travel tuesday: keystone wine and jazz

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The Keystone Wine and Jazz Festival is quickly becoming one of our favorite new traditions. There are the Colorado Rocky Mountains, cooler temps, beautiful flowers, hiking trails and lots of yummy food. Oh, and wine and jazz. We took the kids in 2019, it was cancelled in 2020, Scott and I went last year, and this year we brought our daughter and son-in-law along to celebrate their upcoming birthdays. Fun was had by all.

Family fun at the 2022 Keystone Wine and Jazz Festival. You can tell I’m ready with my food pass lanyard, wine glass necklace, wine shirt and a bottle of water in my pocket!
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travel tuesday: sippin’ wine in palisade

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If you’re starting to think we like Palisade, you are correct. This was our second mini-staycation there this year. We attended the Sip into Spring Wine Fest for the first time, and it was fabulous. The location, the wine, the weather, the food, the hotel…all fabulous!

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travel tuesday: drink local beer!

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Boulevard Brewing Co.

We stopped by Boulevard Brewing Co. while we were in Kansas City, Missouri, visiting family last week. Though we’ve been drinking Boulevard Beer for years, and even carry it in our store, we’d never actually been there. Start in the Tours and Recreation Center, but be sure to schedule a tour beforehand if that’s on your agenda. It’s located on Southwest Boulevard, hence the name.

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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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