Another Wonderful Visit to the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks of North Carolina

The Outer Banks of North Carolina

I recently spent a week at the beach with my boyfriend, Steve. We were on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (OBX), one of the most alluring surf side destinations in the world, and a spot he has been frequenting for almost three decades.

So Pretty

So Pretty

Almost There

Almost There

Steve’s an avid beach enthusiast and I love the fact that he can just as easily appreciate lounging in a sun-baked dune as catching a ten-foot wave in the surf. Depending on the season and the weather patterns, you can find big swells in the waters off of Nags Head, Rodanthe, Hatteras, Frisco, and a slew of other OBX surf spots revered by  surfers and beach aficionados from around the world.

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Terrific Telluride Golf Getaway at a Great Deal

Telluride Golf Course

Telluride Golf Course

How would you like to play a round of golf at Telluride Golf Club, one of the world’s most drop-dead gorgeous golf courses for half price? And to make your Telluride golf experience even sweeter, you can stay–also at half price–just a zinger away from the course at the Inn at Lost Creek, Telluride Ski & Golf’s boutique hotel. A golf cart will pick you up in the morning from this lovely property located in the heart of Telluride Mountain Village and bring you back at the end of the day in time for a frosty drink on the deck to toast your après golf. (How about that for coining a new phrase?)

Both the round of golf for two at the Telluride Golf Club and the night at the Inn at Lost Creek can be yours for $300.–that’s half the $600. value. Whoa, if you’re not going for it–tell your friends! Best of all, all proceeds go to KOTO, Telluride’s homegrown community radio station. Thank you Telluride Ski & Golf Resort for your most generous donation to our fundraising efforts.

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A Scintillating Sanctuary in Phoenix

Sultry Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

Sultry Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

Elements:  Where the Quality of the Views Rival the Food

Elements: Where the Quality of the Views Rival the Food

It has been cold, rainy, snowy and windy here in Telluride, Colorado all week. I don’t mind because we always need moisture in the West and it’s also good catch-up-at-my-desk weather. But still, I can’t help daydreaming about more sunny, hot-as-a-baked-potato-fresh-out-of-the-oven environs.

I’m letting my thoughts drift to the desert, the Sonoran Desert to be exact, which I’m sure is in glorious bloom right now. Heating up nicely, too. I enjoyed a terrific visit there–within greater Phoenix/Scottsdale/Carefree–last summer with my mom, my fourth trip to that part of Arizona since I was young. And each time, I love it even more. Yes, we went last summer. It was a sunbaked sojourn and we reveled in it. (You just have to make sure you’re not basking in the sun during the heat of the day.)

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Paris Update: Two Lovely Left Bank Hotels

Moi on a Recent Trip to Paris

Moi on a Recent Trip to Paris

It’s that time of year again–springtime in Paris. Not only is it a beautiful time to visit the French capital, but it’s also when a lot of people–many of whom I only vaguely know through social media or elsewhere–contact me for recommendations for Paris and other parts of France. I try to graciously tell them that they will find a wealth of hotel, restaurant, shopping, sightseeing and general information as well as a treasure trove of all kinds of tidbits in my books The Riches of Paris:  A Shopping and Touring Guide and The Riches of France:  A Shopping and Touring Guide to the French Provinces. But still, they want some insider tips directly from me. The irony of that escapes me, since I am the author of those books as well as a travel memoir entitled A Tour of the Heart:  A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France.

So for the sake of appeasing my potential Paris travelers and out of love for the city in which I lived over eleven years, I’ve decided to start posting more on Paris and the French provinces here at my blog. Hotel recommendations are a good place to start and below you will find two of my longtime favorites.

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Telluride, Forbes and Me

The Inn at Lost Creek:  A Forbes Favorite

The Inn at Lost Creek: A Forbes Favorite in Telluride, Colorado

A Sake-tini from Siam's Talay, Another Forbes Favorite

A Sake-tini from Siam’s Talay, Another Forbes Fave

Exotic Delights at Talay, the Signature Restaurant of the Inn at Lost Creek

Exotic Delights at Talay, the Signature Restaurant of the Inn at Lost Creek

We’ve had a huge month of March here at Telluride Ski Resort and this weekend we’re slated to brake our all-time record for annual skier visits. And we still have a week to go before the mountain closes!

I’m utterly exhausted, since like most ski instructors, I’ve been going full tilt all month (actually all winter). I just had my first couple of days off in weeks and I can tell you it feels great to put my feet up and stretch my toes as I bang out this story.

It’s no wonder there’s been so much buzz about Telluride this year. In addition to the word getting out about our great ski mountain and town in recent years, Telluride Ski Resort has been receiving a lot of attention from Forbes Travel along with once again being ranked #1 in the Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards.

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Chef Bud Creates an Elevated Dining Experience at Mountain Lodge Telluride

Chef Bud Thomas at The View at Mountain Lodge

Chef Bud Thomas at The View at Mountain Lodge

“We’re delighted to have Chef Bud with us,” says Neil Hastings, Sales and Marketing Director for Mountain Lodge Telluride during a recent dinner at this renowned place of lodging in Mountain Village. “He really elevates our food and wine experience here at The View Bar and Grill.”

Ever since word began to leak out this fall that Chef Bud Thomas was leaving Rev, the signature restaurant of the Hotel Madeline and the establishment he catapulted to Forbes Travel Guide five-star and AAA five-diamond standing over the course of the more-than two years he worked there as Chef de Cuisine, diners in-the-know have been abuzz about this unexpected change.

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Ljubljana, Slovenia: Where European and Balkan Culture Live On

Lovely Ljubljana

Lovely Ljubljana

I don’t often write about a place I haven’t visited. It’s even more unusual that I report on a destination with an almost unpronounceable name. At least for me. I wrote down my own phonetic spelling as Loo bee ahna, simply because I sometimes say words in my head as I write them, especially when they’re different. And I’ve been having trouble with this one.

This minor conundrum is slowly changing since I learned from two well-traveled Telluride locals, my friends Amy and Eileen, that Ljubljana is not only easy to pronounce but also an up and coming destination, one which should be put on any savvy traveler’s list. From what they both told me, in fact, I’d say Ljubljana has arrived and you should move it toward the top of your places-to-visit inventory, especially if you’re looking for good value in a European city where you’re not going to bump into Americans–or other tourists–at every turn.

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Win a Fall Foliage Trip to Telluride, Colorado

Fall in Telluride

Fall in Telluride, Colorado

Autumn in Telluride rates as one of my favorite times of the year. Since we’re located in southwestern Colorado, it’s typically sunny and warm during the day and cool and crisp at night. Known as the gold season, the aspens present a dazzling array of sunshine yellow, honey and maize while the brush, which flanks our mountainsides and carpets our valleys, turns into a rich showing of saffron, russet and ruby red.

The foliage typically peaks at the end of September, however, the scenery remains stunning here through mid October, especially if we’re blessed with a fresh dusting of snow on our breathtaking peaks. The big summer and festival crowds have gone home, so you can easily soak up the tranquility of our charming mountain destination and the outlying area whether you’re hiking, biking, fishing, jeeping, shopping, dining or just lolling on a nice deck.

Thanks to Mountain Lodge Telluride, the New Sheridan Chop House Restaurant, Paragon Outdoors/Bootdoctors and Salon 7, you can win a fabulous stay in Telluride, one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. (And that’s coming from a gal who lived eleven years in Paris.) Here’s what the trip includes:

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