Colorado Durango Hotels Outdoor Adventures Travel: Colorado Durango Hotels Outdoor Adventures Travel
Spring has sprung here in southwestern Colorado, although there has been snow on the Peaks these past couple of nights and frost on the ground this morning. These dustings just make for prettier panoramas, something we’re not lacking here in Colorado. The leaves have popped within the past week and the tourists are beginning to arrive from nearby and far flung destinations.
If you’re looking to maximize your sightseeing and experience something real old timey in the process, I recommend you book a trip on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, one of the most exciting train rides in the world. The train rattles and chuffs along tracks as narrow as 36 inches wide (along the mountain passes) from May through October, offering breathtaking views to visitors from all over the world.
The first train arrived in Durango, Colorado during the summer of 1881. Within less than a year, workers managed to lay track all the way to Silverton, an almost unfathomable feat accomplished largely by the quest for gold and silver up in the mountains. Yes, these were the boomtown days of mining and during that time this narrow gauge railroad between Durango and Silverton played a pivotal role.
Colorado French Provinces Paris Travel Trip Planning: Colorado French Provinces Paris Travel Trip Planning
leave a comment
I’ve been busy the past couple of weeks planning trips for people. Did you know I do that? I don’t publicize it much since it’s sometimes hard to juggle the time required to set up a wonderful trip for someone with my ski instructor/travel writer life, but I’ve decided to put the word out more about this service.
My forte is arranging travel for people to France (Paris and the French provinces, bien sur) and, of course, Colorado. Those are my two loves and having lived eleven years in France and now the same amount of time in Colorado, I know my subject matter. At the risk of sounding immodest, I know these destinations as an expert, as someone that has authored five books on France and blogged about Colorado and other parts of the American West for almost five years. Voilà, those are my credentials. And with all the research I’ve done for myself to travel and experience these different places, you can bet I’ve organized countless trips. It has been fun doing it for others as well since in most everything I do, I try to share my passion for my favorite lands.
New York Restaurants Travel: New York Restaurants Travel
leave a comment
Wherever I go, I like trying the French restaurants of the city or town I’m visiting. After having lived eleven years in Paris and experienced much excellent French dining throughout France, I feel I’m an expert of sorts. Plus, I love French cuisine and the panache that’s typically associated with its presentation.
During a recent trip back east, I put out a query on Facebook for excellent French restaurant recommendations in New York City. Not surprisingly, I received many. Foodie extraordinaire David Rosengarten came back with his: La Silhouette. I dined here one evening with a dear friend where we enjoyed a sophisticated moment among a tony crowd of New Yorkers.
It’s hard to believe we’re already practically on the eve of Memorial Day Weekend, America’s unofficial start to the summer. Here in Telluride, Colorado—like in other mountain towns across the West—this weekend marks the end of off-season, also known as shoulder season. Yes, from now through almost the end of September/early October, our prized tourist destination will be flooded with visitors from all over the world. Indeed, the town’s population will go from scant to near overflowing (at peak times such as during the Bluegrass Festival and over July 4th).
Even the locals are back in full swing, many fresh off of fascinating travels to far-flung lands. Most have come back with tales of adventure and chance encounters in foreign countries. Since I’ve been largely holed up at my desk, I’ve been listening with particular interest to their stories and impressions, while taking inventory of must-see places on my personal list. Europe still reigns supreme for me. And although I have traveled a lot throughout this storied continent, I’m continually drawn there for this reason or that.
French Life Paris Podcasts Restaurants Travel: French Life Paris Podcasts Restaurants Travel
leave a comment
There are so many websites and blogs on Paris that you can spend hours—if not days—perusing them in an effort to find the information you’re seeking for the City of Light. Want to check out the hottest restaurants? How about some up-to-the-minute fashion news? Or even better, do you need to find just the right place of lodging for your dream trip? Girls Guide to Paris provides this and more.
I chatted with Doni Belau, founder of this dynamic site on Paris and other French destinations, during a special April in Paris Travel Fun interview last month. Click on the play button below to listen to what Doni has to say about yet another of her “passion projects.”
Indeed, Doni is a woman of many passions. I was familiar with Girls Guide to Paris for a while although I came to know Doni from Susan Viebrock, a connection here in Telluride that does her own information-packed website/blog, Telluride Inside…and Out. Susan wrote a story that showcased Doni’s philanthropic works in the post TAB Welcomes Honorary Beneficiary: Ubuntu Africa. TAB, or Telluride Aids Benefit, is an organization that raises money for HIV/AIDS education, advocacy and NGOs. They put on many fun and happening events throughout Telluride Gay Ski Week. This year, Doni’s organization, Ubuntu Africa, was one of the beneficiaries from funds raised by TAB. Doni actually came to T-ride, my town, for the events, yet unfortunately we did not meet up in person. (She actually found out about TAB from Kittie Lingeman Brown, a former resident of Telluride that now lives in Paris.) Doni talks about that experience and her impressions of Telluride—particularly the fabulous TAB Fashion Show—in the below interview.
Art & Culture Food & Wine French Life Paris Shopping Travel Writing & Books: Art & Culture Food & Wine French Life Paris Shopping Travel Travel Writing Writing & Books
With ski season behind me, I suddenly have a voracious appetite for reading. I always want to read and to me, it’s one of the most relaxing and enjoyable activities in the world. But during ski season I’m exhausted in the evenings and tend to just zone out in front of the TV and then head to bed before there’s time for a leisurely read. (Also, I often stay up late when engrossed in a good book and that certainly doesn’t gel with a ski instructor’s need for a long, fat sleep.)
Being the Francophile that I am, I love reading books set in France. Whether it’s Paris or the provinces, if the writing is rich, I relish being instantly transported to my beloved land. So you can only imagine how thrilled I was when I discovered Jaqui Brown’s charming website/blog, French Village Diaries. There you may delve into an abundance of book reviews on books relating to France and then shop in her online bookstore which features titles she has reviewed and more. Jacqui, a Brit that moved to France in 2004 with her British husband, scours the internet for the most interesting reads on her adopted country. That’s how she found my book, A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France, and then wrote it up at French Village Diaries.
Aspen Colorado Skiing & Snowboarding Travel Vail: Aspen Colorado Skiing & Snowboarding Travel Vail
How do you book travel? Do you go directly to websites such as Expedia.com to check out any alluring offers they’re showcasing? Or perhaps you’re more destination or theme oriented and and you sift through info. at sites such as Ski.com and On the Snow.com? Do you troll the Internet for stories from travel publications and blogs to read about places from a firsthand perspective? Or maybe you flash on video and photo postings your friends have put up on Facebook?
All the above are valid ways to research and book travel and it should come as no surprise that people are turning even more to the Internet and social media for all, including travel planning. This is some of what I gleaned last week from the Mountain Travel Symposium (MTS) I attended in Snowmass, Colorado. The largest gathering of mountain travel professionals in North America, MTS also marks the beginning of the sales cycle for the next ski season. Attendees come from around the world to conduct business and to learn about what’s new and happening in the snowsports industry. This year’s 38th annual MTS brought together leaders and innovators from the ski and travel tech industries to provoke conversation and solution-seeking ideas for the1,200 professionals gathered at this dynamic event.
Colorado Girl Talk Hotels Mountain Living Restaurants Spas The Rockies Travel: Colorado Girl Talk Hotels Mountain Living Restaurants Spas The Rockies Travel
I love travel. Yes, it can be terribly tiresome but it usually brings about some of the most unexpected and exciting happenings. Case in point: Last week I stayed at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain, one of my favorite properties in Colorado. It was to be a stopover with my friend, Mary Dawn, on our way back from combined promotions (for my new book and her delightful alpine goods) in Denver and Breckenridge as we made our way toward Telluride, Colorado, home base for us both. I was planning to just chill and recover from almost five weeks away, soaking up all the amenities of this first-class resort. But what an adventure it turned out to be!
The stay started out quietly enough. We had both settled into our luxurious digs replete with full kitchen and glorious beds piled high with comfy pillows in a variety of sizes, half of which we wanted to take home. I padded down to The Westin’s newly renovated fitness center the first morning to see how I could begin to restore myself after way too much time at my desk followed by extensive travel. This beehive of fitness fiefdom was still buzzing with activity at 11 a.m.—no wonder since it’s one of the preferred athletic clubs of the Vail Valley. I peeked into their fully-equipped pilates and spinning rooms before opting for the solitude of their yoga studio where I was thankfully in time for a much-needed class. Susan, the yoga director, took special care to address my needs, those of a weary travel writer that hadn’t devoted much time to being fit since last ski season ended. Thanks to her and the calming surroundings of this specially-designated yoga oasis, I felt one step closer to being whole again.
After chitchatting with the staff about all the doings at the hotel, I learned that the resort was in a flurry of activity largely due to the Audi FIS Birds of Prey World Cup Men’s Race that was taking place at Beaver Creek during that period. “Yes, I saw the gates and skis piled up in the lobby when I checked in last night,” I said. “I had totally overlooked the fact that that was going on. Then someone told me the Austrian team was staying here,” I added.
“Come back later in the afternoon to see the athletes working out,” a couple of the staffers exclaimed practically in unison. “It’s quite the show—with all those good looking guys lifting weights and swirling in their hula hoops,” one chuckled.
Sadly, my afternoon passed all too quickly up in my room at my laptop and by the time I sauntered down to the fitness area at 5:45p.m., all the studly dudes had left. Darn, I thought. There’s nothing like checking out world-class athletes in action and I missed it.
That evening, however, on the tail end of a most enjoyable dinner at Cima, the Westin’s signature restaurant and a Richard Sandoval creation, Mary Dawn wasted no time getting in on the World Cup fun. “Would you please tell those guys over there Grüß Gott?” she kindly asked the waiter. Already it was clear they were part of the Austrian ski team, so why not send the classic Austrian/Bavarian greeting from the Alps over to them? Why miss out on some Euro schmoozing? Three guys bopped over to our table and sidled into the curvilinear booth faster than you can say hooray. We enjoyed trading cross cultural stories and experiences until the wee hours of the morning. Since MD lived in Germany six years and is fluent in German, she particularly enjoyed the exchange. My French experience (eleven years in Paris) brought less to the table yet we were all in a bon vivant mood nonetheless. Fortunately our Austrian ski team companions were comprised of the director, a coach and a technician or else I can’t see how they would have been able to race the next day.