Touring the Southwest with My Parents

A Great Facebook Profile Picture: Dad at the Grand Canyon

Are you familiar with those digital photo frames that display a continuous stream of select images? Well, I was back east in October visiting my parents and brought one of those frames to them as a gift. We had to enlist outside help (thanks Brian) to transfer my images onto the frame (I’m so eighteenth century), but once it started to flash our faces across the screen, we all beamed. My father especially glowed since he was finally able to see himself backdropped by a parade of images from the Grand Canyon and other notable sites in the Southwest. It was like bringing him back to the South Rim of the Canyon to gaze over the vastness and grandeur of what is most certainly our country’s greatest treasure.

We embarked on our two-week Western Jamboree just about a year ago. Fall and even winter are two fantastic seasons for visiting many of our National Parks, especially the Grand Canyon. During these times the wondrous play of light combined with a lack of crowds make these sites even more enchanting. The focal point of our trip was to be the Grand Canyon, a place my father always dreamed of seeing. At the age of eighty-four, we were ready to grant him his wish.

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Touring Iconic Monument Valley

Deep Within Monument Valley

Deep Within Monument Valley

We’ve delighted in exceptionally warm and sunny weather these past five to six weeks here in Colorado. And the colors have been glorious. A cold front blew in over the weekend, however, and now most of the trees are bare. It’s been raining a lot these past twenty-four hours and although the peaks are capped in white, our mountain landscapes appear ready for a big snowstorm. Let’s hope the fluffy white stuff starts piling up from here on out and that we have a great ski season in Telluride and the rest of Colorado.

Until that happens though, many Coloradans will be heading to the desert; it’s not far for most of us and it’s a great way to extend summer. Plus, the crowds of tourists have dispersed, which makes experiencing these wondrous places of nature more enjoyable. I’ve taken some of my best trips to Utah, Arizona and New Mexico during the fall and spring and I’m sure I’ll hit the road to one of my favorite Southwestern destinations within the next few weeks as well.

Monument Valley Is Calling Me

Monument Valley Is Calling Me

Touring Monument Valley with Goulding's

Touring Monument Valley with Goulding’s

Less than a four-hour drive from southwest Colorado, Monument Valley, one of America’s most spectacular sites, is one of my top choices. Situated both in Arizona and Utah, the panoply of sun-baked reds, russets, ochres and golds of the monuments appears even more magical beneath the burnished glow of autumn. In Touring the Southwest with My Parents, you can read about a trip I took to this part of the West with my parents during fall a while back. My parents loved it although I think they might have thought I was a little crazy with all my oohing and aahing. But at least I didn’t let my commentaries interfere with the solitude one feels at such an awe-inspiring place.

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7 Jul 2013, 3:38pm
Art & Culture Colorado Four Corners Hotels & Lodging Telluride The Southwest Travel Utah:
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The Lone Ranger Showcases Monument Valley, Southwest Colorado and More


The Lone Ranger and Tonto in Monument Valley

The Lone Ranger and Tonto in Monument Valley

“Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!”

Such are the famous words shouted by the Lone Ranger as this masked man gallops off on Silver, his handsome white stallion, the same words shouted by kids throughout the decades as they head off on an adventure. Ever since the original radio show aired in 1933, through the popular TV series of the forties and fifties, across the pages of comic books and then highlighted in films, “Hi-Yo Silver!” has captured the excitement and dashing spirit of the West for the better part of a century.

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Celebrating 100 years of Our National Parks at Mesa Verde

Spruce Tree House Cliff Dwelling at Mesa Verde

Spruce Tree House Cliff Dwelling at Mesa Verde

Me Overlooking Spruce Tree House

Me Overlooking Spruce Tree House

Touring Mesa Verde National Park

Touring Mesa Verde National Park

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!

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7 Dec 2015, 10:41am



There’s nothing like someone providing firsthand recommendations for lodging and other travel services. It’s even better when those tips come from a travel writer.

Well, that travel writer is me! I’ve written four guidebooks on France and have traveled the world, so believe me when I say I’m very particular about where I choose to stay. A place has to have charm, warmth and a feel of its own. Luxury helps, too, but as long as a property possesses spirit and authenticity, then I’m apt to add it to my list as well. As far as the travel services are concerned, the product has to be top notch.

The below establishments and services now sponsor me in my endeavors. I discovered them first and made up my mind that these were the kind of travel suppliers I wanted to recommend to you, my dear reader. I do indeed consider them among my faves or favorites.

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Happy travel planning!


The New Sheridan: A Telluride Landmark

New Sheridan Hotel: A Real Gem

New Sheridan Hotel, Telluride

This Telluride landmark has served as the hub of T-ride for well more than a century. Definitely check out my story on this destination hotel here. It also includes reasons why Telluride is so great. I also mention the New Sheridan Hotel in Fall in Telluride:  A Beautiful Time for Sightseeing and Winter Travel PlanningFilling in Nicely in Telluride:  Snowstorm After SnowstormColorado:  A Stunning Place for WeddingsGrateful for Telluride and Telluride Ski Resort, June in the Rockies:  A Gorgeous Time of the Year and Dealing with Altitude Issues at Our High Mountain Destinations. The terrific New Sheridan Chop House is reviewed in Favorite Telluride Restaurants. This stellar property and Ray Farnsworth, the New Sheridan’s GM, is featured in Telluride Tourism’s Top Dogs.

Mountain Lodge, Telluride

Mountain Lodge Pool Deck

Stay at this handsome lodge to experience luxury mountain living in Telluride. (Most of the units and all of their high-end cabins boast fully-equipped kitchens.)  Located in Telluride’s Mountain Village, Mountain Lodge Telluride also offers great ski in/ski out access. There’s mention of Mountain Lodge Telluride in the following posts:  Night out in Mountain VillageTogethering in the RockiesTelluride’s Beauty Boutiques, Three Men, Three Telluride Mountain Village Restaurants, Great Rocky Mountain Decks:  Spectacular Views Year-RoundFilling in Nicely in Telluride:  Snowstorm After SnowstormGreat Fall Travel in the Rockies,  Ski In/Ski Out to Great Snow in ColoradoColorado:  A Stunning Place for WeddingsChef Bud Creates an Elevated Dining Experience at Mountain Lodge TellurideGrateful for Telluride and Telluride Ski Resort and Dealing with Altitude Issues at Our High Mountain Destinations. Steve Togni, Mountain Lodge’s GM and my beau, is highlighted in many of these stories, most notably Telluride Tourism’s Top Dogs.

The Peaks Spa: Where I Go to Relax

The Peaks Spa: Where I Go to Relax

The Peaks Resort & Spa, Telluride

As one of the anchors of Telluride Mountain Village, locals and visitors alike enjoy experiencing The Peaks Resort & Spa year-round. I’m crazy about their spa and love the feel of their Palmyra Restaurant, a stunning showcase for panoramic views and fine culinary offerings. On a nice day—winter or summer—their expansive new deck is a must. Read about The Peaks at Telluride’s Ultra Luxe Mountain SpasSpray Tanning: Bronzage in a Bottle,  Great Rocky Mountain Decks:  Spectacular Views Year-RoundFilling in Nicely in Telluride:  Snowstorm After SnowstormSki In/Ski Out to Great Snow in Colorado and Dipping, Dining and Viewing at The Peaks Resort & Spa.

Camel’s Garden, Telluride

Camel's Garden on the Gondola Plaza

Camel’s Garden on the Gondola Plaza

If you’re looking to stay in the historic town of Telluride and are perhaps in search of a condo-type unit, I recommend the Camel’s Garden. Situated at the base of the gondola, you can’t beat its central location. And since this fresh-faced property also operates as a hotel, you enjoy all the amenities offered by a fine place of lodging including in-house breakfast, concierge service and more. Read more about this boutique hotel at Camel’s Garden:  A Telluride Favorite and Ski In/Ski Out to Great Snow in Colorado.

Sheraton Steamboat Resort

Sheraton Steamboat Resort

Sheraton Steamboat Resort

There’s nothing like being right at the base of a ski mountain and at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort, that’s exactly where you’ll be. You can ski, hike and bike right out your door. Read Skiing Steamboat Powder and Bike Riding In and Around Our Beautiful Mountain Towns to find out what I have to say about Steamboat as a destination and this premier resort.

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Cozying Up at the Redstone Inn

Redstone Inn, Redstone

Just fifty minutes outside of Aspen and nestled in some of the most unspoiled nature of Colorado, you’ll find the quaint town of Redstone with the Redstone Inn as its anchor. Read about this charming place of lodging in the stories Redstone Rendez-Vous and Bike Race Spectating, Colorado Touring, Book Promoting, Travel Adventures Galore Oh My.

Chipeta Sun Lodge: Southwestern Charm in the Rockies

Chipeta Sun Lodge: Southwestern Charm in the Rockies

Chipeta Sun Lodge, Ridgway

Conveniently located near Telluride and Ouray, Colorado, this Chipeta Sun Lodge provides the perfect base for experiencing the best of the San Juan Mountains. Chipeta also offers an affordable alternative to staying in Telluride and most of their units have been outfitted with kitchens. Be sure to check out Chipeta Sun Lodge & Spa:  Spirit of the the Southwest in the Rockies and Garden Love.

Gateway Canyons, Gateway

Southwestern Sensation Just Minutes from the Mountains

What kind of a retreat do you think would be created by the man who founded the Discovery Channel? A pretty, darn spectacular one, don’t you think? Gateway has become one of my favorite resorts in the West. Read what I have to say about it at Gateway Canyons:  One Big Discovery, Going to Gateway, BBQ, Blues and Beauty at Gateway,  Ferraris, Blues, Brews and the Rocky Mountains and Road Tripping in the Great American West.


Rochester Hotel, Durango

Rochester Hotel, Durango

Rochester Hotel, Durango

A wagon train of western movies were made in and around Durango, Colorado and the Rochester Hotel pays tribute to many of them. I love this hotel, one of the coziest outposts in the West!  Read more (and listen to a podcast) about Durango, the San Juan Skyway and the Western Movie Culture of the Four Corners Region here. The Rochester is also highlighted in On the Trail of Western Movie-Making in Colorado and Utah and Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad:  An American Treasure. Check out Sultry Summer Evenings at Durango’s Rochester Hotel to find out about some of their special events.


More Fine Colorado Hotels

For families visiting the lovely little mountain town of Ouray, I recommend Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs. Read about it at Our Ouray. You can also peruse my Colorado hotel category here.


Goulding’s Lodge, Monument Valley

Monument Valley

The Four Corners area is about a two-hour drive from Telluride, Colorado, my home base. Just a couple of hours beyond that, you find yourself at one of the most spectacular sites in the United States, Monument Valley. This historic lodge, trading post and museum is a must. Read what I have to say about Monument Valley and Goulding’s Lodge at Touring the Southwest with My ParentsOn the Trail of Western Movie-Making CultureThe Lone Ranger Showcases Monument Valley, Southwest Colorado and MoreTelluride, Monument Valley and the Oscars and Road Tripping in the Great American West.

Hotel Monaco, Salt Lake City


Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City

The place to stay in SLC, you’re always guaranteed a fun time at this swanky hotel. Dogs love the Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City, too, as you can tell from my story Dogs on Vacation.


If you’re headed to Washington, D.C., be sure to experience—even just for a drink—The Fairfax at Embassy Row. I feature it and its renowned restaurant, The Jockey Club Restaurant & Lounge, in The Elegance of Paris in Our Nation’s Capital:  The Fairfax at Embassy Row.

Check out my Hotel category for many other lovely establishments around the world.


Gorgeous Golfing at Telluride Ski & Golf

Telluride Ski & Golf

As a travel writer that lives in Telluride and more than moonlights as a ski instructor at the Telluride Ski Resort, I’ve posted a gazillion stories on this blog that highlight Telluride Ski & Golf. Here are just a handful of them:  Grateful for Telluride and Telluride Ski ResortTelluride, Forbes and MeGirl Power Extraordinaire:  Women from the Telluride Ski & Snowboard School, Part OneSkiing with Rock Stars:  Schussing with Telluride’s Synchronized Ski TeamsReflections on My Ten Years as a Ski Instructor, More Expert Ski and Snowboard Instruction and Fun in Telluride, Teaching, Training and Torchlighting with the Telluride Ski & Snowboard School, Telluride Ski Resort Opening Weekend:  A Great Kickoff to the Season, Ski FeverAll in the Day of a Ski InstructorSki In/Ski Out to Great Snow in Colorado, Telluride Women’s Weeks 2015Telluride Women’s Week:  Skiing and Fun for the Ladies, Talking about Telluride Ski and Snowboard School, Why Telluride, Playing Tourist in Telluride, Snowboardcross World Cup:  Telluride Goes International, Family Fun Facilitators. By now you should gather that I think a visit to Telluride, Colorado should be tops on your list.


Bootdoctors/Paragon Outdoors

Bootdoctors/Paragon Outdoors

As a ski instructor and outdoor enthusiast, you can bet I have favorite shops and outfitters here in Telluride. Bootdoctors/Paragon Outdoors, a beloved choice by locals and visitors alike, keeps us active types properly suited up and geared out all year long. And they actually guide us to the fun here in southwestern Colorado. Read my story Spring Skiing, Spring Shopping to find out how they got me hooked up with great skis. Check out Bootdoctors Offers Further Adventures and Bike Riding in and Around Our Beautiful Mountain Towns to hear about their summer doings. Read The Look on the Slopes:  Early Ski Season 2013-2014 to find out about their fantastic array of fashions and Finding Happy Feet at Bootdoctors to learn about the magic they can work on your feet and Grateful for Telluride and the Telluride Ski Resort to find out how much they’re loved by us locals.


Telluride Blues & Brews Festival

Telluride Blues & Brews Festival: The Place to be Mid-September

You have to experience a Telluride festival at least once in your life. And if you’re like most people, once you take in one of our renowned gatherings in our pristine mountain setting, you’ll be back again for more. Telluride Blues & Brews Festival is one of the best, especially since it takes place during the golden season of late summer, usually the third weekend on September. Read Always on My Mind:  Telluride Blues & Brews Festival and Willie Nelson, Telluride Blues & Brews Promises More Fun than Ever this YearFilm, Blues & Brews, Telluride Makes Saying Goodbye to Summer Easy and KOTO Broadcasts the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival to All. Listen to my interview with the founder of this festival at Steve Gumble Brings Us Telluride Blues & Brews and More.

One of Au Château’s Many Grand Properties

au Château

What could be more dreamy than staying in the French countryside in a centuries-old château? You can find just the place suited to your taste and itinerary at au Château. Read what I have to say about this wonderful lodging experience at Oh Château Life!

TLC from Medjet Assist

TLC from Medjet Assist



Medjet Assist

Do not leave home without it, especially if you’re an active person! I’ve obtained a special 10% discount for readers so if something not-so good happens to you while you’re away, you’ll be taken care of with much TLC. Click here to find out more and to sign up; note that prices have already been discounted for you by 10%. Read my story and listen to the podcast here.

Fine China

Fine China

Imperial Tours

Thinking about taking that once-in-a-lifetime trip to China? Or maybe you want to go back to this fascinating land to take a closer look at perhaps the gumdrop mountains of Guilin or the brave faces of the Terracotta Warriors. The main thing is to do it right and whether you’re interested in a private or group tour, you’re sure to do it in style with Imperial Tours. Check out my story Touring China:  Imperial Allure. There you can also listen to a podcast that provides lots of information about travel to China. Read Imperial Shopping to China to find out about a special shopping trip.




Road Tripping in the Great American West

Mt. Crested Butte

Mt. Crested Butte

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

There’s nothing like a good, old fashioned road trip to give you a terrific sense of freedom. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that you go under your own steam–that you’re not reliant on a plane, train, bus or boat to get you to your destination. The fact that you’re the captain of your ship means that you can leave when you want, go where you want and stop at whatever strikes your fancy along the way. Maybe it’s liberating because if you take your own vehicle, it’s like bringing your personal living room on the road. Whatever the reason, road tripping is so damned much fun. And there’s no doubt that it’s even better in the great American West.

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Telluride, Monument Valley and the Oscars

In Living Color:  Monument Valley

In Living Color: Monument Valley

How about those Oscars? Wasn’t it a great show? I was thrilled that I had seen most of the films nominated for an award here in our little mountain town of Telluride, Colorado way back in September. Yes, just as in recent years, many of the movies that gained high acclaim from the Academy of Motion Pictures were shown here in T-ride—either as premiers or sneak peeks—during the Telluride Film Festival (TFF) long before they were officially released. Telluride’s selection of films seems to be filled with Oscar contenders more so than the lineups presented at other renowned film festivals in New York, Venice and Toronto.

Much of the Oscar buzz takes place before and after this annual awards show. I was thrilled to tune into CBS Sunday Morning, one of my all-time favorite TV shows, to see Monument Valley:  Mother Nature’s scene stealing movie star, last Sunday. It was a wonderful segment that featured the extraordinary sense of place of this iconic site and the many Oscar-worthy movies filmed there including “The Searchers,” “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,” “Back to the Future,” “Forrest Gump” and many more. This majestic landscape has appeared in dozens of films as well as countless commercials. Almost a half a million visitors go to Monument Valley every year, largely because of the prominence it has enjoyed in the movies. Thanks to Harry Gouding and his wife, Leone (known as Mike), film director John Ford discovered Monument Valley and its perfect setting for great western movies and feature films. This was highlighted in the CBS piece although Goulding’s Lodge and its terrific Trading Post Museum, which also showcases the history of movie-making in the area, were scarcely mentioned.

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15 Oct 2012, 3:09pm
Art & Culture Colorado Four Corners Hotels & Lodging Restaurants The Southwest Utah:
Comments Off on On the Trail of Western Movie-Making in Utah and Colorado

On the Trail of Western Movie-Making in Utah and Colorado

Monument Valley: An Iconic Shot

I’m feeling a little sentimental these days. Lately this golden season has flooded me with memories of two significant trips I took in the West at this time of year. The first occurred eleven years ago when I discovered the penetrating red rock landscapes of Moab, Utah during a road trip with the goal of where to settle in the West. The second happened in Monument Valley when I accompanied my parents on a trip-of-a-lifetime through southern Utah and then down to the Grand Canyon. (Visiting the Canyon had always been a dream of father’s—little did he know he’d end up marveling at the awe-inspiring monuments of Monument Valley just as much.)

Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab

At each of these high desert destinations, I felt and continue to feel humbled by the panoramic vistas seemingly painted in every shade of red throughout this arid land. Here buttes, spires and pinnacles tower over you as though nature’s standing guard in what sometimes looks like one of America’s last great frontiers. It’s no wonder some of the most iconic images of our country may be found in Moab and Monument Valley, Utah. The greatest westerns ever made were filmed here, specifically at two lodges that continue to pay tribute to the rich history of movie-making that occurred around their properties:  Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab and Goulding’s Lodge in Monument Valley. The landscapes at and surrounding these ranches have, in fact, been so well preserved that movies, TV shows and commercials continue to be filmed here today. (Johnnie Depp was just at Goulding’s last spring filming the new version of “The Lone Ranger.”)

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