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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Surfside in Lake George: A Fun Place of Lodging for All

Surfside on the Lake

View from My Balcony

A Beautiful Day at Surfside

LG View from My Kayak

Like most people, I’ve been having a hard time letting go of summer. Although Colorado’s high peaks were frosted with the first significant snows of the season last week, here in the northeast where I’m currently based, the weather is gorgeous. Really. And the forecast continues to be fabulous for the upcoming week or more. I’m talking low to mid-80s glorious!

With this kind of sunshine, warmth and humidity, you can stick more than your big toe in beautiful Lake George, New York, one of the most heralded bodies of water in the Adirondacks. I did just that last weekend on a little getaway that I enjoyed toute seule (that means all alone, which is just what I very much needed).

My Surfside Suite

I picked Surfside on the Lake because I had heard they recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation and I knew I wanted to check it out. Plus, I remembered their iconic roadside sign from many many summers spent at Lake George. My curiosity was piqued on all fronts and I was longing to find out what kind of a property stretched all the way down to the lake behind their fun-spirited sign, one eye-catching piece of roadside architecture among many on the busy route that skirts the west side of the lake.

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Top Reasons to Go to Lake George, New York

Lake George, New York: the Queen of American Lakes

Sweet Minne Ha Ha

Stop it! I can’t believe the summer is winding down so fast. It seems like it’s especially unfair this year because in many parts of the country–including the northeast where I’ve been based–the weather has been rather cool and rainy up until this week, which is simply gorgeous! Thankfully there are still even more glorious late summer days ahead–I just know it.

Shepard Beach

View from the South End of the Lake

What was your favorite moment of the summer? One of my best was a weekend spent with an old friend–and a new one–at Lake George, New York. It was a nostalgic trip on many levels because I was returning to a beloved place with Margie, a friend I’ve known since I was a kid. Even better, Margie was also a big part of my childhood/early adult life at this beautiful Adirondack lake.

New and Old Friends: Me, Helena and Margie

Our families both had camps on Cleverdale, on the east side of the lake, and our summers were punctuated with days consumed with bombing around in speed boats and evenings passed trying to get into the Sans Souci, the local bar (We both were way too young, especially me; although in later years, we could hang out there. Then on big nights, we’d drive into Lake George Village for some rip roaring times.) Many a memorable moonlit night was marked by a girl’s sleepover on my family’s boathouse deck and on real wild ones, we’d head out in the rowboat and make a visit to the boy’s sleepover–oh my! more »

The Western: An Epic in Art and Film

The Western: An Epic in Art and Film

Denver Art Museum Entrance

Love this Remington

A Great Synopsis of Westerns

Symbolism in Art

I love Westerns. I love the Denver Art Museum. I love the exhibition The Western: An Epic in Art and Film. Sorry for gushing but I think it’s wonderful!

I saw it in Denver a few weeks ago and I had a smile on my face as I walked through every room of this beautiful show–once again DAM has done a magnificent job with this installation, which creates a setting that makes you feel as though you just stepped into the wild, wild West.

Tune into KOTO.org at 6:30pm MST tonight to listen to my Travel Fun interview with Thomas Brent Smith, co-curator of the exhibition The Western: An Epic in Art and Film. Even if you’re not able to attend the show in Denver, which runs through September 10, you’ll learn much about Westerns and why we love films and artwork that depict the great American West. Thank you, Thomas, for such an eloquent and articulate conversation about the show and why Westerns conjure up such an array of emotions for so many.

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One Sensational Colorado Spa and Six Perfect Pools

Warwick Denver Hotel

Many people come to Colorado in the summer to hike, bike, jeep, fish and sit outside to enjoy great concerts amid breathtaking scenery. Yes, Colorado ranks supreme for all that, however, this Rocky Mountain state also boasts some of the best pools and spas in the country. They’re terrific because of the mountains.

Mountain Lodge Telluride

Most of the pools highlighted below are backdropped by scenery eloquently described by Katharine Lee Bates in “America the Beautiful.” And because of the purple mountain majesties where we work our bodies to near exhaustion, it’s important to have glorious pools and spas where we can relax and rejuvenate. We have a good amount of them in Colorado, all of which are attached to prized hotels and resorts.

The Peaks Pool in Telluride

See the photos and my blurbs below to begin your journey through some of the best hydrotherapy offerings in Colorado. Whether you’re going to these establishments for a stay, a treatment or a day pass (often in conjunction with poolside dining), go ahead and plan your travels around them. The benefits you derive from these mountain oases will carry you well past the end of your vacation. And best of all: Most of these pools are open year-round because they’re heated.

The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch Resort

The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch Pool and Spa in Beaver Creek
My boyfriend, Steve, and I experienced The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch Spa a while ago during a spring ski getaway. I wrote about it at Pick a Spa, Pick a Ski Destination. We loved it then, however, recently we had an even more extraordinary experience, since we logged some delicious pool time as well.

Ritz-y Pool

Poolside Offerings

Oh, the pool. Drawn in by its black lines, we knew this stunning, infinity pool was the place for us. We arrived at lunchtime on a busy Friday and were thrilled to see that there was still a designated lane where we could do laps away from the din of Marco-Polo and all the other activity that characterizes a day at the pool in summer.

Steve diligently knocked out his sixty lengths while I bronzed, something I rarely find the time to do. I decided to forgo my workout because I had already sunk deeply into a lolling around mood, one enhanced by a stack of magazines and my phone turned off. (It actually went dead because of the heat.)

Bottoms Up

Food tastes best when eaten outside, particularly in the summer when salty chips and fries are de rigueur. We feasted on fish tacos and a grilled chicken wrap served in large Bento-type boxes that far exceeded your average poolside chow. (My phone had died by the time the food arrived, however, I did take a snapshot of the menu!)

Since this is Colorado, the clouds rolled in practically on cue by mid afternoon. Pas de problème. We just snuggled up to their poolside bar and sipped a frothy one, a beer that we found very amusing because it was a perfect pour by Bottoms Up. Many guesses later, we discovered that a magnet holds the key to the beer not bottoming out. You might have seen these beers at stadiums and now it appears they’re gaining popularity at certain mountainside resorts. (Just think après ski/large volumes of beer served/perfect every time.)

Steve and Me at the Poolside Bar of The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

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Pampered, Privileged and Fun-Loving Vail

Solaris Residences in Vail

Private Terrace at Solaris

More Stylin’ at Solaris

Maybe you’re a part of the one percent and are looking for a great lodging recommendation in Colorado. Maybe you just want to peek behind closed doors to see how the ultra rich vacation. Or, maybe you just want some insider tips on where to find some family fun in Vail, Colorado. Either way, please read on and enjoy my pictures.

Sleeping in Style

Sweet Dreams

Like many other travelers, the ultra rich have discovered the joys of vacationing in our mountain towns winter and summer. What’s changed in recent years, however, is that in addition to staying in hotels and houses, they like to stay–or reside in–residences. I’m talking full-service spreads that can make them feel at home in sprawling style while delighting in the benefits of the amenities of a full-service hotel.

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Dealing with Altitude Issues at Our High Mountain Destinations

Almost Summer at Mountain Lodge Telluride

The Town of Telluride, Colorado: Fun at 8,750 Feet

Me Feeling Happy and High at the Delightful Rooftop Bar at the New Sheridan Hotel

I’m long overdue in talking about how to combat the effects of high elevation with you. I apologize. Please forgive me.

In some ways, I’m new to the game myself. Although I’ve lived at heights as great as almost 10,000 feet for fifteen and a half years, I’m somewhat new to a magical little pill that has made a world of difference for me: It’s a diuretic called Diamox.

It was just a year ago that I began taking Diamox, a prescription medicine long touted to me by my ski clients but somehow I was lax in asking my doctor for a script. I finally did last spring and have used it many times this past year as I’ve traveled in and out of Telluride many times. At the risk of sounding like a drug pusher, ask your doctor about it and see if it’s good for you.

In other ways, I’m not at all new to the effects of elevation on my body. I think I first felt them when I went to the Alps during the time I was living in France. I was slammed with a headache that carried all the force of an avalanche down Mont Blanc. Ever since then, I take precautionary aspirins when I first arrive at elevation, even before the head pounding sets in.

But the Alps are nothing–at least in terms of height–to the Rockies. And I found that out when I moved here. Sure, after a few days I adjust to our thin air (about 30% less oxygen when you’re at over 9,000 feet), but if I leave a high destination for over a week, I have to reacclimatize each time, sometimes with effects worse than other times.

It’s no wonder I was fascinated with a Travel Fun interview I did many years ago with Dr. Peter Hackett, a world renowned high altitude expert and director of the Institute for High Altitude Medicine here in Telluride. I am rebroadcasting that interview on KOTO at 6:30pm MST today. Dr. Hackett, a leading authority on altitude illness with years of experience on big expeditions in Colorado, the Himalayas, Denali and South America, talks about his experiences along with, Don Bowie, one of the world’s top climbers. Don also shares sketchy elevation issues he has succumbed to during some of his adventures. It’s important to note that elevation sickness is genetic; it has nothing to do with what kind of shape you’re in.

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Closing My Ski Season at Telluride, Snowbird and Alta

Closing Day Celebration in Telluride

Parking Lot Closing Party at Alta

Alpine Views at Snowbird

Let me see here. Hmmm. I feel like I’ve forgotten how to write.

Although I’ve had mountains of stories crafted in my head these past months, I have not been able to sit down and write them. I’ve either been too tired or just too busy skiing–both for work and pleasure. (The former being a product of the latter of course.) And as much as I miraculously remained fairly healthy throughout much of the season, I was slammed with a horrific cold at the end of March, which turned into a sinus problem that’s been hard to shake. Ugh.

Celebrating the End of Ski Season is for All

Mary Ann and Mary Dawn at the KOTO End of Season Street Dance

But here I am now, slowly but surely transitioning into my writer’s life. I hate to make promises, although now that I’ve put my skis away, you should be hearing much more from me in the coming months.

What a Setting for a Party

Cheers to a Great Season

It was a super season here in Telluride topped off with a fun-filled closing weekend made even more merry by the visit of a dear friend, Margie, from Scottsdale. The snow gods blessed Telluride with a spectacular snowfall the last week of the season, so we closed with a base of mid-winter proportions. Sigh. I suppose all good things have to come to an end. Thank goodness Telluride Ski Resort and KOTO Radio know how to throw great parties to mark the end of the ski season. No matter how you look at it, we went out with a bang!

Closing Day Scene in Telluride

Margie and Me

Partytime

Oh Yeah

Striking a Pose in Vintage Ski Gear

Margie, the Llama and the Guys

After having logged a lot of much needed couch time–yes, there’s always a big accumulation of fatigue by the end of the ski season–I was thrilled to go on one last hurrah in Utah with my boyfriend, Steve. We always enjoy skiing at other resorts once Telluride closes and this time we decided to travel far–beyond our usual Aspen and Vail visits–to meet up with my brother Frank and some of his old friends in Snowbird. It’s a six-hour drive from Telluride but boy, is it worth it.

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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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