Shopping: champagne charming online boutiques chocolates Colorado discounted online shopping dog collars Europe fashion accessories gift ideas galore handmade treasures holiday shopping memorabilia pet toys soaps
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OK, admit it. You haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet. And if you’re like many people, you haven’t even begun. That’s the case for me this year, which also explains why I’m late in posting my annual round up of online boutiques. Phew, I’ve been busy settling in after having been away from Colorado for over five months and more recently focusing on ski training and instructing–that always takes priority, especially when we have such glorious snow!
But I can no longer procrastinate. So I’ll be ordering today and tomorrow from many of the purveyors below and having gifts sent directly to loved ones. Most still guarantee Christmas arrival. And if not, c’est la vie, if the package arrives between Christmas and New Year’s that’s good, too. The important thing is to keep it simple and enjoy the process.
Now that I have Amazon Prime, I’ve been ordering lots of stuff in an attempt to stock our pantry for the winter season. Their one-click shopping and free shipping is super convenient, however, it’s totally charmless.
When it comes to gifting (for myself and others), I like more ambiance. You’ll find it in my curated selection below of favorite online boutiques. All offer a 10% discount to Bonjour Colorado readers. Be sure to mention it to the shop and/or type Bonjour into the coupon code section. Here’s a brief overview; for more detailed descriptions, visit my Online Shopping Page.
To me, toffee and Christmas go together like cookies and egg nog. Shop at Ruth’s Toffee for some of the best homemade toffee this side of the pond.
I love this festive shop chockfull off alpine treasures for the home, men, women, children and your most regal pets. Visiting this site is like opening an Old World Christmas box brimming with gift ideas galore. You can also buy signed copies of my travel memoir, A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France, at Alpen Schatz, too.
Our little fur babies deserve the best and you’ll find it here in the form of handmade toys for cats and dogs. Purrfect Play’s organic catnip-filled play thingies are the best around.
Henri’s Reserve Boutique
Celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, the New Year or just life in general with a primo bottle of champagne. Send off a beautifully-packaged bottle, gift set or enrollment to Henri’s Reserve Champagne Club to your friends, business contacts and loved ones. Cheers!
Fresh Soap Company
There’s nothing like pretty soap and you’ll find a beautiful selection of natural and handmade soaps, potions and lotions at this Colorado-based company.
The Autograph Source
Looking for something out of the ordinary? Try a piece of memorabilia signed by a famous–or infamous–person. The Autograph Source gives originality new meaning with every signature.
Remember to use the coupon code Bonjour with all the above purveyors (excepting REI) for your additional 10% discount.
Happy shopping and happy holidays to you!
Colorado Hotels & Lodging Restaurants Telluride Travel Trip Planning: Bootdoctors Colorado free air fare Holiday Prelude Inn at Lost Creek Mountain Lodge Telluride New Sheridan Hotel special deals Telluride Telluride lodging Telluride Resort Lodging Telluride Ski Resort The Peaks Resort & Spa
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Yay, it’s December! Yay, the ski area is open! Double yay, we have a good amount of fresh snow–a season total of over fifty inches so far! Yay, it’s the most beautiful time of the year in the most picturesque mountain town in America. Really. Telluride, Colorado gives festive new meaning all winter long and most especially right now and throughout these upcoming weeks.
After a super warm and dry November, the Telluride Ski Resort lifts are finally powering us up to the tops of the mountains we love so dearly.
Do you remember how you felt on Christmas Eve when you were a child? Well, that’s how many of us have been feeling lately. The excitement is palpable; it seems that just the thought of cruising down the hill basking in the fun and freedom that’s part of most every on-mountain experience has half the town giddy. I woke up at 5:30 in the morning on opening day in anticipation of the thrill of being out on the hill.
Although Telluride opened a week later than usual with just a handful of trails, more terrain will be available to us as of this Saturday. Then more after that, then more and more until the whole mountain reveals its full splendor. It’s like unwrapping presents during the Christmas season–it’s wonderful to savor opening them piecemeal instead of unfurling all faster than you can sip an egg nog. To me, holiday gifting is at it’s best when I give and receive packages over an extended period. And no, I can’t imagine the ski mountain opening up full-on on opening day. My legs couldn’t handle it! I’m still recovering from the three days on the hill I enjoyed this past weekend.
If you don’t live in T-ride, consider planning a pre-holiday getaway. This is when you can snatch up some great lodging deals and even some fresh pow before the Christmas crowds charge in. Voted #1 for scenery by SKI magazine, Telluride, Colorado truly is the prettiest mountain town in America, a Victorian gem that glitters even more brightly during the holiday season. Believe me, the views of both the mountains and the town rank among the most magical in the world. And that’s coming from a gal that lived eleven years in Paris, the City of Light extraordinaire.
I have to wrap up this post now so that I can head out to Noël Night one of the headline events of the season. Don’t worry, there’s more fun to come–from now through the New Year.
Best of all, you can still find great lodging, restaurant and spa deals through December 24 (and beyond, in some cases). You also can revel in free airfare throughout most of the season on flights originating from Denver and Los Angeles. Yes, that’s not a typo–see below for details.
So why not come here to ski, shop, celebrate or just get away from it all in one of the most festive places on earth?
There’s nothing like a great ski day, particularly when it happens in Telluride, Colorado. And the time spent afterward in the shops, restaurants, bars and hotels is vraiment magique.
Happy holidays to all!
Check out the specials from my favorite lodgers in Telluride: the New Sheridan Hotel, Mountain Lodge Telluride, The Peaks Resort & Spa, Inn at Lost Creek and Telluride Resort Lodging. Go to my Faves page to read more about what I’ve written on these landmark properties over the years. See below for more details on current news and special offers.
Visit Telluride Tourism to find out about the Holiday Prelude activities lined up in the town of Telluride and Telluride Mountain Village these upcoming weeks. Aside from Noël Night, one of my other best loved holiday times takes place in Telluride Mountain Village when Santa appears on the scene (often on the ski slopes with his elves). This year there will be a sleigh-full of activities taking place Saturday, December 17, including ice skating, free holiday movies and tree lighting and caroling. Be sure to check out Bootdoctors for some of the best holiday cheer around.
Mark your calendar for Tuesday, December 20 from 6 to 9pm at Club Red, when Telluride will be celebrating the 20-year anniversary of its beloved gondola. Here’s to the most fabulous gondola in the world–not only does it offer jaw-dropping views in a friendly, fast, efficient and super clean manner, but it remains free to all year-round! Come and toast this Telluride icon at this party that’s sure to be memorable.
The biggest buzz on the mountain is that Telluride Ski Resort has joined The Mountain Collective, a superlative collaboration among the world’s best ski resorts. If you purchase The Mountain Collective Pass, you’re entitled to an avalanche of free ski days in over a dozen first-class resorts as well as lots of other perks and privileges. In Telluride, for example, Collective guests enjoy ski benefits as well as a special lodging offer at The Peaks Resort & Spa. And that’s just for starters; check out The Mountain Collective for more.
This elegant mountain property offers a cozy cabin of lodging specials now through December 24. Keep checking in throughout the season for other exciting deals as well. New this year: Lunch at The View, Mountain Lodge’s signature restaurant, which also serves breakfast, après ski and dinner. Ski in for delicious food at excellent prices served within a spectacular great room. And as you might have guessed, the view ranks among the best in Telluride. (Read my story on The View and Chef Bud here.)
Indulge me while I sigh over this oh-so lovely hotel, restaurant and bar. No one can hide their affection for the beloved New Sheridan, let alone me. I could live the rest of my days at the New Sheridan Hotel, Restaurant & Bar. Considered the hub of Telluride for over a century, this historic gem may be considered the cherry on the cake of our town. I love the fact that despite their world-renowned reputation, they, too, offer sweet deals on lodging, food and adventures.
OK, I think here I’ve saved the best for last. Telluride Ski Resort and Mountain Lodge Telluride will be offering free flights to travelers originating from Denver and Los Angeles throughout the 2017 ski season, provided people book a stay at their properties. Mountain Lodge requires a three-night stay minimum; Telluride Ski Resort, which includes The Peaks Resort & Spa, Inn at Lost Creek and Telluride Resort Lodging, extends this offer with varying requirements, depending on the property. Promotions are subject to availability and some restrictions may apply, however, either way, this is a screaming deal.
Call Telluride Ski Resort at 877-635-3792 and Mountain Lodge Telluride at 866-368-6867 to chat about the particulars and/or to reserve. Be sure to mention the Free Air package!
Yay for travel to the Rocky Mountain West. Yay for deals in Telluride, Colorado.
Here’s wishing you a great season!
Art & Culture Colorado New York Shopping Telluride The Rockies: agnes martin Colorado dealing with stress deep breathing guggenheim New York Shopping Telluride
Let’s take a collective ten deep breaths. Ommmm. Remember to exhale long and completely. Now try doing that every hour. Yes, that’s ten deep breaths every hour, every day.
Whether consciously or subconsciously, most of us spend every hour of our day trying to manage our stress. We all have so much going on! And yes, one can even feel stressed in a beautiful mountain town surrounded by some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the world.
Just now, as I began to write this story, the internet at home here was all goofy. RRRRRrrrrrrr. Fortunately, I didn’t let that frustrated feeling set in and I just brushed it off (sort of) and decided to write free form without needing a speedy internet. Lots of letting go here.
I feel the need to address the stress subject with you because so many people have been distraught over the election results. Whether your candidate won or not, everyone has experienced a certain amount of stress over this. (Just think of the Trump supporter attempting to defend his president-elect on social media or at the water cooler. Or, even without saying anything, hearing all the opposition against his or her choice.) It’s hard to move on from it all, especially since the daily news flashes keep bringing bad news to the dems. Ugh.
Just think of the people directly implicated by this. I mean right now. My older brother, Frank Clemente, the driving force behind Americans for Tax Fairness, was to meet with Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren just after the election. Well, you can bet that meeting was cancelled. And now I’d imagine Frank’s work has quadrupled. So discouraging. more »
Four Corners Outdoor Adventures The Rockies The Southwest Travel: America's national parks Black Canyon of the Gunnison camping Ken Burns Mesa Verde national parks anniversary southwest Colorado
You’ve probably heard that 2016 marks the one-hundred-year anniversary of the National Park Service. Often referred to as America’s Best Idea, there are more than four hundred parks within our beautiful country and I think fall is one of the best times to visit them. In celebration of this milestone, there’s one more entrance-free day left and I find it appropriate that this one takes place on Veteran’s Day, November 11.
To me, it feels like I’m living within a national park in my home of Telluride, Colorado. I believe that Ken Burns, renowned filmmaker of America’s National Park series and many other inspiring documentaries, feels similarly. Perhaps this is why he spends so much time in our little box canyon mountain town. I did an interview with him a while back on our national parks that is still very pertinent today. Do check it out here.
Even so, I love venturing out and exploring the real deal. Fortunately, we have a couple national parks in Colorado within about an hour-and-a-half drive of Telluride: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Mesa Verde National Park. (The latter is also a World Heritage Site.) I visited the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park with my parents six years ago toward the end of a big southwest tour that also showcased Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. Click here to read Touring the Southwest with My Parents, which features those two world-renowned destinations. At the end of that trip, I also visited the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park with them and I highlight this amazing national park in Part Four of a series of stories I did about rafting in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. After you read about this little-known national park, check out Rafting and Roughing it on the Black Canyon of the Gunnison Part One, Part Two and Part Three–it was a big outdoor adventure that I hope to do again some day. You just might want to plan a similar trip there yourself.
Speaking of world famous sites, it always strikes me that at America’s National Parks I see an overwhelming number of foreigners. Sometimes I think they value what we have more than most of us. Possibly. In any event, I hope this story and the photos herein will prompt you to break out and savor what we are so blessed to behold within our nation’s borders. I also think it might be a great way to blow out some election overload!
Elderly Parents Girl Talk Romance & Relationships Writing & Books: dealing with clutter dealing with elderly parents decluttering Girl Talk mother/daughter relationships Writing & Books
I’m back. Or at least I hope so. This is by far the longest I’ve gone without posting a blog since I started Bonjour Colorado in 2008. Even throughout the craziness of working as a ski instructor at Telluride Ski Resort during epic snow years, I’ve never let so much time pass without being in touch. But I can’t begin to explain how upended my life has been these past months.
I never imagined that the death of one parent might trigger a whole series of events that would make my brain feel like mush. Honestly. (The six months leading up to this life-changing event were extremely stress inducing, however, the last few months have been mind numbing.)
I’ve barely been able to keep up with emails let alone string two sentences together for a story. I had a deadline for Forbes Travel a few weeks ago that I just kept putting off. I’ve never blown off deadlines like that but I felt like I couldn’t compose a proper sentence. Finally, I forced myself to sit down and commit to the act of writing. What first sounded like an instruction manual ended up reading with more of a flourish after an hour of tweaking, so that experience helped me to regain confidence in myself as someone that has not become totally unhinged.
From that point on, I swore I would write at least a couple of hours every day. It has been a couple of weeks and I’m just sitting down now to jot off a few lines. So much for deadlines and goals.
What have I been doing? Well, I guess the best response is I’ve been juggling a ton of physical, emotional and mental clutter. I’ve been seeking some kind of normalcy, some kind of routine while everything around me has been shifting and transforming like an iceberg in the Arctic during the month of July.
My father passed away in March and since then, there has been an endless series of to-dos, none of which have had much to do with my own work. I spent a sweet period of mourning this spring with my mother in upstate New York, during which time we started to adjust to the idea of Dad no longer being around while writing thank you notes to the many people that sent flowers, goodies, donations and mass cards. I also accompanied Mom to a lot of her doctors’ appointments and attempted to gain better knowledge of what was happening in her world.
Then as if my father was upstairs pulling strings, we learned that there was a serious offer on our house at Lake George in the Adirondacks. After having been on the market for almost five years, it seemed as though it was now time to sell. Well, you know what they say about death and moving.
Colorado Hotels & Lodging Mountain Living Restaurants Telluride The Rockies: Chop House Restaurant destination hotel Colorado fine dining Telluride New Sheridan night life Telluride spring in Telluride
I’m on Lake George in the Adirondacks now where I’ve been plunged into the luscious heat and humidity of an upstate New York summer. It feels glorious, especially as I sit here on the porch in a bathing suit and sarong typing away on my laptop. It has been quite the spring in Telluride, chilly and snowy all the way up through last Thursday. Of course you can never entirely put winter clothes away in the Rockies, but this year I needed good, sturdy boots right up to Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer.
As much as I’m happy to be sitting here in bare feet wiggling my toes, I was thrilled to experience that extraordinary time of the year when the mountains emerge from their deep winter slumber before I left. I witnessed the fuzzy buds of the aspens pop into bright leaves as the crystalline snows melted on their branches. The play of spring light against the fresh yellow-green of the season and the pure white snow made for a dazzling display of nature. I was happy this all happened during a time when I was busy running about to do errands because the panoramic views on my drives were beyond breathtaking. Changes in the leaves occurred seemingly by the minute. Indeed, it’s a wonderful time of the year for the earth to reawaken, especially in the mountains of Colorado.
I thought I’d share with you here some images from this time of year taken this year and last. I also wanted to tell you about a little-known secret: June is one of the best times of the year in the Rockies. In Telluride, it’s when Bluegrass happens (the third week in June), but first and foremost, it’s the month of some of the best weather of the year. The hills are truly coming alive during this time and although it might rain some in June, we’re not yet soaked with the monsoonal flows that hit the mountains in July and August. Yes, it’s a splendiferous time of the year. And the summer crowds have not yet arrived. (Not that it ever becomes very crowded in Telluride.)
My Hotel and Dining Recommendation
Truly a destination hotel, the historic New Sheridan has long served as the hub of Telluride. And as much as I don’t like to play favorites, I would go so far as to say that this glittering establishment stands out as my all-time favorite place to be in Telluride. It’s the place to go to dine, drink, savor an elegant hotel stay and just while away some time as you watch the fun and playful doings of our beautiful mountain town unfold before you. I stayed here for a night almost year ago with my boyfriend, Steve, and it was one of the best staycations you could imagine. Highlights included late-night drinks at the bar, luxurious accommodations and a superb brunch in the Chop House Restaurant. So many of the sights, sounds and smells from that stay still tingle my senses; the pop, pop, pop of the opening of bubbly for the Sunday brunch still echo in my mind along with the stillness of the night as seen, heard and experienced from our beautiful room. A true bastion of tradition and refinement, the New Sheridan perfectly embodies the spirit of Old World grandeur and old mining town charm.
When in Telluride, be sure to make your way to the recently opened New Sheridan rooftop bar, last summer’s talk of the town. Here are a couple of photos from a fun time I shared there last September with a good friend.
Paris Restaurants: Julien Le Vaudeville Paris brasseries Paris dining Paris terrace dining
Last week there was a NYT piece circulating on the internet about how Paris’s high-end restaurants are experiencing a bit of une crise. Some blamed the aftermath of the Paris attacks while others blatantly stated that there’s no need to blow your budget on a fancy-schmancy night out when there are so many wonderful meals to be enjoyed at a host of other restaurants, brasseries, bistrots and cafés in the French capital. Clearly, it doesn’t have to be all about whether un resto has a star or not.
This social media conversation prompted me to think about two of my favorite Paris restaurants: Le Vaudeville and Julien. These landmark establishments rank as what the French would call une valeur sûre, or a sure value. Indeed, when you dine–for lunch or dinner–at either of them you know you’re going to delight in a fine meal in a lively setting served with aplomb. The décor of each ranks among the most historic of Paris and a moment passed here will dazzle both your eyes and spirit. It’s no wonder these long-established restaurants are considered institutions in a city that boasts some of the finest dining experiences in the whole world.
Albany Music & Dance Restaurants Saratoga Springs Writing & Books: Augusten Burroughs book signings Saratoga Café Capriccio dining Albany dining capital district area dining Saratoga entertainment Albany Mrs. London's Northshire Bookstore Sam Bush The Egg Wheatfields
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My Mom and I laid low during the few weeks after my father passed away in March at our family home in Troy, New York. Then I said, “Let’s have some fun.”
After a few minutes of reflection, Mom said, “Yes, I’d like to break out and enjoy myself. Although don’t take too many pictures because officially I’m in mourning.”
The heck with old conventions–we’re no longer entrenched in the burdensome customs of the Victorian Age; Mom was long overdue for a little gaiety in her life. (I do, however, think there’s a lot to be said for the nineteenth-century tradition of wearing black for at least a year. It indicated to people ‘I’m vulnerable. Be kind to me.’ But I suppose that’s a thing of the past–people would just think we dressed very New Yorkish. Or Goth.)
So I checked out what was happening in the capital district area, the region that encompasses Albany, Schenectady and Troy as well as the event listings for Saratoga Springs, New York, the quaint old town just forty-five minutes north of us where I lived five years prior to moving to Colorado. Of course I zeroed in on what interested me the most in the Entertainment section of the Times Union; fortunately Mom and I have very similar tastes.
I snatched up tickets for a Sam Bush concert at The Egg in Albany and a book event featuring Augusten Burroughs, put on by the renowned Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga. Mom agreed to treat us to dinner and suddenly we felt excited about life again. With all the care-taking Mom did for Dad the past six months, there’s no doubt that these plans promised to buoy her back to more fun-loving days.