rich, I relish being instantly transported to my beloved land. So you can only imagine how thrilled I was when I discovered Jaqui Brown’s charming website/blog, French Village Diaries. There you may delve into an abundance of book reviews on books relating to France and then shop in her online bookstore which features titles she has reviewed and more. Jacqui, a Brit that moved to France in 2004 with her British husband, scours the internet for the most interesting reads on her adopted country. That’s how she found my book, A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France, and then wrote it up at French Village Diaries.
I’m happy to be connected with Jacqui, a woman who’s passionate about everything French and life in France in general. Sure, there are many ladies like her (and me), however, with Jacqui and her writings I feel a special kinship. Perhaps it’s the combination of books and France that resonates so much with me.
I also delight in many of Jacqui’s blog posts and recipes. Saturday she posted a Provençal Style Yoghurt Cake with Olive Oil and Quince. I wrote about the first olive oil cake I ever tasted in A Tour of the Heart, one of the most memorable culinary experiences of my travels. Enfin, I found a recipe that seems to correspond with the memory I’ve preserved of that incredibly moist and flavorful treat.
Now, I can’t wait to make that olive oil cake. And then sit down and savor it with tea and a good book, one that takes place in France, bien entendu.
Beauty Mountain Living Shopping: Beauty Mountain Living Shopping
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It snowed again this week in Colorado, a not-so-surprising weather occurence that barely disturbed most Coloradans. We need the moisture and here in the Rockies, that typically comes in the form of snow. Even in May.
Hydration. That’s the buzz word out here. Whether we’re talking about what we put into our bodies or what we slather onto our skin, preventing ourselves from being “dried out” is key. Low humidity, bright sun and temperatures that range from frigid cold to blistering heat—often coupled with fierce wind and dust—is how weather in the Rockies may best be described. None of this makes for a particularly hospitable environment for our skin. And to make matters worse (at least for our skin), we love to play outdoors here in the West. I mean really playing hard as in long days of skiing, hiking and for many, even dirt bike riding!
I’m grateful for the many wonderful products that help me affront this often challenging climate year-round. My bathroom boasts glorious creams and oils that allow me to appear radiant throughout the driest of times. Most of these have been sourced through trial and error. Ever put a cream on your skin and then ten minutes later your skin feels taught and barren? Well, those don’t pass muster in my house. No, I need to feel juicy.
I find myself turning to two of my favorite brands: Farmaesthetics and Clarins. Both may be extolled for their quality products that nurture your skin while enveloping you in a delightful aromatherapy experience. Hmmmm, sometimes I just unscrew a top and take a whiff to help me change my perspective on the day. This is definitely the case with Farmaesthetics Nourishing Herbal Cream, a rich moisturizer I especially like applying at night (to ensure sweet dreams). Just before lights out, I also slather on some Farmaesthetics Lip Softener as well as their Hand to Heel Softening Salve. That’s what you call sheer bliss.
We all need an added boost from time to time, especially for our skin. This is when I reach for Farmaesthetics Herbal Hydration Complex-Remedy Reserve Mask and/or one of their Remedy Oils. Deep, penetrating moisturizing only comes with a proper regimen of cleansing, something that you can feel happening during and after the application of this refreshing mask. (For added effect, visualize the dead skin cells sloughing off as you rinse off this luscious concoction.) I swear, too, that my skin feels plumper after each application. For an ultra therapeutic and hydrating experience, apply one of the Farmaesthetics remedy oils to your skin—face and body. As I become older, I have increasingly turned to oil to achieve the full-on plushy sensation my skin deserves, especially at night. I can see how these oils heal my skin while I sleep and in the morning I wake up looking better rested.
There are so many lovely Farmaesthetics products that I encourage you to try them all. Purchasing their On-the-Go Travel Set or their Remedy Oil Cabinet are great ways to sample a bunch at a time. I love their primarily glass packaging, too, and the fact that they produce 100% natural skincare products for the face and body in an environmentally-friendly manner. Farmaesthetics founder Brenda Brock began selling her handmade herbal skincare preparations at an organic farmstand in rural Rhode Island in 1999 and today her company remains committed to sustainable beauty by using natural certified organic herbs, flowers, oils and grains from American family farms.
If you’ve checked out my About page, you know that I’m also a ski instructor. I can tell you that day after day on the mountain can be brutal for my face. Here’s a product that one of my students turned me on to: Kiehl’s Cross-Terrain UV Skin Protector. With an SPF of 50, this water- and sweat-resistant product works great for all kinds of sun, ski and sea adventures. It feels like a thick salve when you put it on, so use it on the days you’re seeking optimal protection. During the super sunny days of March that weren’t so cold and windy, I always reached for Clarins SPF 50+ (also high protection UVB/UVA) Sunscreen Care Milk Lotion Spray. It’s my go-to cream for summer as well. I love its fresh scent and light, silky feel.
Even with all the sun protection, I still tan up in March. (Imagine spending day after day on the ski slopes at an elevation of about 10,000 feet with the bright Colorado sun reflecting off the snow. Here the sun can cast more of an effect than on a Florida beach.) It’s actually considered chic by many to sport a goggle tan, something that I do my best to keep at a minimum. Now, however, my color has faded. I’m back at my desk, so I’ll soon be dipping into one of my favorite beauty confections: Clarins Delicious Self Tanning Cream. Leave it to the French to make something so luscious and good.
Now that I’m steaming toward (or god forbid, have reached) what the French politely refer to as “une femme d’un certain age” status, a good eye cream is a must. Clarins Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate, their #1 selling eye product seems has done wonders for me. Clinical results have indeed proven that over 80% of people (you can bet the men are on to this, too) have experienced a reduction in puffiness, dark circles and wrinkles around their eyes after three weeks of use. Just writing this incentivizes me to hit it hard during the upcoming month. (I actually spread it along my lips throughout much of the winter and noticed reduced cracking as well.) Clearly there’s much to be said for plant-based products.
Now for a little dolling up. For one of the best mascaras I’ve found in years, reach for Clarins Instant Definition Mascara. Their dual tip brush defines lashes from corner to corner, especially the tiniest of them all. And as much as I love to moisturize, I’ve always been a big fan of face powder as long as it’s sparingly applied. (Don’t confuse moist with shine.) The Clarins Odyssey Face Palette is a beautiful addition to your purse and your visage. It’s a lightweight powder that leaves a subtle, sparkly glow on your face, perfect for evenings out.
Thank goodness for Internet shopping. It allows someone like me, who lives in a remote place, to procure these products in a timely manner. It also permits us to send a special gift of beauté to our mamans. No matter the age, no matter where she lives, I can’t imagine a single woman that would not enjoy receiving a luxurious cream at her doorstep. There’s still time for it to arrive by Mother’s Day, so have fun perusing the sites featured in this piece and don’t forget to pick up a little something for yourself.
One more thing: Be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to do so!
Hotels Restaurants Skiing & Snowboarding The Rockies Utah: Hotels Restaurants Skiing & Snowboarding The Rockies Utah
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I’ve been thinking a lot about Utah lately. Maybe it’s because although we’ve had a ton of snow here in Colorado, it seems as though the Utah ski resorts have even bigger snow totals, especially once you consider their base. It was almost a year ago that my boyfriend and I enjoyed a spectacular weekend of spring skiing at Snowbird and now we’re itching to go back.
The year before that, we called Sundance home for five days and reveled in experiencing Utah’s top ski resorts including Deer Vally, Park City and the Canyons. Then and also last year, we drove through Heber City, a vast, flat area only twenty minutes from Utah’s world-renowned mountain destinations and towering peaks. Settled by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the late 1850s and named after a Mormon apostle, Heber Valley of today still appears pastoral and low-key. Dairy farming continues to reign supreme, a tradition started by Swiss settlers ages ago. Ranchers claim a fair piece of action as well.
I might never have known about this area’s history had I not been introduced to its Swiss ties last fall. I might have just continued to cruise through Heber—on the way to the big resorts—without discovering its hidden charms and one exceptional destination in particular: Blue Boar Inn.
Just slightly off the beaten path through Heber, you find Midway, a quiet enclave characterized by a sleepy main street and surrounding neighborhoods filled with European-styled homes. (I mean Old World Europe as in Swiss chalet-styled.) I accompanied my friend, Mary Dawn, here last year when we came for (of all things) a the Saint-Bernard Nationals! Mary Dawn, owner of Alpen Schatz, a boutique specializing in alpine treasures, was showcasing her goods, particularly her handcrafted Swiss dog collars, a dog show and national gathering of Saint-Bernard breeders and aficionados. I came along as her sidekick. Little did we know that we had brought a chunk of Switzerland to “America’s Little Switzerland.”
In no time at all, we found out about the area’s history, Midway’s renowned Swiss Days and Blue Boar Inn, a destination hotel and restaurant capable of transporting you to Europe from the moment you pull up to its old-styled entranceway. Inside you’re wrapped in a warm, inviting decor punctuated by sage green walls, alder wood trim and railings and a handsome collection of antiques and collectibles worthy of the finest hunting lodges in Europe. (Castles are typically referred to as hunting lodges, so don’t think little cabin in the woods.) Fourteenth-century crossbows, antler chandeliers, Western landscape and still life paintings reminiscent of Rembrandt and more add to the authentic feel of this superior establishment.
Just like in the best restaurants in Europe, here tables, dressed in white linens draped over rich, floral table skirts, are set with an array of finery including pewter chargers and crystal glasses. (Although only one wine glass may be on the table at a time—that’s Mormon law.) Blue Boar’s seasonally-oriented menus achieve a fine balance between traditional European specialities including schnitzel and fondue along with regional offerings such as Rocky Mountain trout (from a nearby blue-ribbon trout stream, but of course). As is the tradition in a fine European inn, breakfast, lunch and dinner are served here daily along with an award-winning brunch on Sundays. Chef Eric May also presents a special Tasting Menu every Wednesday night that changes weekly.
If you’re not inclined to sit down to an elegant meal, meander to the back of the inn where you’re sure to be enchanted by the inn’s Bavarian bar, a more casual, gathering place typified by pine flooring, European farmhouse chairs and a four-hundred-year-old bar. Fair weather days see the opening of the beer garden out back, a seemingly blissful place where I’m sure many a frosty beverage is consumed.
Mary Dawn and I toured the inn’s twelve rooms, each more alluring than the other. Named after authors and poets, each room possesses an attention to detail unlike what you find in typical places of lodging in America. An abundance of pillows, fabrics, engravings, old armoires and carefully-selected objets adorn the nooks and crannies of each of the distinctly different rooms. This inn gives “inntimacy” new meaning. Mon dieu, how I would have loved to have settled into the room with the Italian leather bed!
If I make my way to this bucolic part of Utah this weekend, sadly I doubt I’ll have time to peek in at the Blue Boar. The skiing still beckons and I might not have time to luxuriate, however, I can think of no better set up than to settle in at the Blue Boar and ski Utah’s top resorts (all of which are closed now; Snowbird is about an hour drive from here). In the summer, I’d imagine the area to be like “Sound of Music” in a valley, a verdant land where you pass your time hiking, biking, sightseeing on the Heber Valley Historic Railroad or shopping for handcrafted cheeses from the neighboring farms.
Or you can just hole yourself up at Blue Boar Inn and soak up European refinement and savoir faire with someone you love.
Blue Boar Inn, 1235 Warm Springs Road, Midway, 435-654-1400 or 888-650-1400
Snake Creek Grill: Another Delightful Dining Option
Housed in an old train depot, people frequently travel to the Snake Creek Grill from Salt Lake City to dine at this country-fresh, chef-owned and operated establishment. Here amid a bright, crisp decor, surrounded by walls and wainscoting the color of this fertile land, Chef Dean Hottle has created a dining experience that wills you to feel at home. His menu is comforting and creative, offering dishes made from the finest ingredients, many of which have been sourced locally (especially in season). Main plates include grilled hanger steak with wild mushroom sauce, crispy hash browns, green beans and carrots, creamy crab penne pasta with roasted artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and arugula and maple mustard BBQ baby back ribs with mopping sauce, cabbage slaw and corn bread. Now that’s some pretty darn good home cookin’. Sophisticated, too. Be sure to save room for a slice of black bottom banana cream pie. It’s better than your mama’s, I’m sure.
Snake Creek Grill, 650 West 100 South, Heber City, 435-654-2133
Aspen Colorado Skiing & Snowboarding Travel Vail: Aspen Colorado Skiing & Snowboarding Travel Vail
How do you book travel? Do you go directly to websites such as Expedia.com to check out any alluring offers they’re showcasing? Or perhaps you’re more destination or theme oriented and and you sift through info. at sites such as Ski.com and On the Snow.com? Do you troll the Internet for stories from travel publications and blogs to read about places from a firsthand perspective? Or maybe you flash on video and photo postings your friends have put up on Facebook?
All the above are valid ways to research and book travel and it should come as no surprise that people are turning even more to the Internet and social media for all, including travel planning. This is some of what I gleaned last week from the Mountain Travel Symposium (MTS) I attended in Snowmass, Colorado. The largest gathering of mountain travel professionals in North America, MTS also marks the beginning of the sales cycle for the next ski season. Attendees come from around the world to conduct business and to learn about what’s new and happening in the snowsports industry. This year’s 38th annual MTS brought together leaders and innovators from the ski and travel tech industries to provoke conversation and solution-seeking ideas for the1,200 professionals gathered at this dynamic event.
That included moi and like many others, I forfeited one of the season’s best powder days last Wednesday morning to listen in a few exciting presentations. Rob Torres, managing director of travel for Google, and Erik Hawkins, industry manager for travel North America at Facebook, peppered the audience with facts and figures about the exponential growth both companies are seeing in travel. They also showcased some of their latest technology including Google glasses which look like conventional eyeglasses except for their small, voice-activated camera that allows the user to do hands-free recording of sensational travel experiences. Torres also talked about “Generation C,” a group defined by their passionate mindset for video and introduced Hangouts, a virtual photo log of places and destinations being posted and shared by hundreds of photographers.
Hawkins revealed that Facebook research confirms the influence of friends in choosing travel destinations; apparently travelers are eighty percent more likely to visit a destination recommended by a friend through social media messages, photos and video. And as a result, mobile bookings are increasing rapidly. “Exponential growth in social media sharing is doubling every two years.”
Both speakers emphasized the importance of connecting and engaging their customers, a theme reiterated by Hari Nair, Vice President of Expedia, Krista Parry, Senior Vice President at Powdr Enterprises and founder of Snowmamas and Anne Taylor Hartzell, founder of Hip Travel Mama, the headliners of a presentation on blogging. All emphasized the importance of doing more than just “pushing” information on potential travel planners.
How does that translate for you? It means you’re going to see more big travel suppliers and perhaps lodgers and other companies teaming up with bloggers to educate and inspire you about travel destinations and products. They’ve also started to encourage you, the consumer, to share your travel experiences on their sites as you can see at Expedia’s find yours. All stressed the importance of storytelling, something I’ve engaged in here at my blog, Bonjour Colorado, for almost five years. (That’s also been the approach I’ve used in my books, including the four guidebooks I wrote and my recent travel memoir, entitled A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France.)
So continue to be Internet savvy and see how that will point you in the direction of your next travel adventure. The world is a most alluring place and there are plenty of people out there—professionals and nonprofessionals alike—looking to tell you about the next destination you might want to visit. And it appears that big travel companies and other travel suppliers will be right there with them offering trip planning ease at the touch of your finger tips.
More MTS and Spring Skiing Scoop
They’re a fun crowd, all those MTS folk, as you can see from the images in this post. Most are snowsports enthusiasts, people that love to have a good time on and off the slopes. The MTS welcome reception at Elk Camp in Snowmass, sponsored by Snowmass Tourism and Aspen Skiing Company, elevated spirits higher than some of the nearby towering peaks. Just before loading the gondola with my boyfriend, Steve Togni, GM of Mountain Lodge Telluride and a guy that’s attended MTS for over a decade, we were served margaritas, concocted with habanero-infused tequila, delicious libations that made the ride to the mountaintop all the more merry. Once there, we mingled with ski industry aficionados, many of whom came dressed in retro ski attire. We bopped around sampling all kinds of tasty treats from the food and wine stations set up within this large on-mountain restaurant. We marveled at some of the spectacular fire and ice entertainment provided before heading back down the mountain.
All this took place during a super snowy week that offered some of the finest skiing of the season. Fortunately we did make it out onto the mountain a few times and even enjoyed some fine winter snow. How I love those big blue cruisers at Snowmass and the spectacular, sprawling vistas from up top at The Cirque!
Now here’s the good news for all of you: It has been snowing in the Aspen/Vail area all this week as well. Really dumping! So much so, in fact, that Aspen Highlands, which is to remain open through this Sunday, decided to reopen the weekend of April 27-28 as well. (Snowmass closed April 14.) Vail, which officially closed last Sunday, just decided to reopen this weekend. I skied Vail last weekend and had a stupendous time. I felt amazed by the amount of snow they had and the extent of their terrain. (Somehow I had forgotten that Vail is so huge and has so much to offer.) Wow, what a spring!
We’re having a big snowstorm here in Telluride as I write this. We closed the first Sunday of April, however, I’ve been having fun playing elsewhere and also catching up at my desk. (Snowy days are good for that, too.)
Happy spring! Happy travel planning!
Thank you to Aspen/Snowmass, Jeremy Swanson and Mountain Travel Symposium for the above images.
Aspen Beaver Creek Colorado Restaurants Shopping Telluride The Rockies Vail: Aspen Beaver Creek Colorado Restaurants Shopping Telluride Vail
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Ski season might be winding down, although there’s little letting up on the wining and dining scene in Colorado’s top mountain destinations. To the contrary—with the window of prime skiing narrowed down during most spring days—it seems like visitors and locals alike allot even more time for socializing off the slopes during this fair weather season.
If you’re anywhere near Summit County, be sure to put Bagalis in Frisco at the top of your list. I love the warm, inviting decor of this chef-owned and operated restaurant. Chef Michal Ulehala and his wife, Joyce, opened this fine Italian restaurant two years ago and the accolades have been growing ever since. Copper-topped tables, subdued lighting, wood beams and lots of style-y touches such as rectangular white plates come together to create a look that feels like old mining town meets Euro lounge. A large communal table serves as center stage for diners looking to mix and mingle, however, you might want to tuck yourself into one of the more quiet corners of this handsome restaurant. Plan to while away a good amount of time here over beautifully prepared antipasti such as an olive and meat plate comprised of the finest products sourced with care. Indeed, Chef Michal and his team are proponents of the Slow Food Movement and here everything they serve—from shrimp polenta to artisan pizzas to housemade desserts—is made from the finest ingredients, many of which come from local purveyors. Expect an excellent price/quality relationship on all, including their wines by the glass and the bottle—all of which have been selected with great expertise. Bagalis also opens for lunch, offering the perfect time to enjoy their outdoor patio beneath sunny Colorado skies.
Anyone traveling anywhere near Vail, must plan a stop at eat! drink! Edwards and its sister restaurant, dish. Many know that eat! drink! has been on the scene in the Vail Valley for close to a decade. They’re well known for their finely curated selection of wines, cheeses and other sweet and savory gourmet items. Stop in for a glass of wine and a simple cheese plate or stock up on a week’s supply of provisions for your condo. Those looking to delve into more of a full-on drinking and dining experience must secure a table upstairs at dish restaurant & bar. Here, amid an abundance of votives, you can delve into a sultry evening where each tapas-styled dish and its accompanying drink (specialty cocktail or fine beer or wine) tantalizes your senses. Start with Spanish Serrano ham wrapped around artisan Manchego cheese that you dip in a glass of super dry sherry. Then try their crispy sprouts, brussels sprouts superbly prepared with Asian sweet and sour sauce and togarashi crisped rice (kind of like Kellogg’s Rice Krispies). If you’re not already a lover of this often misunderstood vegetable, you’re sure to become one with this dish. If you’ve skied or hiked hard, order the Vail steak, a shoulder tenderloin served with chimichurri and sweet potato fries. For dessert, I ordered the olive oil cake, an exquisite treat drenched in olive oil, a confection that I’ve been in search of ever since I had my first olive oil cake in the south of France many years ago. Thankfully there’s a six-course tasting menu offered here at a reasonable price that provides the opportunity to try many of the delectable dishes offered at dish.
Now that the days are longer and warmer, après ski is best enjoyed outdoors. The deck at Cima at the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek offers the finest views and one of the most happening scenes in the whole Vail Valley. The festive ambiance builds throughout April in Vail/Beaver Creek, so there’s still plenty of fun to be had on and off the snow. As the air chills, head inside to experience Cima’s swanky decor and contemporary Latin cuisine. One of some thirty Richard Sandoval restaurants around the globe, Cima distinguishes itself with a unique menu that ranges from Latin-Asian to Pan-Latin to authentic and modern Mexican cuisine. Their bread service, composed of Spanish-styled corn muffins, Brazilian cheese bread and crispy crackers will woo you from the get-go. Specialties include seafood ceviche, flatbreads and entrées such as Bay of Fundy salmon, a salmon prepared with chile lime yams, kale, yuzu cured roe and black garlic. Rhythmic Latin music accompanies all this and more as smoothly as the wines amply poured by the glass. Many come to sample Cima’s innovative cocktails although their wine list is equally impressive, well-balanced, representating fine wines from all over the world. Sit back, relax and indulge. You can always spend the night in one of the upstairs rooms at this fashionable resort.
Here in Telluride, you might want to check out Flavor, one of the more recent additions to our vibrant dining scene. I like the fresh, clean look of this New Orleans-inspired bistrot; cream-colored walls serve as the backdrop for an array of famous music festival posters for which T-ride is famous and blond wood tables and chairs add to the light and airy feel of this intimate space. Chef-owner Eric Eckert offers a select menu representative of his Louisiana roots as well as his love for Colorado. Whether you choose fried oysters, Colorado lamb chops or poisson Provençal, you can bet that all will be skillfully prepared with the finest ingredients, many of which have been sourced regionally. Other specialties include P.E.I. mussels served up in a steamy broth of fennel, garlic, fines herbs, Pernod, a touch of cream and house-smoked tasso lardons (a Cajun-spiced pancetta), accompanied with grilled crostini-fabuleux! Beef lovers will enjoy the reasonably priced Kobe cheeseburger which consists of a half pound American kobe beef patty from a purveyor in Idaho. Be sure to save room for Flavor’s pumpkin chiffon pie, dressed with pumpkin seed brittle and homemade marshmallow brulé-yum. Good news, too: Flavor also serves breakfast and I can only imagine that it’s New Orleans-styled mighty fine.
Bagalis, 320 East Main Street, Frisco, 970-668-0601
eat! drink! dish, 56 Edwards Village Blvd., #104, Edwards, 970-926-1393
Cima at the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain, Avon, 970-790-5500
Flavor, 122 S. Oak Street, Telluride, 970-239-6047
Check out Great Rocky Mountain Decks: Spectacular Views Year-Round for more news on places to best enjoy spring in Colorado’s mountain resorts.
Keep in mind that off-season closings may occur at some locations mid to late April, so it’s best to call ahead to confirm opening times and/or to reserve.