travel tuesday: lobster on my mind

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Lobster Roll at Thurston's Lobster Pound

I brought home a great New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc last night, Lobster Reef, and have been craving lobster ever since. Or should I say “lobstah”? That brought to mind the best lobster roll I’ve ever had. We were spending a week at Bar Harbor in October 2014 during our big RV road trip, and a friend recommended Thurston’s Lobster Pound. Even though I ate lobster every day that week, this is the one I still dream about.

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travel tuesday: yes, I ate haggis.

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The phrase “when in Rome” applies to many situations. When in Scotland, I discovered that after white wine, red wine and Scotch, I’ll eat just about anything. Including haggis.

We were staying at Hotel Newton in Nairn, Charlie Chaplin’s old stomping grounds, which is truly spectacular and now a part of the MGM family. It’s near Inverness, which my fellow Outlander fans will appreciate. There’s even a Je Suis Prest crest on the building. It was a short drive to the Culloden Battlefield the next morning.

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travel tuesday: cider tasting in hotchkiss, co

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Delicious Farms in Hotchkiss, Colorado, is a must-visit when we do a daytrip on the Grand Mesa Loop. You can camp in the orchard, eat at the café, shop at the store, play like a kid on tree swings, listen to live music and pick your own fruit. You can also grab a stool at the Cider Bar and sample Big B’s Ciders. The food at the café is very good, so step up and order your meal. I recommend the tamales, and my husband likes the pulled pork. Then, order a flight of hard ciders and dig in.

Note: The website says they are not offering tastings due to COVID-19, but we were able to order this flight last summer. You can always choose a single cider in larger sizes. Be sure to take some home along with goodies from the store.

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where to eat on Anna Maria Island

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First of all, you should eat where you can view this sunset, which is at the Gulf Drive Café on Bradenton Beach. Two of my all-time favorite sunsets have been here; our first night on this trip and two years ago on Valentine’s Day. Both times, I had the shrimp tacos. I think that must be the good luck charm because this was the only real sunset we saw this year. Our days were mostly sunny, but low-lying clouds moved in around 5 the rest of the week.

Shrimp tacos at the Gulf Drive Café.
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romantic getaway in ouray

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Month two of my year of getaways is a wrap! We almost always go somewhere for Valentine’s Day, and this year was no exception. We spent three Val Day weekends in a row in Arizona; five years ago it was Riviera Maya near Playa del Carmen and two years ago we were on Anna Maria Island.

We have a big trip coming up in March, so this time it was a quick, romantic night in Ouray. It’s one of our favorite spots in the state, but only our second visit during the winter. Last time, it was on the frigid side with snow blowing horizontally. This year, Mother Nature was on our side, which was good since I forgot to bring a coat.

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mini-staycation in palisade and grand junction

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If you read my post about 2022 Plan Your Vacation Day, and I hope you did, you know that I’ve resolved to go somewhere at least once a month this year. We hit the ground running in January with a mini-staycation, just one night away, that set the pace for the year. You know that I love traveling and wine, and this quick trip let me enjoy both. 

First stop, Palisade—the heart of Colorado’s Grand Valley AVA. According to Coloradowine.com, it’s 75,990 acres along the Colorado River, once called the Grand River, forty miles east of the Utah border— beginning in Palisade. Sheltered by the largest flattop mountain in the world, Grand Mesa, the AVA then spills up onto East Orchard Mesa and Orchard Mesa along the south bank of the river, and stretches right to the foot of the Colorado National Monument west of Grand Junction. (Map of wineries in the Grand Valley AVA)

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national plan for vacation day

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National Plan for Vacation Day

Tuesday, January 25, is National Plan for Vacation Day. According to USTravel.org, it’s celebrated the last Tuesday of January to encourager Americans to plan their vacation days for the whole year and to inspire them to travel within the U.S.

I’m certainly not going to discourage you from traveling abroad. If you can, go. If not, there’s no shortage of destinations right here in the ol’ U.S. of A. Many are right in your backyard.  USTravel.org reports that more than two-thirds of American workers feel at least moderately burned out after the last two years, and almost three-fourths are prioritizing a change of scenery in 2022.

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staycation: grand mesa loop

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One of the best things about living where we do (near Glenwood Springs, Colorado), and one of the reasons we’ve chosen to live here twice, is its proximity to so many wonderful places. Within three hours we can be in Denver, Breckenridge, Rocky Mountain National Park, Moab, Ouray and Ridgway, Steamboat Springs, Grand Junction…you get the idea. That makes it easy to get away for a week or just a weekend without traveling too far.

Sometimes, though, we can’t get away for a whole weekend (one of the downsides of owning a retail store) but still need to leave the house and yard work. It will always be here when we get back. I keep hoping that won’t be the case, but time and again it’s still here.

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wanderlust during a pandemic

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Isla Mujeres

This time of year is when I am normally planning our late winter or early spring vacation. For retailers, particularly in the liquor business, the frenzied holiday shopping grinds almost to a halt in January and doesn’t return to a more normal pace again until March or April. It’s a much-needed reprieve, especially after a record-breaking year like 2020. I miss travel planning, and my Facebook memories aren’t helping. It seems like every single day a travel memory pops up, taunting me. Here are the trips I’ve been thinking about.

4 years ago, we were preparing for our first vacation in Mexico. We chose Cancun because it was a non-stop flight, which is important when flying to and from the mountains in winter. Otherwise, you might make it back to Denver but get stuck there, and your car is in Eagle or Aspen. Not fun. It is actually the opposite of fun.

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a day in Sonoma, California

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Of our four days in Sonoma County, one was spent in and around Sonoma, a historic city in northern California at the heart of the renowned Sonoma Valley wine-making region. Its history is fascinating.

According to VisitCalifornia.com, “In the mid-1800s, the town now known as Sonoma was just a collection of ranchos, governed by Mexico. Even though the U.S. government and the State of California took over the territory not too long after that, you can still sense its heritage. The centerpiece of town, Sonoma Plaza, is still anchored by the northernmost Franciscan mission in California—and it’s even the birthplace of the California State Bear Flag, created by Americans rebelling against Mexican rule. Today, however, Sonoma Plaza is lined with charming shops, tasting rooms and popular restaurants.”

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