Touring Country Stores in Stowe, Vermont with Mom

Mom and I Shopping in Vermont

Since 1895: Shaw’s General Store

Vermont Country Road

Mom at Stowe Mercantile

My how I’ve been blessed with being back East this fall. The weather has been glorious throughout upstate New York and New England. (I think it has actually been pretty beautiful along the whole East Coast with the exception of down south.) We’ve been experiencing true Indian summer weather–East Indian, in fact, with some days hitting temps as high as 90 degrees!

The annual autumnal festival of colors with regard to leaf peeping has started late this year. (The abundance of jewel-toned mums, however, rates among one of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen. I we don’t have such a display in Colorado.) A brilliant kaleidoscope of fall colors is just now emerging in many parts of the Northeast.

Designer Mum

Magnificent Mums

This fall is not likely to rank among the most spectacular, since many of the maple trees have been stricken with a fungus that has made their foliage look blah. Plus, we have not yet had enough chilly nights to force the color to change into eye-popping hues of red, orange and gold. But isn’t fall always beautiful? I think so. For me, it has already been memorable.

Brick-Toned Beauty Before the Leaves Even Change

Ready for Winter at Nebraska Knoll Sugar Farm

That’s because two weeks ago mom and I headed out for a road trip to Vermont. It was just a two-night stay, however, we packed a lot in. My mother and I have always traveled a good amount together but this was the first real getaway of its kind in two years. There’s no doubt that as you grow older, home offers greater appeal and traveling seems like more of a chore.

Still, mom rose to the occasion and off to Vermont we went. We beat the path that we had tamped down–heading northeast out Route 7 from Troy, New York–for many years throughout our lives. This time, however, we were venturing far beyond our usual destinations of Bennington, Arlington and Manchester, Vermont. This time we were headed way up. Three-and-a-half-hours up.

“I always wanted to go to Stowe,” mom told me as I navigated the sinewy roads of the Green Mountain state, by then dashing along Route 100 past Rutland. (Yes, mom thought I was going too fast around the innumerable bends in the road.)

Pumpkin Potpourri at Cold Hollow Cider Mill

“Really? I didn’t know that.”

“Yes, I wanted your father to take us all there on a ski trip.”

“Wow, that’s the first time I’ve heard that,” I said. I remember the very first time I skied. I had a terrible time. It was so cold and the equipment felt so heavy. But I remember the lodge and the whole ambiance. I just loved the cozy scene in Vermont. I think it was during a New Year’s holiday. I think I was about five–is that right, mom?”

Stowe and Skiing Go Together Like Rolling Hills and Vermont

And so we prattled on, trading thoughts and memories about what we loved so much about Vermont.

Salt and Pepper Shakers from Stowe Mercantile

In truth, most of our mother/daughter escapes to Vermont revolved around day trips. We’d leave early in the day, enjoy the scenic drive, have lunch in a country inn and then poke about in quaint shops. We’d return with the car loaded with goods and goodies, a mostly made-in-Vermont haul that we’d have to sneak in to keep out of sight from “the boys” and my father (six fellas in all). It was female bonding at its best. Sure, we’d share cider and syrup with them but many of our treasures were stashed away in order to avoid looking like spendthrifts.

In truth, we didn’t buy a whole lot, mostly wool sweaters, candles and knickknacks. It was how and where we bought everything that had the most significance for mom and me. It was out of these forays to Vermont country stores that my love for shopping and touring in authentic places was born. So many of these bastions of tradition and charm spoke to me, so much so that I could hardly tolerate shopping and browsing in department stores or other big, impersonal retail outlets the rest of the time.

Little did I know that these excursions would plant the seeds for me to found Chic Promenade, a Paris shopping service where I organized visits behind-the-scenes at the big names as well as tours to the off-the-beaten-path boutiques of the French capital. I later went on to write three guidebooks on Paris and one on the French provinces. (Read about The Riches of Paris: A Shopping and Touring Guide and The Riches of France: A Shopping and Touring Guide to the French Provinces as well as my travel memoir, A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France at Maribeth’s Books.)

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1 Dec 2016, 12:09pm

Comments Off on Online Shopping

Online Shopping

I’m a big advocate of shopping locally or shopping during your travels, however, we all have friends and family that live far away that we want to remember at different times throughout the year. Plus sometimes we can’t find what we want locally, so we often shop online for ourselves.

I’ve surfed the Internet and have found some of the most alluring shopping Web sites around. I invite you to browse through the lovely online boutiques I often feature in blog posts under my Shopping category.

The below online boutiques figure among my favorites and even better, they are all offering between 8 and 10% off to Bonjour Colorado readers. Be sure to enter the correct promo code or mention Bonjour Colorado to receive your discount. KNOW THAT IN SOME CASES THE CODE IS CASE SENSITIVE, SO BE SURE TO TYPE IN the code CORRECTLY as specified for each purveyor.

Come back soon to find more!

Ruth’s Tempting Toffee

Extra-ordinary Toffee

Just outside of Telluride, there’s a little lady by the name of Ruth that makes the most mouth-watering toffee you’ll ever taste. Her crunchy almond confection, known as Ruth’s Toffee, has become a favorite of mine since I first tasted it some time ago. It’s easy to tell that it’s artisanally made and heaps of love are added to every batch. The price is right, too. Type in the code Bonjour to receive a 10% discount.

Henri’s Reserve Champagne Boutique

Henri’s Reserve

Henri’s Reserve is a curated e-boutique of impossible-to-find artisanal champagnes, creative gifts and first-time bubbly experiences.You may choose from Champagne Gifts, Tasting Gift Sets and Champagne Clubs at price points starting at $45. Their packaging is divine and they also offer complementary gift wrapping and free shipping on any twelve bottles. Vive Henri’s! Vive la France! Read more of what I have to say about Henri’s Reserve at Champagne Cheers from Henri’s Reserve. Use Bonjour code to receive your 10% discount.

Alpen Schatz Alpine Treasures

Alpen Schatz Swiss Dog Collars

Alpen Schatz started out by importing Swiss dog collars, beautiful handcrafted works that depict alpine scenes in brass and silver on leather bands.  Men and women can also be a part of the 250-year old tradition from the Alps by donning a fashionable belt, also adorned with the same iconic images of Switzerland.  You can find these along with Italian silk scarves, Edelweiss-inspired jewelry, imported felt hats and home furnishings such as hand painted Old World wooden wall plaques and traditional European arts and crafts including holiday table ornaments, both of which are pictured above.  Mary Dawn DeBraie, a proud Europhile who lived many years in Germany and England, founded Alpen Schatz, the Web-based company and its showcase boutique.  We’re friends and I’ve featured our travel adventures together (sometimes with her dogs) in several stories. You can also buy signed copies of my travel memoir/love story, A Tour of the Heart, from Alpen Schatz. The shop is located in Telluride, so stop by next time you’re in town! Alpen Schatz is offering readers a 10% discount on online orders. Just type in Bonjour upon check out to receive your special price.


Autographs and Collectibles from The Autograph Source

Lincoln Document from The Autograph Source

If you’re looking for something truly unique and meaningful, check out The Autograph Source. This Aspen-based shop and online boutique sources investment-quality historic documents and sports, music and movie memorabilia from all over the world. There’s something for every collector in every price range at The Autograph Source. Type in Bonjour into the comments section to receive a 10% discount.


The Best Toys and More for Cats and Dogs from Purrfect Play

Hours of Play with Purrfect Play

Who doesn’t want to spoil their pets? If you (or your friends and family) have a cat you absolutely must order some of Purrfect Play’s organic cat toys. They are the best ever—I promise you. My two babies delighted in months of sniffing, snuggling and kicking with these products, all made from organic, natural fibers. I have not tested Purrfect Play’s dog toys but I can only imagine that they’re a big hit with the pups as well. Type in promo code Bonjour to receive your 10% discount.

Kim from Fresh Soap Company

Handmade Soaps and Other Gift Items from Fresh Soap Company

I discovered these lovely products during a trip to Breckenridge, Colorado. Kim Nieuwoudt bills herself as the owner/artist/ chief dish washer of Fresh Soap Company, a lovely little establishment tucked within this historic mountain town. Online shopping from Fresh Soap Company is almost as fun, so enjoy perusing Kim’s selection of delectable-looking handmade cold process and glycerine soaps. Her bath bombs and scrubs look and feel pretty zippy, too. Type in code Bonjour to receive an extra 10% off.



Outfit Yourself at REI

Outfit Yourself at REI

Looking for some top-quality recreation gear, sporting goods or perhaps just a cozy fleece? Check out REI, Recreational Equipment Inc., one of the leading American retailers for pretty much all that you need to have fun in the outdoors and to relax inside. REI is a consumers’ cooperative that sells a lifestyle. If you shop at one of their stores, you’ll find the friendliest, most knowledgeable and helpful folks to give you a hand. Fortunately shopping online at REI also offers a stress-free experience while allowing you to do it from the comfort of your home, work or campsite (if you’re not in too remote of an area). I highlight REI in my story Glamping Through Breast Cancer Fears. Be sure to check out REI-Outlet as well for some killer deals.

Feasting on Fondue and Raclette in Telluride

A Bubbling Pot of Fondue at Alpinist and the Goat

A Bubbling Pot of Fondue at Alpinist and the Goat

Providing a Heartwarming Welcome

Providing a Heartwarming Welcome

Serving Up the Bubbles

Serving Up the Bubbles

Brrrr. Baby it’s been cold outside, at least here in the Rocky Mountains. Tis the season to eat lots of warm, hearty foods–calorie-rich meals that refuel you after charging down the slopes all day at Telluride Ski Resort.

And baby do I have a recommendation for you. Book your table at Alpinist and the Goat where you can delight in melted cheese in its most delectable forms: fondue and raclette. Both specialties from the Alps, here these convivial dishes are served with salad, seasoned bread and apples. For the fondue, you can choose from seven different options such as traditional, truffle and Cortina, a twist on the classic recipe blended with creamy gorgonzola. More adventuresome gastronomes will want to try the Basquel, a spicy fondue made with traditional Emmenthaler, Manchego and chorizo or Cajun Fondeaux, a rich blend of cheese finished with crawfish tails and Cajun seasonings. Yum. Leave it to Americans to innovate a centuries-old classic from the Alps.

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Holiday Online Shopping Recommendations 2015

Swiss Dog Collars and Leashes for Your Precious Pups from Alpen Schatz

Swiss Dog Collars and Leashes for Your Precious Pups from Alpen Schatz

Terrace Holiday-Pretty Plates from Quel Objet

Terafeu Holiday-Pretty Plates from Quel Objet

A Superlative Blanc de Blanc from Henri's Reserve

A Superlative Blanc de Blancs from Henri’s Reserve

Well, it’s that time of year again. Time to think about shopping. Oh wait, you’ve probably been thinking about it–and even doing some of it–the past week. Good on you if that’s the case. Others (like me) haven’t even begun to tackle their holiday shopping despite a deluge of offers that have flooded our inboxes.

I recommend keeping it simple and shopping online for those on your list that live a distance from you. Have that something special sent directly to their door, so that you don’t have to put up with all the wrapping, packaging and waiting in line at your local post office or shipper. And while you’re at it, pick up something for yourself because that’s just what we do when holiday shopping.

I showcase a curated list of favorite purveyors at my Online Shopping Page, most of whom offer discounts between 8 and 10% to Bonjour Colorado readers. Go directly there if you want my more lengthy descriptions. Otherwise, check out my highlights and some other add-ons below.

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2 Dec 2013, 4:21pm
Colorado Shopping Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride:
Comments Off on Telluride Ski Resort Opening Weekend: A Great Kickoff to the Season

Telluride Ski Resort Opening Weekend: A Great Kickoff to the Season

Selfies Are Even Sweeter When You're Skiing at Almost 12,000 Feet the First Day of the Season with Your Sweetie

Selfies Are Even Sweeter When You’re Skiing at Almost 12,000 Feet the First Day of the Season with Your Sweetie

Nice Corduroy

Nice Corduroy

Woo-hoo! What a fun few days it has been. I’m giving my legs a rest today after having skied a bunch with friends, my hunny and by myself over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Telluride Ski Resort had one of its best openings ever, thanks largely to an abundance of storms in November, improved snowmaking, blue skies and pleasant temperatures. There was so much of the mountain to explore off of our familiar loop—the network of trails connecting lifts 4, 5 & 6—that my legs are screaming.

It was all so good that it was hard to stop. (Usually when I ski into shape—from my sedentary writer’s life—I start out with just an hour a day and increase an hour each day out. But no, this year the snow was too sweet.) We also received a lot of nice, wet snow last month which pasted in the mountain amazingly well. Indeed, the coverage is fantastic and with more snow forecasted for tomorrow, it looks like we’ll have one of the best early seasons ever.

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20 Sep 2013, 8:36am
Colorado Pet-Friendly Travel Telluride Travel:
Comments Off on Traveling Like a Pampered Pet and Other Tales from the Road

Traveling Like a Pampered Pet and Other Tales from the Road

Tino and DaVinci at Home at Country Lodge Montrose

Tino and DaVinci at Home at Country Lodge Montrose

DaVinci Warming Up My Bed

DaVinci Warming Up My Bed

Ahhhhh, travel. It often means the best of times and the worst of times—typically all within the same day. Living in Telluride, Colorado, a remote mountain town, poses added challenges, especially when it comes to airports and airlines. On the plus side, the Montrose/Telluride airport is small and easy to deal with—the kind of place where you can get away with showing up just minutes before boarding your flight. The hour-and-a-half drive there from Telluride also ranks as one of the most scenic in the country—perhaps the world—affording dramatic views of 14,000 foot peaks and sprawling ranches right out of a Ralph Lauren advertisement. (Actually you do drive by the Double RL Ranch, Ralph and Ricky Lauren’s spread, on your way to Telluride from Montrose.) Also, once you arrive in T-ride and discover the raw beauty of this unspoiled place, the fact that there’s not a stoplight within fifty miles or a big box store or other signs of “the masses,” you realize the effort required to get there is more than worth it. The advantages to finding paradise in a remote locale are innumerable, particularly in the winter when visitors and locals alike praise the mountain for its many fine qualities including the fact that you ski or ride right up to the lift at Telluride Ski Resort without even having to pause long enough to snag a Kleenex in line.

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Dogs on Vacation

DaVinci & Valentino Heading Out on One of Their Road Trips

DaVinci & Valentino

Mighty Valentino Testing Out the Red Rock in Moab, Utah

Mighty Valentino Testing Out the Red Rock in Moab, Utah

Warning:  This story includes tons of adorable photos of pups.

Woof, woof. Bark, bark. I’ve never seen so many happy dogs in my life as those that have padded, trotted and trounced through our little mountain town of Telluride, Colorado these past weeks. Little, big, short-haired, long-haired, well-groomed or scruffy, they all have an air de vacances, a certain joie de vivre that makes it clear they’re happy to be a part of their mom and dad’s vacation as well.

As a confirmed cat person, I hadn’t had much experience traveling with dogs up until over a year ago when I went on a road trip with my friend Mary Dawn (MD) and Valentino, her beautiful Bernese Mountain dog. Our travels, which I recount in my story, Travels with Valentino, culminated with the choosing of DaVinci, a new brother for Tino. As of last fall, we thought DaVinci was big enough to accompany us on a couple more trips:  one to Moab and Salt Lake City, Utah; the other to Denver, Beaver Creek and the Vail Valley. I tell you, these dogs get around. And wherever they go, they are greeted with a fanfare of enthusiasm that makes me happy to just be tagging along. Here are some of the highlights from the best pet-friendly properties we visited on our jaunts:

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22 Apr 2013, 1:26pm
Hotels & Lodging Restaurants Skiing & Snowboarding The Rockies Utah:
Comments Off on Heber, Midway and Blue Boar Inn: Embracing European Tradition in Utah’s Heartland

Heber, Midway and Blue Boar Inn: Embracing European Tradition in Utah’s Heartland

The Dining Room at Blue Boar Inn

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.

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