Art & Culture France French Life Paris Telluride: America's original Francophile Clay Jenkinson Jefferson Hour The Thomas Jefferson Hour Thomas Jefferson Paris Thomas Jefferson wine
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Thomas Jefferson, America’s founding father, primary author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States, was perhaps America’s first and most devoted Francophile. During his time as minister to France, he lived in Paris five years where he resided in an elegant residence on the Champs-Elysées and entertained his American and French friends with fine food and wine from his newly-adopted land. In Paris, he became truly serious about the pleasures of the table.
Funny how that sounds familiar, since that happens to most of us when we go to France. And wine is always a big part of the equation. Thomas Jefferson was one of the leading figures in facilitating the importation of wine into the U.S. from France and other European countries. Widely recognized as the most knowledgeable wine connoisseur of his day, Jefferson was a staunch advocate of the virtues of wine throughout his life. “No nation is drunken where wine is cheap; and none sober, where the dearness of wine substitutes ardent spirits as the common beverage,” he once argued.
“Here! here!” I say. How true that is–just like a satisfying meal; if it’s delicious, you don’t need to overeat, whereas if you’re not satiated, you’ll likely keep on eating–or drinking–until you are. (I’d say that’s part of the problem in America today.)
I’m thinking a lot about Jefferson these days because I’m in full-on French experience mode, planning a trip to my beloved land where I lived eleven years (in Paris). This devotee of French culture, gastronomy–and the human experience in general–also comes to mind, since Monsieur Jefferson aka Clay Jenkinson is going to be in Telluride, Colorado this Sunday and I plan to go to hear him and say bonjour.
Art & Culture Colorado Mountain Living Outdoor Adventures Telluride Telluride Festivals The Rockies: Blue Lake hike Eric Moore fall foliage viewing Mt. Sneffels photography festival Colorado Ralph Lauren's Ranch Telluride Photo Festival
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It’s unfair that the northeast of America is most often credited for its fabulous fall foliage. I’m from upstate New York and know well the glorious riot of colors that typically explodes there and–in New England–in autumn. But here in Colorado, I’m doubly awed–not only by our fabulous flourish of yellows, golds, orange and rust–but also by the majesty of our mountains, magnificent peaks which appear even more awe-inspiring as the low-lying autumnal sun casts its brilliant light on our dramatic panoramas.
I gobbled up an eyeful of this magnificence yesterday when my boyfriend and I embarked on a hike to Lower Blue Lake off of Dallas Creek Road, situated beneath Mt. Sneffels, one of the area’s most iconic Fourteeners, measuring 14,150-feet in elevation. This is God’s–and also Ralph Lauren’s Ranch–country, made accessible to all thanks to an easement by Ralph. It also takes a sturdy, vehicle to handle the bumpy half-hour drive into the trailhead and a strong will and steady athleticism to hike the 3.3-mile ascent up to dazzling Lower Blue Lake. I’m proudly sporting the blisters today that I earned from yesterday’s effort; there’s no doubt that it was my best hike of the season.
Art & Culture Colorado Telluride Telluride Festivals: Art & Culture Colorado Telluride Telluride Festivals
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I’m exhausted today. It’s Friday and the end of a busy week, so I have good reason. I think most of my fatigue, however, is emotional. I’m coming off of the Telluride Film Festival (TFF) and I feel like every fiber of my being absorbed the many intense emotions I experienced while watching movies that dealt with everything from a mother’s bizarre relationship with her deeply troubled son (“Mommy“) to a journalist’s capture and brutal confinement in Iran (Jon Stewart’s “Rosewater”) to the devastating effects of the housing bust in America (“99 Homes“).
But a film is worth nothing unless it deeply moves you, right? And moved you will always be at the Telluride Film Festival, many times over in fact.
Arizona Art & Culture Music & Dance: Arizona Art & Culture Museums Music & Dance
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It has been almost a week that I returned from a wonderful nine-day trip with my mother to the Phoenix/Scottsdale/Carefree, Arizona area. We visited many fine establishments, so expect to see posts on this glorious, sun-drenched part of the United States in the upcoming months.
We shared such a special mother/daughter time that I’ve, of course, been missing her. Thankfully I have many photos, mementos and music to remind me of the times we had together. Yes, some fabulous music that I discovered has taken me right back there with mom.
Are you familiar with French gypsy music? I’m talking about swinging gypsy jazz, moody boleros and tangos à la Django Reinhart. It’s the music of Paris from 1910 through the mid 1920s. You hear it and you imagine a smoky nightclub scene in the City of Light as you tap your foot and swing to the zippy beat. We heard this music performed by Zazu, a local French orchestra of Phoenix, during the Bastille Day celebration concert at the Musical Instrument Museum. Quelle découverte! Experiencing this music and this stunning museum was one of the highlights of our trip.
Art & Culture DC Hotels Travel: Annapolis Art & Culture DC Hotels Travel
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Hot weather, boating, men and women in uniform, our nation’s capital, Americana, quilts, the sound of the water, seafood, red, white and blue, family and friends gathering, centuries worth of history—-these thoughts and more flood my mind during this sunny holiday period. I won’t be celebrating July 4th much this year, since I’ve decided to take advantage of the quiet time and catch up at my desk. But I am very much in the Fourth of July spirit and am nurturing memories of these bright, summertime moments even more.
Some of the best were experienced about the same time last year in Annapolis, Maryland. I visited this charming Mid-Atlantic town with my boyfriend and his family after his brother’s wedding in Virginia. Annapolis smacks of the sea and we enjoyed many aspects of it from savoring fresh seafood, to taking a sail on the Chesapeake Bay, to peering out into one of the many water inlets that typify this long-established seaport, home to the United States Naval Academy since 1845. We stayed in a charming bed and breakfast, one of countless in Annapolis that define the character of this old, historic town as much as their brick buildings and cobbled streets.
Art & Culture Hotels New Mexico Restaurants Shopping Spas The Southwest: Art & Culture Hotels New Mexico Restaurants Santa Fe Shopping Spas The Southwest
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My boyfriend, Steve, and I have managed to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico—an almost six-hour drive from Telluride, Colorado—twice within the past year and a half and we’re already plotting our next trip. (That one will surely include exploring the ski mountain.) Each trip was short—only two nights a piece—and we didn’t even step foot in one of Santa Fe’s amazing museums, but still, we felt far from cheated. For us, it has been enough to just chill and breathe in the heartwarming, southwestern ambiance for which this town is known. Just like going to Paris and whiling away time in a corner café instead of scouring the Louvre, in Santa Fe during both stays we just strolled around and admired the beauty of this magnificent city, the oldest incorporated state capital within the United States.
Art & Culture Hotels New Mexico Restaurants Shopping The Southwest Travel: Art & Culture Hotels New Mexico Restaurants Shopping The Southwest Travel
Ahhh-hhh, off-season. Anyone that has lived in a resort town knows the true meaning of off-season. Whether it occurs in the winter or summer, spring or fall, this lull in peak travel times provides a much-needed respite from the busy-ness of high season. In Telluride, Colorado it means tons of available parking spaces, no lines at the Post Office or grocery store and a certain quietude akin to a ghost town, something that delights some and bores the heck out of others.
Most don’t mind this downturn of activity, since many take advantage of our seasonal slowdown (during the spring and fall) to go off and seek fun for themselves elsewhere. Since the mountain closed two weeks ago, we’re in the throws of off-season now, also referred to as shoulder season and in the case of the spring off-season, mud season.
Many people take off for exotic locales for as many as six weeks travel; others find their bliss within a two- to six-hour drive from our southwestern Colorado mountain town. Indeed, we’re located just a few hours away from some of the best recreation around in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, all sunny and warm destinations this time of year where spring arrives with the intensity of the desert sun.
Art & Culture Hotels Telluride Festivals The Southwest Utah: Art & Culture Hotels Telluride Festivals The Southwest Utah
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.