Inside Houston - Travel Issue - Fall 2022

Page 12

Travel is Back!

Starshine, Texas

Austin, Texas

Frisco, Texas

Montrose, Colorado

Moran, Wyoming

Yucatan, Mexico

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

La Paz, California

Ogden, Utah

Door County, Wisconsin

EXCLUSIVE MAGAZINE | FALL 2022
Plan Your Houston Wedding Sweet Escape! Luxury Abounds at Spread Oaks Ranch Get Award Ready: Our Party Planning Tips

TABLE

26 32

Features

Every Issue

Community

Charity

Staycation

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OF CONTENTS
36
Yucatan 26 La Paz 32 Ogden 36 Door County 38 In
Editors Letter 4 Entertainment 42 Dining 50
Porsche Grand Opening 6 Entrepreneur Organization 8 Women’s Fund 10 Lotus Awards 10 Billboard Bride 11 THAAR 12
Citizens for Animal Protection 14 Spa La Casa de la Playa 16 JW Marriott 16 Day Trip Spread Oaks Ranch 18 Starshine Texas 20 Austin 22 Westin-Frisco 23
Signal Mountain Lodge 24 Elk Mountain Resort 24 14 50
PHOTO BY IVAN GARCIA STUDIOS
JANUARY 21–22, 2023 TICKETS ON SALE NOW BridalExtravaganza.com Attend America's Largest Bridal Show!

ON THE COVER

La Casa de la Playa

Courtesy Photo

EDITOR IN CHIEF Laurette M. Veres

MANAGING EDITOR

Tom Flynn

Production Manager: Logan Sullivan

GRAPHIC DESIGN

Nicholas Nguyen

EDITORIAL

Kenneth Castano Carolina HernandezCarrello

Chelsea Andoe

Kathryn Paden

Contributors: Isabelle Sanchez

Kathleen Axtell

©Copyright 2022-2023

Inside Houston Magazine P.O. Box 667399

Houston, TX 77266 laurette@htexas.com

TAKING TIME TO ENJOY LIFE

You may remember her from Chelsea Lately, appearances on Jay Leno, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Showtime. But she has really come into her comedic-own with pop-culture podcast: Juicy Scoop with Heather McDonald. To say I am a fan of Heather McDonald is putting it lightly. Thankfully, she never missed an episode during the pandemic shutdown; today her podcast is over seven years running and boasts over 600 episodes. I’ve listened to every single one. Her light-hearted approach to comedy kept my friends and I going.

We speak of her as though she is one of us. “Heather would say…” or, “what would Heather think?” is common fodder amongst my friends. We love her because she is relatable. She talks about marriage and being a boy mom and a step mom. You don’t have to read the tabloids or watch TV; she does it for you. She’ll stalk celebrities and keep you posted, but she also tackles tough issues such as human trafficking, sexual abuse, and the dangers of on-line dating mishaps. Heather’s celebrity impressions and comedic pop culture sketches have gone viral on multiple social media platforms. Her Instagram is infamous for barbie re-enactments of Real Housewives reunions.

When Houston led the country with reopenings, her standup show was one of the first in-person events I attended. She’ll always have my heart for her efforts to get back out there and make us feel normal again. Heather is returning to Texas for a three-city tour. Instead of stand-up, she will be recording her Juicy Scoop podcast in front of a live audience. Those of you in the know, know both she and I will be drinking a buttery Chardonnay.

GIRL TIME

It shouldn’t have taken a Pandemic to remind us how important it is to devote time to nourishing friendships. On a mid-summer day, Chico’s brought me in-store for a special shopping experience and outdoor adventure. Owner of Victory Vipers, Vicki Hernandez, and I had the run of the Highland Village location. Our stylist Andrea selected multiple looks for us. We tried on outfits, shot videos for TikTok and eventually each left with two new versatile outfits. We rocked these new wardrobe items at the instagramable neon exhibit, Seismique Art Adventure, in Sugar Land. What fun it was to play dress up and take pictures in this photographic immersion. We should have girls’ days like this more often.

PHOTO BY IVAN GARCIA STUDIO
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HOUSTON INSIDE EXCLUSIVE MAGAZINE FALL 2022 Travel is Back! Starshine, Texas Austin, Texas Frisco, Texas Montrose, Colorado Moran, Wyoming Yucatan, Mexico Playa del Carmen, Mexico La Paz, California Ogden, Utah Door County, Wisconsin Plan Your Houston Wedding Sweet Escape! Luxury Abounds at Spread Oaks Ranch Get Award Ready: Our Party Planning Tips EDITOR’S LETTER

Redefine domestic bliss.

Nothing compares.

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NO SUBSTITUTE

Porsche of North America celebrated the grand opening of its newest dealership with a party of epic proportions. Guests, clients, and brand fanatics walked the red carpet, replete with dancers donning red, for an unforgettable sensory experience. Later, these same dancers could be seen from 59 as they swayed back and forth in a Cirque du Soleil performance.

Only Porsche would think to set food a-flame in a food-is-art presentation. Hometown favorite, Clint Black, took the stage for an acoustic set and was joined on stage by baseball great, Roger “The Rocket” Clemens. Thanks to event planner extraordinaire, Debbie Elias, revelers danced the night away in the area normally reserved to service Porsche vehicles. Would you like truffle shavings on your gnocchi? Yes, please! —L.M.V.

PHOTOS BY DANIEL ORTIZ
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ENTREPRENEUR’S ORGANIZATION

It's been more than 25 years since a group of forwardthinking entrepreneurs created such a network of likeminded peers to help each other learn and grow. This global network of business owners, come together to learn, grow and initiate change in the world. Today, as the world’s only peer-to-peer network exclusively for entrepreneurs, EO helps transform the lives of those who transform the world. The Houston Chapter is one of the most robust chapters in the country. -LMV

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PURANIK FOUNDATION’S LOTUS INNOVATION AWARDS GALA

The Puranik Foundation alongside over 400 guests celebrated the first The Energy Project, a semesterlong internship program offering high school students the opportunity to impact the future of sustainability by co-creating alternative innovations benefiting Houston by problem-solving local energy challenges.

The ballroom at The Post Oak Uptown was transformed into a colorful and elegant visual showcase of the Puranik Foundation’s impact in India and Houston. During the Lotus Awards, the sustainable consumption project titled “Karot” was awarded a $15,000 grant for the implementation of the prototype that uses fish to help grow protein and plants in a home aquaponics system, while “GHOST”, an urban design for a better means of transportation to help Houstonians maintain mobility, was awarded the People’s Choice Award.

The Puranik Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in Houston that owns and operates the Vision International Learning Center, a school in Pune, India. The Foundation believes in providing educational opportunities that open minds, stimulate holistic perspectives, and inspire transformation. For more information, visit puranikfoundation.org.

THE WOMEN’S FUND FOR HEALTH EDUCATION AND RESILIENCY HOSTS 7 TH ANNUAL WINE DINNER

The aroma of rich and harmonious wine along with culinary delights and entertainment united more than 200 supporters and guests on the vine for The Women’s Fund for Health Education and Resiliency at the Annual Wine Dinner at Tony’s. The Wine Dinner, presented by The Durdin Family and Parkway Family Chevrolet, Mazda and Kia, raised more than $205,000 to ensure Houston-area women and girls have free access to tools they need to be advocates for their health through classes, workshops, lectures, and publications focused on physical, mental, financial, emotional, health, and wellness.

The Women’s Fund collaborates with community partners to provide its programs and resources free of charge to the communities with limited access to health information. Houston area women and girls learn resiliency skills to increase self-efficiency, decision-making, goal setting, communication, and resourcefulness to be their own health advocates and ensure positive health outcomes for individuals and communities.

For more information, visit thewomensfund.org.

PURANIK PHOTOS BY PRISCILLA DICKSON; WOMEN’S FUND PHOTOS BY DANIEL ORTIZ
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MAGIC IN THE MAKING

How an Instagram ad turned into an experience of a lifetime

Lauren met Lance on Bumble and their relationship progressed quickly. On their third or fourth date, her new man tripped and fell while they were walking around downtown Houston. They now say that corner is where he “fell for her.” Lauren had a trip planned and jumped at the chance to go shopping and visit the nail salon with her mom and some of Lance’s family. Her mom was “just driving around” downtown Houston, when she pulled up to the very same corner where Lance had fallen for her. He was standing there, popped the question, and they celebrated with their family and friends.

Lauren found the Bridal Extravaganza Show through Instagram. When she and her mom attended, she was blown away by the large vendor selection. Everything she could want and need for her wedding was in one place. She realized the value of seeing people and products in person instead of relying on social media images. She also enjoyed the happy environment where everyone was smiling and in a good mood. The Bridal Extravaganza is a positive experience.

Lauren saw the Billboard Bride QR code as she walked through the Bridal Extravaganza and scanned it to see what it was about. She filled out her information and next thing you know she got an interview, followed by a very exciting phone call. She has been chosen to be the next Billboard Bride!

If you are interested in becoming the next Billboard Bride, attend the next Bridal Extravaganza Show or log onto BillboardBride.com

GET THIS LOOK:

Venue: The Grand Galvez

Photographer: Ivan Garcia Studio

Fashion: Venturas Bridal Fashions

Floral & Décor: Rexberry Luxury Weddings & Events

Hair & Makeup: Simple Beauty Artistry

Coordinator: Isabelle Sanchez

Sponsor: Bridal Extravaganza

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TEXAS HEROES ADVOCATING AUTISM RESEARCH

More than outgoing firemen on a calendar, the men and women of T.H.A.A.R. are raising donation funds for the Roundup for Autism/Autism Treatment Center of Texas to help with autism awareness and research. The center provides services such as diagnostic, research, residential, educational, training, therapeutic, and occupational opportunities. Roundup for Autism is a Texas 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information log on to roundupforautism.org.

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CITIZENS FOR ANIMAL PROTECTION

Mr. Magoo fundraiser luau at Starshine, Texas

Home of the first comprehensive pet adoption screening system, and one of the first feral cat assistance programs in the state, the volunteers who founded Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP) 501(c)(3) in 1972 must be proud of the organization’s accomplishments. There is always so much more to do.

CAP has grown from the founding volunteers rescuing animals with their own cars and caring for them in their own homes to the Jane Cizik Center shelter in Katy. The 3.5 acre campus and state-of-the-art 21,000 square foot facility operates at the highest standard of shelter care. CAP has received numerous awards for its shelter operations including the National Humane Award of Excellence from PetSmart Charities, and the Exceptional Adoption Placement Program Award from the New York ASPCA. CAP has the distinction of having earned a 4-star rating for twelve consecutive years from Charity Navigator.

The primary goal remains the same—find more homes for homeless pets.

PHOTOS BY PPD PHOTO
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LA CASA DE LA PLAYA

For the most discerning traveler, La Casa de la Playa is perched on the most pristine, iconic beach in the Cancun area. Muluk Spa has astounding water views. Arrive an hour before your treatment to fully take advantage of this destination spa. Start with ten minutes in the sauna, followed by the steam room. Next, the rectangular hydrotherapy pool has several modes of relaxation. Enjoy a jacuzzi, then massage your feet as you walk over stones. Four spouts with varying degrees of water pressure ease tension as water falls onto the shoulders. Then turn on the bubbles and sit in an underwater reclining chair. Finally, enjoy the views from the edge of the pool. During treatments, therapists will help select relaxing oils to accompany treatments, and work with guests to customize massages. Post treatment, yet another breathtaking area is set aside for herbal tea. Relaxation guaranteed. —L.M.V.

JW MARRIOTT

AUSTIN

As you are scooting around Austin, pop by the Austin Marriott’s sister property, the JW Marriott. Here you’ll find the Spa by JW. I couldn’t resist the Ultimate Aromatherapy Massage. The real standout is the Circadia Oxygen RX Facial. One of the only spas in Austin to offer this treatment, this facial has immediate, dramatic results by using a machine that sprays moisturizers onto the skin with a stream of pressurized oxygen. This is nourishing and beneficial for all skin types. —L.M.V.

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A WEEKEND AT THE RANCH

Spread Oaks Ranch offers a luxurious escape, so close to home

Spread Oaks Ranch is one of the original Texas settlements. The term “Old 300” refers to the first 300 colonists Stephen F. Austin recruited to move to Texas in the 1800s. Two of those freshly minted Texas landowners, 36-year-old Tennessean Hosea H. League and 24-year-old Arkansan John Crier would stake their claims on lands that are now part of Spread Oaks Ranch.

Today this Texas gem is a buzzworthy luxury destination. About an hour from Houston, this pristine ranch is nestled along the Colorado River, rich in Texas history and full of Texas hospitality. From the luxe accommodations, field-and-farm cuisine, attentive staff and onsite sleeping accommodations for 24, to the infinity-pool and Texas country views, Spread Oaks Ranch impresses.

Dining here is a treat. Most items served have been raised on property. The field-and-farm-totable Texas ranch creations from Chef Ric Rosser change daily as ingredients become available. The smokehouse is always smoking as he cures meats for charcuterie

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF SPREAD OAKS RANCH

boards and gourmet salads, his legendary kitchen creates a gastronomic symphony of spectacular meals.

About an hour from Houston, this pristine ranch is nestled along the Colorado River, rich in Texas history and full of Texas hospitality.

Live music fans love the Cozy Concerts series. One artist performs each weekend evening on the front porch underneath the moon and stars for a small group of Spread Oaks guests. The weekend Inside Houston visited, the entertainment was Bob Schneider and The Secret Sisters. The festivities included dinner and drinks before the show and a special snack afterwards. The most exciting part of the evening was casually hanging out with the musicians after the show. The next day, after brunch, guests chose from a massage, skeet shooting, or ranch tour. Farewell brunch had us all promising to sign up for next year’s tour.

To book your weekend escape, visit spreadoaksranch.com.

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A New Star is borN

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DAY TRIP

One of Houston’s newest party spaces is ready to wow guests with its upscale amenities, outdoor green space, and beachside tiki huts.

The owners of Starshine, Texas want you to join them at an unexpected escape, right inside Houston’s city limits. A beautiful feature about this unique location is the versatility it provides. Are you looking for a corporate retreat, weekend getaway, fundraiser, or wedding event space? Starshine, Texas is simply a one-of-a-kind, “must see it to believe it” space.

You and your guests can choose from an array of amenities and enjoy 25 acres of beautiful outdoor space. Imagine holding your event on the beach without having to travel to Galveston, South Padre or Mexico. This is possible at Starshine, thanks to the semi-private lake and private beach offered by the venue. As you enter the property, you see a grand staircase—perfect for welcoming your guests.

The luau theme is a natural for this location; it has been used by many charities to rally the troops and raise funds. Recently, Citizens for Animal Protection held their summer fundraiser here, followed by Congressman Dan Crenshaw’s annual Independence Day Celebration, “Summer of 1776”, celebrated with a hillside concert, children’s fun area, picnics and fireworks.

For more information log on to starshinetx.wixsite.com/website-1.

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ADVENTURES IN AUSTIN

For years I’ve heard about the bat bridge in Austin but have never seen the bats. I scratched out some time in my schedule and took the family to Austin with hopes of finally seeing Mexican Free-Tailed Bats take off at sunset from the Congress Avenue Bridge.

A little on-line research finds the bat population has swelled since a 1980 renovation of the bridge created an ideal bat cave. The best times of the year are late March through early fall; 7:30-9:45pm. Bat watchers are vigilant, often skipping dinner as they wait for bats to fly into the evening sky.

The Austin landscape (and skyline) has changed, especially near the river. Once upon a time, not long ago, there were expansive views of Town Lake and the Capital Building; these are now blocked by shiny new high and mid-rises. In what was formerly a parking lot and Mexican food restaurant, you’ll now find the Austin Marriott Downtown.

This new, bustling hotel has everything for a perfect Austin escape. The beautifully appointed restaurant, Corinne, features modern, American fare with a focus on local ingredients. You’ll love the familiarity of the menu and appreciate the upscale flair added to each dish. Their specialty is the Rotisserie Lemon Chicken, replete with shoestring fries, and poached egg mayo. We also enjoyed the Wagyu Burger and Ora King Salmon. The inviting wrap around patio we dined on features happy hour at the outdoor bar Monday-Friday from 3:006:00pm. Here you might notice people cruising around downtown on scooters.

Scooters are everywhere in Austin. Find one you want to ride, download the app, tap your credit card and go.

This is a great way to see the city, drive by the capital, head to the bat bridge, shop and more.

Around the corner from the Austin Marriott is the famed Rainey Street. This little block of Austin is lined with old houses that have been turned into bungalow bars. Popular and fairly-well hidden, it is great for walks during the day and bar hopping by night. Day or night, you’ll find relaxed bar-goers strolling the area. The rustic-chic Craft Pride features 51 Texas-only beer taps, plus experts to tell you all about them. Swing in the sunshine in a hammock on Lucille’s patio. Revelers can hop from one bar to the next and safely return to the Marriott.

Now back to the bats. We were in Austin two nights in July and joined the crowds right before sunset on the bridge. Everyone watched the bridge with anticipation, from the shore around the bridge and from party boats on the river. We waited for the surreal dark cloud to ascend into the sky. We waited and waited, while making friends with a couple visiting from Sweden. They’d come much farther than we had. Was it the wind? Was it the looming hint of rain? We still are not certain, but on both of our evenings in July, the bats did not come out.

We still loved our time in Austin, and we won’t give up on the bats.

To learn more about the bats in Austin, visit batcon.org/our-work and austintexas.org/ listings/ann-richards-congress-avenue-bridgebats/2841

Book a stay at mariott.com and secure a reservation at corinneatx.com

Austin Marriott Downtown served as our home base as we enjoyed Austin by day and waited for bats by night.
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DAY TRIP

An Ace in Dallas

Any way you slice it, the Westin Dallas Stonebriar Golf Resort & Spa gets high marks from us.

Can’t make it to the Hamptons? Head to north Texas for a quick country club escape. The Westin Dallas Stonebriar Golf Resort & Spa recently reopened its doors as Dallas-Fort Worth’s premier luxury and wellness destination following a fullscale $30 million revitalization. In the heart of the Frisco/Plano area, this ideal retreat is located on 400 acres, close to local attractions, and just thirty minutes from Dallas. The property is the only destination of its kind in the area, offering 302 upscale guest rooms, and over 30,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

Included in the renovation is a new, on-site golf pro shop, state-of-the-art WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio, luxury Well & Being spa, TopGolf Swing Suite, a revived outdoor pool with cabanas, a waterslide and kids splash pad, poolside restaurant & bar, Ranch Water, and a full-service restaurant Herd & Hearth.

STAY COOL

Definitely plan to spend the day at the pool. We suggest a private, shaded cabana where fresh fruit, libations, and snacks abound. Make this your home base as you enjoy the breakfast buffet at the pool’s newly opened eatery. Ranch Water is a new outdoor space adjacent to the pool. Affectionately named after the popular Southern beverage, Ranch Water, they offer great drinks and light poolside treats. Make new friends on the game lawn with a mini-golf hole,

corn hole, horse shoes, and other lawn games to keep both kids and adults entertained. The large, resort style pool keeps you cool for hours. Kids will have a blast going down the waterslide and playing on the splash pad.

FULL SERVICE

All of the upscale amenities you’d expect are here, from a brand-new spa to a state-of-the-art gym. Enjoy the Well & Being Spa for massages, facials, and more. Just down the hallway, the WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio is open 24 hours. The centrally located bar offers live music on the patio and late-night apps. Saturday night is movie night on the lawn.

SCORE

Playing golf here is a treat. The storied Tom Faziodesigned course is one of Frisco’s legendary courses. This 18-hole, championship golf course features gently contoured greens, native grass areas, and masterfully integrated bunkers. Individual lessons are available for players of all skill levels. Keeping the golf theme alive, the entertainment center, TopGolf, brings the fun to you at the Westin. The TopGolf Swing Suite has a massive screen, frosted glass, and air walls delivering a one-of-a-kind simulation. The TopGolf Swing Suite is perfect for after parties and corporate happy hours for up to 30 guests.

Visit marriott.com to book a stay.

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The Peak of Outdoor Adventures

Majestic mountain resorts offer plenty of fun without the climb in Colorado and Wyoming

Houstonians can enjoy nearly 300 acres of spruce, pine and aspen forestry at this five-star mountain escape in Montrose, Colorado. Dining here is to die for and the views are spectacular. Enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as skeet shooting, fishing and tennis. Day trips to Telluride are effortless if you can muster the strength to leave this beautiful setting.

Book a stay at ElkMountainResort.com

SIGNAL MOUNTAIN LODGE

On the shores of Jackson Lake, in the heart of Grand Teton National Park, Signal Mountain Lodge in Wyoming offers a great launch pad to enjoy two National Parks: The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. We love waking up early to get a jump on the day and see our first elk by 7:00am. You can book several activities through the lodge, most notably boat rental, river float trips, and guided lake fishing.

DINE WITH A VIEW

The grass-fed beef burgers at Trapper Grill are sustainably raised in Jackson Hole by Lockhart Cattle Company. Be warned, the nacho appetizer can feed eight!

Visit SignalMountainLodge.com for more information.

ELK MOUNTAIN RESORT TOP TO BOTTOM: THE ELK MOUNTAIN RESORT LODGE; LET THE CHILDREN RUN ALONG THE SHORES OF JACKSON LAKE AT SIGNAL MOUNTAIN!
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STAYCATION

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26 INSIDE HOUSTON

Yucatan—the colors, the culture—all so close to home for Texans

Instead of crossing the pond and heading to Europe on your vacation, you’ll find culture, history, architecture, dining, beaches and more in the state of Yucatan, Mexico. The region was just named Best Wedding Destination – Mexico at the travel industries’ Travvy Awards; now is the perfect time to see what the buzz is all about.

Mexico and the world marked the rebirth of tourism to Mexico at the travel industry’s most important event, Tuaguis Turistico, held in Mérida at the end of 2021. Yucatan’s state Minister of Tourism, Michelle Fridman Hirsch, said, “The rebuilding of the tourism industry in our state, and Mexico’s, has been incredibly important, as it represents the livelihood of so many people in our country and impacts so much of the international travel and tourism industry. We look forward to the renewal of the country’s general tourism industry.”

Whether you are looking for adventure, cosmopolitan culture, or Mexico’s small-town traditional options, there is so much to see and explore. Here are some highlights.

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Mas Colores

MAYAPÁN ARCHAEOLOGICAL ZONE

There are many, many ruins throughout the area; you should visit at least one. Mayapán is especially interesting because there are approximately 57 structures in the Central Plaza, a pyramid and a rare Observatory. In this site ceramic objects, mural paintings, and stucco sculptures have been recovered helping depict the history of this important Mayan city. You can also climb to the top of one of the pyramids, many historical sites no longer allow this guest experience.

TEKIT

Yucatan has some seemingly forgotten villages. Take a step back in time in Tekit as you meet local artisans and bakers. A traditional male shirt, Guayabera, is the standard dress here. Known worldwide as a garment associated with Cuba and Latin America, these light weight shirts are identified by four pockets and two rows of pleats. This men’s staple is standard attire at weddings and social events. Tekit is the epicenter of the guayabera production in the state, with more than 200 manufacturing workshops. Don’t leave without a guayabera.

UXMAL

In the north-west part of the Yucatán, Uxmal flourished between the 6th and 10th centuries. Its buildings are noted for their size and decoration. One of the best preserved of all Mayan sites, check out the video immersion event, Ecos De Uxmal, a fun way to see this site at night. Where to Stay: Hotel Resort Maya is an oasis on your way to the ruins. Learn more about Mayan culture at the hotel, enjoy a resort pool and views of Uxmal. The archeological site is walking distance from your hotel.

CAMINO DEL MAYAB

You might have heard of the Camino de Santiago hike and bike paths in Spain, and now the Yukatan has an option, too. This is a long-distance trail, created on ancient roads connecting 17 communities to one

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another. Hikers and bikers enjoy birds, plants and cenotes as they travel from one community to another. Reservations are required so you can enjoy meals in private homes and stay at private Haciendas throughout your journey. Your passport will be stamped at each stop. We departed from Yunku and had the chance to check out Cenote Yunku. The stairs are steep, and worth the hike. The crystal-clear water and Stalactites create an other-worldly atmosphere.

MOTUL

The town of Motul is a great example of a Spanish Colonial town. Wandering through the market gives you the opportunity to take in the scents and colors of the region. Above the central Mercado, at Doña Evelia, you’ll find the birthplace of a popular breakfast dish huevos

HUEVOS MOTULEÑOS INGREDIENTS: • Eggs • Corn tortillas (a day old) • Vegetable oil • Habanero pepper • Red onions (minced) • Refried black beans • Tomatoes (diced) • Salt to taste • Green peas (cooked) • Queso añejo (or fresh crumbled cheese) • Cooked ham (diced) • Plantains

Whether you are looking for adventure, cosmopolitan culture, or Mexico’s small-town traditional options, there is so much to see and explore.

motuleños. Whether over easy or sunny-side-up, you’ll love the flavor combination of beans and tomato sauce, fried tortillas, habanero chile, and fried plantains.

SAN CRISANTO

San Crisanto is a one of a kind eco-tourism destination including beaches, thousands of meters of mangroves and 45 cenotes. The members of Ejido de San Crisanto cooperative have previously promoted fishing, coconut, and salt for the region. Today, the focus is on tourism. Enjoy a lovely boat tour where you float through mangroves with your gondolier, observing the flora and fauna. Helecho Giante is a hidden cenote only accessible via boat on this tour. When you arrive, you will likely be the only group visiting.

SINANCHÉ APITOURISM TOUR

This part of the world is a buzz with information about bees. Find out how bees help the ecosystem, learn about honey production, and so much more. This area is famous for the melipona bee, a very special species that lives in the Yucatan. Sinanché is a destination located one hour from Merida, between Motul and San Crisanto. Here you can learn from a beekeeper, don a beekeeper suit and interact with bees! During the tour, visit several themed cabins where you can learn about the history, the process of honey production, taste honey and make a natural wax candle.

DINING IN MERIDA

Picheta: Located above the historic square, Picheta, offers contemporary cuisine with great views of the cathedral. This spacious restaurant has many great locations for a festive rehearsal dinner. The rooftop of La Plaza Central de Mérida, is sure to wow your guests.

Micaela Mar y Leña: This hotspot is perfect if you are staying in the town center. See and be seen and don’t miss the grilled octopus, tuna and oysters Rockefeller.

ESSENTIALS:

To book your adventure in the Yucatan, contact Via AlterNativa (viaalternativa.com.mx) or Yucatan Travel (yucatan.travel).

La Paz: Dream Destination

Nestled in the mountains of the Baja California Sur in Mexico on the Sea of Cortez, the Costa Baja Resort and Spa in La Paz provides a true escape from the overcrowded, bustling tourist beach wedding destinations.

For couples looking for a destination wedding experience that offers a serene, private location, this is the perfect resort. While some airlines offer flights to the La Paz airport, the resort is only a two hour drive from Los Cabos International Airport.

The 550 acre property offers several rehearsal dinner, wedding, and reception venues. Most couples prefer a beach wedding ceremony, but some desire a mountain top setting overlooking the ocean at sunset, and both can accommodate several hundred guests. A wedding at the grand pool provides a grand staircase for the bride's entrance.

Costa Baja offers a full time wedding planner on-site for the couple. Weddings are often customized with the flowers sourced locally and the menu prepared by the resort’s chef. While there are several packages available, couples can customize the menu to reflect their food preferences and their story.

Most couples opt to stay in one of the ten luxurious “Super Suites” at the hotel, which includes a bedroom, living room, outdoor bathtub and wrap around terrace overlooking the Sea of Cortez or the Marina. Guest rooms, condominiums and townhomes are

also available for wedding guests on the property.

The marina surrounding the resort offers the amenities of what can be found at larger resort properties, including several restaurants that can satisfy any palate, from sushi to Italian. The restaurants located on the hotel site can provide a custom chef tasting menu at the signature restaurant Steinbeck’s. Breakfast is offered daily at the more casual Mosaic restaurant in the hotel. Additionally, like most resorts, the property offers poolside snacks and a bar.

In planning activities for wedding guests or a honeymoon, the hotel concierge can make arrangements through FunBaja, which is located at the marina. Top excursions include fishing, scuba diving, city tours, and snorkeling with the gentle giant whale sharks. Some of the can’t miss activities include a visit to Balandra Beach, a 15 minute drive provides a quiet respite that is populated by the locals and visitors in the know for kayaking among the mangroves and a beach walk to see the naturally sculpted mushroom rock.

If couples are looking for more of a party scene, then a visit to Tecolote Beach, lined with open air

The 550 acre property offers several rehearsal dinner, wedding, and reception venues.
Most couples prefer a beach wedding ceremony, but some desire a mountain top setting overlooking the ocean at sunset.
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COURTESY PHOTOS IN FOLDER

restaurants serving fresh seafood, music and is typically fairly crowded, especially on the weekends.

La Paz is the capitol city of Baja California Sur, Mexico and a visit downtown shouldn’t be missed. Guests can visit the Mercado Market for fresh seafood, produce, locally crafted souvenirs, and fresh squeezed juices.

The local culinary specialty, which can be prepared and eaten in the market, is manta ray. Chefs dry it with salt, sauté and serve it in tacos with tomatoes and onions. True to the Cabo area cuisine, tacos of all seafood varieties are found in most of the local restaurants.

Downtown La Paz also boasts a 5k promenade for strolling, jogging or exercising along the seaside route at the exercise stations. The downtown district is lined with boutiques for shopping, most of which are locally owned and operated. If meat is on the mind, then most recommend trying the barbeque at J&R Ribs. If a Catholic Church wedding is a must, couples can request the Santa Rosa historic church in the heart of

downtown, but it must be reserved at least six months in advance.

A visit to La Paz would not be complete without a boat tour to Isla Espiritu Santo, a private beach, for homemade lunch, kayaking, snorkeling, and relaxing. Isla Espíritu Santo is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and has the most intact ecosystem of any island in the Sea of Cortez. The area is home to coral reefs and over 400 species of fish. Along the way, visitors should make a stop at Los Islotes (a set of three rock formations) to snorkel and play with a den of more than 400 sea lions, or as they call them, the puppies of the sea. Juvenile sea lions will pose, swim, race, and play chicken with their visitors.

Costa Baja offers on-site activities as well, including a 95 acre golf course, with 14 of the 18 holes offering an ocean view. The course is one of the first Gary Player signature golf courses in the world. The hotel provides a palmfringed, freeform outdoor pool with an adjacent children’s pool. In addition to exercise equipment, the fitness center includes a

rooftop lap pool. And, if there are families in the wedding party, children, ages 3–10, have access to a kids club.

Espiritu, the resort’s spa, offers guests unique treatments that aim to harmonize the body, mind and spirit for a journey of inner and outer wellness. The spa utilizes a fusion of aromatherapy, local herbs, Chakra, Reiki, hot stones, quartz, reflexology, Ho’oponopono, and self-made elixirs to blend the new and ancestral techniques for custom spa treatments. The signature Damiana Ritual, based on a local, ancient plant with therapeutic benefits, begins with a foot massage with oranges, a cleansing of the aura with local Copal incense, a reading of the body’s energy that indicates the custom aromatherapy treatment needed, followed by a full body massage, facial, body wrap, and scalp massage using pure almond oil, Mexican lavender and Damiana extract. The spa can also accommodate hair and make up for the bridal party if needed. For more information, visit costabajaresort.com

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HELLO, BEAUTIFUL D E K A L A S H . C O M
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Ogden, Utah’s next big thing

With easy access to nearyby mountains, Ogden’s vibrant and friendly community has a lot more to offer than skiing.

Utah has long been a skiing destination for Texans; most head to the beehive state to ski Park City. Thirty-three miles northeast of Park City and under an hour from the Salt Lake City airport, you’ll find the sleepy mountain town Ogden. Historic 25th street is exactly what you expect in a quaint mountain town. Dine at Table Twenty-Five and try several options like the Beef Stroganoff from the homemade pasta menu and the friend chicken sandwich with honey. A great activity is to bar hop and meet the super friendly locals.

Be sure to check out the Farmer’s Market every Saturday in the summer. Speaking of summer, it won’t take a minute to get used to the lack of humidity. There are three mountains all less than thirty minutes from Ogden accessible for mountain biking, hiking, and skiing.

Most famously, Snowbasin was home to three Olympic events in 2002. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to enjoy this mountain. In fact, it’s perfect for skiers of all skill levels. It’s always a thrill to take the Allen Peak Tram to see the same view as Olympians competing in the Men’s and Women’s Downhill, Super G and Combined events. Visit SnowBasin.com and VisitOgden.com to plan your next trip!

WHERE TO STAY: COMPASS ROSE LODGE

The quaint city of Huntsville is less than fifteen minutes away from Ogden. New to the luxury hospitality scene, the Compass Rose Lodge is the perfect location to stage your mountain vacation. Beware: an epic snowball fight just might break out!

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Adventure Awaits in Wisconsin

Door County, Wisconsin is delightful, dynamic, and daring. It is a perfect place for an adventure filled vacation in a beautiful setting.

Boasting approximately 300 miles of shoreline, this peninsula is home to numerous communities and towns. The communities in Door County have a lot in common: stunning views, friendly locals, quaint boutiques and shops, plenty of outdoor activities, zero chain stores or restaurants, and fresh farm-to-table cuisine. Yet, each town has a distinct personality and exploring is an imperative. The Door County peninsula is

surrounded by Green Bay on the west and Lake Michigan on the east. Gorgeous sunrises and sunsets are easily found throughout Door County.

SUNRISE

Cave Point County Park, Sturgeon Bay: Sunrise in the park is breathtaking. The park, however, opens at 6 am and your best bet is to go in early or late summer to catch the best view.

Bailey’s Harbor: Grab a coffee, head to Anclam town park, find a spot, and enjoy.

SUNSET Waterfront Park, Sister Bay: Twilight is gorgeous. Waterfront Park is the largest public waterfront park in the county. There are plenty of places to watch the sunset.

Anderson Dock, Ephraim: Colors explode as the sun sets on the historic, deep-water Anderson Dock. The graffiti house sitting on the dock was once a storage facility for sailors and merchants. Sailors would commemorate their arrival by noting it on the house. Today, the graffiti house is a community art gallery. Stop by, tour the gallery, create your own art on the house and watch a gorgeous sunset.

Newport State Park – Dark Sky: The dark sky at Newport State Park is a stargazer’s delight. On a clear night thousands of stars are visible. If you are lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Milky Way. Located on the shore of Lake Michigan and at the end of the peninsula, New Port State Park is one of the darkest places in Wisconsin.

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DOOR COUNTY FOR COUPLES

Door County is a perfect getaway for couples. The county has numerous ways to experience the peninsula.

Outdoor adventures are available most of the year, including hiking, biking, and camping. The county has five state parks and 19 county parks. Trailheads are always nearby.

Door County is a cyclist’s dream. Winding tree-lined roads and welldefined paths through the woods provide great rides whether you ride on the road or off. Bicycles can be rented on the island.

Peninsula Sate Park is a great place to hit the trails and has many going through woods, along the bluffs, and to the shoreline. Most trails lead to the shoreline.

The county is dotted with wineries, breweries and cideries, and cherry

and apple orchards. As of 2019, Door County was the fourth largest producer of cherries in the United States. Long-established Seaquist Orchards in Sister Bay produces approximately 6 million pounds of cherries annually. Stop by, browse the shop, and try the cherry pie!

Door County offers many types of dining experiences including fine dining at Wickman House in Ellison Bay, fast casual at the Albatross Drive-In in Washington and unique dining at The Fireside in Egg Harbor. You will not find an Applebee’s or McDonald’s in Door County. All restaurants are locally owned and operated and each bring their own flair to the table.

Make sure you stop by Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant and try the Swedish pancakes

with lingonberries and Swedish meatballs. If you are daring, give the pickled herring a chance!

The restaurant does not accept reservations so plan to get there when they open at 7am for quick seating. Otherwise, plan to wait (and it is well worth the wait).

You might notice something strange outside and on the roof of the restaurant…yes, goats on the sod roof. The goats spend their days on the roof and their nights in a barn on the outskirts of Sister Bay. Please note, goats are not on the roof in the winter. They are usually there from May to October.

Door County is approximately a 45-minute drive from Green Bay and 2.5 hours from Milwaukee. Be sure to rent a car. Public transportation is limited, and walking is not a great option.

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Call today to learn about our booking specials! 281-639-8077 Rustic elegance & country charm! The Grand Hall At Deer Lake Lodge Grandhalltexas.com
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42 INSIDE HOUSTON ENTERTAINMENT

I’D like to THANK the ACADEMY

Bill King and Cheryl Boblitt hosted an Academy Awards event as a way to usher in a new season of blockbuster movies.

Friends gathered around the television, played Oscar trivia, and enjoyed scrumptious light bites. Deborah Elias of Elias Events created themed popcorn and a signature drink.

Food by Tom Flynn Photography by Charlie Horse Photos
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THE OSCAR FIZZ

Line the top of Champagne flute with a little lemon and then swirl that into Gold Sugar to create a pretty rim.

Fill with an ounce of Pomegranate Juice and then fill to top with your favorite champagne or sparkling wine.

Top off with fresh pomegranate seeds.

POPCORN GALORE Spicy – combine popcorn with siracha sauce

Sweet – combine popcorn with caramel sauce and Reeces pieces

Savory – combine popcorn with a lemon pepper and Cajun spice mixture

All served in Oscar-themed containers.

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LORO

One of the few American sushi masters, James Beard Awardwinning Chef and Owner Tyson Cole is a passionate student of the Japanese tradition, a tradition he’s introduced throughout Austin, Dallas, Houston, Denver, and Miami with Uchi, Uchiko and Uchibā. In 2018, Aaron Franklin, of Franklin Barbecue and Tyson Cole, merged their two loves of Asian and Texas cuisine together to create the acclaimed Asian smokehouse, Loro.

The menu features grilled and smoked meats with Southeast Asian and Japanese-inspired sauces, sides, and a bar that boasts craft beer, boozy slushees, and batch cocktails. Any dish you order from Loro, contains the soul, technique, and flavors of Southeast Asia and Japan combined with traditional smoke flavors of the Lone Star State. Be sure to order the snap

peas to share, and don’t miss the corn fritters.

Set in a building which once was the West 11th Church of God in the Heights, the vibe here is casual and communal. The high ceilings from this 1940s building are still beautifully intact. The design makes you feel at home. Think Texas Dancehall with indoor and outdoor dining areas. Sharing is encouraged, no reservations necessary. Order food at the bar and sit in the expansive indoor space or hang outside on the shaded porch.

The intent is a warm, laid-back, and leisurely space to welcome anyone looking for good food and good times. Houston, you deserve this.

Loro 1001 W 11th St. Houston, TX 77008

50 INSIDE HOUSTON DINING
LoroEats.com PHOTOS BY HANNAH MORRISON
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