Marking Four Hundred Blog Posts

Planning Ahead:  Stamping Out 400 in the Glorious Outer Banks Sand During My Visit There Two Weeks Ago

Planning Ahead: Stamping Out 400 in the Super Soft Outer Banks Sand of North Carolina During My Visit There Two Weeks Ago

Four hundred–woo-hoo! I can’t help but wonder what the word count is on that milestone. Writers, you may know, always talk in word count. I suppose I could find out but I certainly don’t have the time.

It takes a lot to do a blog post, especially mine at Bonjour Colorado, which tend to be full-on stories with lots of links and photos. But I love it. I started out as more of a book person–I’ve authored five, in fact.

Yet blogging on destinations from Stockholm to Santa Fe has allowed me to broaden my coverage on favorite places, people and experiences. And posting on a variety of subjects from The Thrill of a Bike Race to Skiing with Rock Stars to Traveling Like a Pampered Pet and Other Tales from the Road to Take Me to the River Especially on a Rafting Adventure allowed me to have a taste of and report on new happenings I likely wouldn’t cover outside of this blog. Posting podcasts with interviews with people such as Ken Burns, Cheryl Strayed, Susan Herrmann Loomis and a host of other illustrious figures whether well known or not, has permitted me to share with you interviews and information from my Travel Fun radio show. Writing a beauty post such as A Happy Ending to My Own Horror Story as well as a tribute to my mother at My Mom:  A True Original helped me to open up even more to you, dear reader.

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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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Loving the Beach

Beach Self Portrait AKA Beach Goddess

Beach Self Portrait AKA Beach Goddess

Having just returned from the Outer Banks of North Carolina, my mind and senses remain awash with the transformative powers of the beach.

The Surf

The Surf

Warm sand in my toes, the fun and freedom of walking barefoot, the thunderous sound of the surf, the gentle surging of water as each wave becomes absorbed into the sand, sea foam, myriad shells, sea breeze whipping through my hair, the tingling of my skin as I emerge from a chilly dip in the surf, endless stretches of reflexology, the entertainment provided by scurrying sandpipers, crabs and other birds and creatures new to my world, the searing heat of the sun, the chill of the ocean air, the smell of sunscreen, the taste of salt on my lips after an ocean swim, the vastness of the empty length of sand and water before me, the ever-changing interplay of every shade of blue, beige, red, yellow and green cast from the sea, sand and sky, the busyness of beach activities such as surf fishing, kite boarding, sand castle building, beer drinking or just lolling around reading a book or doing nothing but relaxing, sleeping or soaking up the scene, the infinite array of beach toys, paraphernalia, carts, coolers, chairs, towels and toys that serve as the accessories to a day at the beach, the Crayola-crayon colors of all this cheery garb and the bathing suits folks have donned, the parade of shapes and body types I can’t help checking out, the sky, the cacophony of gulls’ cries mixed with children’s laughter and adults’ friendly salutations, the charms and jumbles of the lucky-to-live-here surf side houses that line the beach, open-air beach showers, the emptiness that becomes my mind within a few minutes of stepping onto such a swath of shoreline, the occasional whiff of salt air, the letting go of the tension I carry within my body–yes, this is some of what I love about the beach.

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Ten Reasons You Should Take the Durango Blues Train

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Blues on Board

Blues on Board

Oh Yeah!

Oh Yeah!

Me Sipping Wine Before Boarding

Me Sipping Wine Before Boarding

1. It’s more fun listening to music when you’re in motion than on solid ground.

2. The Durango Blues Train is put on by Steve Gumble, founder of the renowned Telluride Blues & Brews Festival; he and his staff know how to create memorable events. On the Blues Train, you can hop from car to car and rock on to great music from bands and solo acts from all over the U.S.

3. Not that you need an excuse, but this great train excursion gives you a reason to visit the fun-loving Western town of Durango, Colorado. Be sure to spend the night at either The Rochester Hotel or The Strater.

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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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The Woman in Gold Movie and Exhibition

Woman in Gold: the Painting in the Movie

Woman in Gold: the Painting in the Movie

I often say I wish I could remember everything I’ve ever read as well as everything I’ve ever written. I give myself a pass on the former but in terms of the latter, I’d think I’d remember most of it. Oh, if only that were the case! In my four guidebooks, one travel memoir, almost four hundred blog posts and an assortment of freelance pieces, I’ve researched and reported intensively on subjects I’m passionate about. And yet, sometimes I catch myself in a sort of black hole-space of my mind.

Take the feature film “Woman in Gold” as an example. I’d been hearing talk about it for months and I vaguely knew about the story of Gustav Klimt’s masterpiece, Adele Bloch-Bauer, the Mona Lisa of Austria, and how it was returned to its rightful owner and found its home in America. It wasn’t until last week, however, upon seeing this fabulous movie starring Helen Mirren, one of my favorite actors, that I realized I had had the pleasure of gazing upon this magnificent work in New York City. I refer to it as “a glittering painting by Gustav Klimt” in my story Gallery Going with the Ladies of Larchmont, one of the first posts to my blog back in 2008.

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas-2015

Lovely Lily of the Valley

Lovely Lily of the Valley

It’s almost May 1st, or May Day, a holiday widely celebrated in Europe. My favorite part of this fête nationale in France is the muguet, or lily of the valley, that delicate flower with droplets of blooms that resemble little white wedding bells. You can enjoy its fresh, redolent scent in Diorissimo, a signature fragrance of the House of Dior. Christian Dior’s favorite flower was, in fact, le muguet, one of the most beloved symbols of happiness in France. On le premier mai en France, most everything is closed, but you can still find all kinds of bouquets of muguet sold throughout–from street corners to flower shops.

Telluride Truffle Mother's Day Gift Box

Telluride Truffle Mother’s Day Gift Box

Telluride Truffle Spring Gift Box

Telluride Truffle Spring Gift Box

Ruth's Toffee

Ruth’s Toffee

Pink Champagne from Henri's Reserve

Pink Champagne from Henri’s Reserve

Voilà there’s one terrific gift idea for the lovely lady in your life for this Mother’s Day. Read about many more at my Online Shopping page. Many of the online boutiques I feature actually showcase European goods or goods of such fine quality that they could pass for European made. Telluride Truffle and Ruth’s Toffee are such examples and indeed the quality of their products rivals some of the delectable treats I’ve sampled from France’s top chocolatiers. What mom wouldn’t be thrilled to receive some sweets from these two Colorado-based confectioners! Pay close attention to the instructions on my Online Shopping page to receive a 10% discount on online orders from these two purveyors and all others highlighted on that page (and below).

Nothing says holiday like bubbly, especially when it’s champagne. Send mom a beautiful bottle of champagne rosé from Henri’s Reserve to celebrate her. I promise she’ll be tickled pink.

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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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