Food, Wine, Travel Magazine Romantic Destinations Issue

Page 1

February 2021

the romantic destinations issue 1


letter from the editor Most people would probably consider my husband and me losers when it comes to playing the romantic card. It’s been more than 20 years since we went out on Valentine’s Day; the crowds and two-hour wait past our reservation time finally did us in. I usually cook a favorite meal, open a bottle of wine, and put candles on the table, but before we finish, we’ve probably turned the lights back on so we can stab our forks into our food instead of into our hands. The same goes for presents. I prefer to buy my own clothes; I’ll take Brighton and Pandora over gold and diamonds; and I would definitely choose the newest technology—camera, iPhone, Macbook, Apple Watch—over chocolates (more useful, fewer calories). And, to tell the truth, I’d give that all up for an adventure to one of our favorite places—Bologna, Abruzzo, the Cotswolds, Guernsey, Barcelona, Helsinki, Toronto, Stockholm, Dublin, Cork…. Wouldn’t we all? In this issue, our writers take us to some of their favorite romantic places. Join them as they head to Rome, Cape Town, and Heidelberg; the Grenadines, Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake Lousie, and Bainbridge Island. Join a safari in Botswana or on the Kariega Game Reserve. Enjoy wine on the Rhine or Cape Town, a cocktail (or two) in New Mexico, and special dinners in The Woodlands and San Diego. We hope you enjoy our journeys and can take your own soon.


Stay safe.

Christine Cutler Executive Editor

Christine Cutler | Executive Editor Amy Piper | Managing Editor Debbra Dunning Brouillette | AssociateEditor Noreen Kompanik | Associate Editor Irene Levine | Assistant Editor Jan Smith | Assistant Editor, Columns Mary Farah | Marketing Manager Robyn Nowell | Marketing Manager Paula Shuck | Marketing

Magazine Layout & Design Christine Cutler

Editorial Board

Debbra Dunning Brouilette David Drotar Mary Farah Irene Levine Kathy Merchant

Contributing Writers/Photographers Jane Ammeson Jo-Anne Bowen Elsa Dixon Debbra Dunning Brouillette Scott Kendall Kathy Merchant Janie Pace Linda Stewart

The iconic studentenkussor sign at Chocolaterie Knosel @Jane Simon Ammeson.


Loretta Berry Christine Cutler Robin Dohrn-Simpson Joeann Fossland Noreen Kompanik Nancy Mueller Barbara Redding

All articles & photographs are copyright of writer unless otherwise noted. No part of this publication may be reproduced without express written permission.


Editor: IFWTWA: Marketing: Visit our website:

On the cover:

David Nershi Robyn Nowell Noreen Kompanik Amy Piper Jan Smith

Table of Contents 3 From the Editor 7 Rome, the Eternal City of Romance


11 Romancing Germany’s Rhine River 14 Out of Africa~Seductive Five Star Tented 
 Safari in Kariega Game Reserve 16 Cocktails from the Land of Enchantment 18 Romance Among the Ruins: Heidelberg on the 
 Neckar River 21 Romantic Luxury at La Posada



23 Romance at Tommy Bahama in The Woodlands 25 Botswana Safari in Kwetsani Camp 29 Isn’t It Romantic? 8 of The World’s Most Romantic Destinations 30 Romance in the Blue Ridge Mountains 32 Private Island Resorts in the Grenadines


36 Romantic Getaway to 'Miles from Ordinary!' 
 Bainbridge Island, Washington 38 The Prado Restaurant Romance in Balboa Park, San Diego 40 Romantic Lake Louise 42 A Romantic Weekend in Cape Town, South Africa 44 Meet Our Writers
















The Eternal
 City of 

By Noreen Kompanik


Roman Colosseum


hen in Rome, do as the Romans do. And what do today’s Romans do best? Love and romance.

Rome is a place with extraordinary historic tales, treasures, and ruins that represent a once-great civilization that no longer exists. Rome is special and unique. And it’s all about amore. Once it gets under your skin, the eternal city is impossible to forget. It pierces the soul. It’s the perfect place to stroll hand in hand with the one you love, taking in the sights, sounds, and scents of the Eternal City. Love wafts from each and every piazza like the tantalizing aromas of Italian food. It’s no wonder Rome is one of the world’s top destinations for a romantic getaway. These are some of the ways we guarantee you’ll find magic in this enchanting city of fountains.

Tossing a Coin in the 
 Trevi Fountain
 Rome is indeed the city of fountains—and there are thousands scattered throughout the city. But, its most treasured and famous is the Trevi. Legend says if you toss a coin in the fountain (right hand over left shoulder), it ensures your return to Rome. It’s something we do on each visit to the Eternal City, and it must work— as we always come back.

Strolling Along the Tiber River
 Ponte Sant'Angelo, known as the “Bridge of Angels” is also Rome’s number one kissing bridge. It’s magical to walk through this splendid

area at night with the twinkling lights of Castel Sant'Angelo as a magnificent backdrop as the Tiber River shimmers with their reflections.

Wandering the Villa 
 Borghese Garden
 Built in the 17th century, the Villa Borghese Garden is an amazingly picturesque landscape g a r d e n surrounded by nature, art and exceptional panoramas.

Trevi Fountain (L); Horse & Carriage Ride in Rome (R)


We love meandering

For someone who has never seen Rome, it is hard to believe how beautiful life can be.


Ponte Sant’Angelo on the Tiber River

through the peaceful grounds beautified with Roman statuary and structures like the Villa Borghese, and magnificent Borghese Gallery and Museum.

like the Mausoleum of Augustus and St. Peter’s Basilica. All the while our horseman regaled us with tales of Rome’s fascinating history as we cuddled

Taking a Horse & Carriage Tour
 There’s something so romantic about a carriage ride through the timeless passages of Rome. It was like living a fairytale as we clippity-clopped our way past ancient landmarks


Piazza Navona in Rome (L); Villa Borghese Garden (R)

Photos from left: Roman Colosseum side view; Dinner View of the Pantheon; Magnificent Dome inside the Pantheon; Inside Antica Caffe Greco

merrily under a blanket to ward off the evening chill.

absolutely breathtaking, a tribute to glories past.

Visiting the Colosseum 
 at Twilight

The Italians are masters of the art of fine food and wine. Add in the ambience of candlelight, the hauntingly beautiful music of a violin, and masterful dining in the Pantheon’s piazza made it one of the most romantic and unforgettable moments of our lives.

No matter how many times you view photos of Rome’s iconic and magnificent, Colosseum, seeing it in person is amazing due it its sheer enormity. Gladiators once fought in this massive stadium built in 70 A.D. The amphitheater is incredibly impressive from the exterior, but, walking through its interior is a must. Although ravaged by time and human destruction, what remains echoes powerfully the glory and grandeur of Rome. From sunset to the twilight hour, the Colosseum reflects the sun producing an almost indescribable golden glow. It’s our favorite time of the day to visit, and we’re always mesmerized by this extraordinary experience.

Dining in View of the Pantheon
 After dark, Rome transforms into a magical wonderland. Many of its iconic sights are illuminated, but, there’s something special about the Pantheon. The most complete Roman building remaining today and one if its major archeological wonders; the dome is


Savoring a Caffe in Rome’s Oldest Coffee Bar Located on the world-famous Via dei Condotti near the famous Spanish Steps, Antico Caffè Greco is Rome’s oldest and most enchanting coffee bar, established in 1760. Caffè’s walls are adorned with an endless array of memorabilia, statues, paintings, and portraits of its famous guests. The eclectic baroque atmosphere is enchanting with its red velvet chairs, marble tables, soft classical music, and staff in tuxes and long-tail coats serving its adoring guests. Yes, our coffee and pastries were delectable, but it was the atmosphere that literally took the cake. It’s no wonder that for over 2,500 years, emperors, popes, artists, musicians, and lovers have left their indelible mark on Rome. This beguiling city has been a siren call to so many over the centuries. I know it has for us, and we hear it calling again.


Germany’s Rhine River By Kathy Merchant

Photos clockwise from left: © Wines of Germany; Town of OestrichWinkel; Weingut Robert Weil (Rheingau); Beautiful Church Blessing Fall Harvest; Town of Bernkastel-Kues (Mosel)


ermany is among the most underappreciated travel destinations in the world. It is a convenient road trip for many Europeans who can easily drive from neighboring countries to the prestigious Riesling wine regions clustered in Germany’s southwest quadrant. For those of us who must fly to enjoy Germany, it will be worth the wait for post-COVID global travel to reopen in 2021-22.



Booking a flight to Frankfurt’s Flughafen (FRA) airport is the easiest way to begin a journey along the Rhine River promising a feast for the eyes: castles dot

the landscape, steep vineyards light the way to prestigious wineries, and quaint villages offer a living history of traditional gothic and modern Bauhaus German architecture.

customs, and cuisine. Most people think of Germany as a country divided into east and west, as it was during the Cold War until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The north/south divide, owing primarily to Bavarian influences following the Prussian War, is informally called the “white sausage equator” (Weißwurstäquator), a nod to preferences is cuisine.

Frankfurt sits in the middle of the country, effectively a bridge between north and south. A five-to-seven-day journey through three of Germany’s premier wine regions— Rheingau, Mosel, and Rheinhessen—forms a neat travel triangle along the Rhine, starting and ending at the Frankfurt airport.
 The northern and southern regions of Germany are distinctly different in culture,

As you leave the Frankfort Airport, start your journey on the right bank of the Rhine River heading toward Weisbaden, the main city in the Rheingau wine region and the unofficial gateway to the Rhine. Rheingau is a relatively small wine region, but offers many

historic castles, homes, and other points of interest in many small towns such as OestrichWinkel, Kiedrich, and Eltville.

cable car to the top of the mountain will yield a spectacular view of the Rhine River.

Continuing along the Rhine, heading west toward the Mosel River tributary, it is well worth the meandering drive to Bernhastel-Kues and a tight cluster of wineries in and around this picturesque town. There are many vineyards and other small towns to explore. On your way you will pass the controversial bridge over the Mosel called Hochmoselbrücke. Be sure to plan a visit to Marksburg Castle, the only castle in the Middle Rhine that has not been destroyed during its 800-year history. A stop at Seilbahn Rudesheim to ride a

Complete your travel triangle along the left bank of the Rhine heading east in the direction of Mainz. The gentle rolling hills of Rheinhessen, Germany’s largest wine region, is immediately south of the Rheingau. Generally, its best vineyards are located near the Rhine river. The towns of Neustadt, Nackenheim, Nierstein, and Oppenheim are some of the best-known wine towns in the area.

 Some habits are hard to break.

Photos: (L) Town of Riedlingen; (Top to bottom) Villa Wolf (Pfalz); Vineyards on the Mosel River; Steep Mosel Vineyards


To this day, many people hold tightly to the old image of German Riesling wines as sweet plonk. Perhaps “Blue Nun Liebfraumilch” comes to mind? That may have been true forty years ago, but the reputation has stuck despite a massive quality overhaul in Germany. Even Blue Nun, which is still produced, has kicked it up a notch in quality. About a decade ago, a new fine wine category called Grosses Gewachs (GG for short) was established to honor top quality dry Riesling wines.

Visitors to Germany in 2021 and beyond will find that special treats await wine enthusiasts. The last two vintages, 2018 and 2019, were spectacular, earning

rave reviews and high ratings across the world. Reviewers praise the 2018 vintage as one of the best in recent memory for both quantity and quality. Things were even better when the 2019 wines were released, potentially a 100-point vintage: ripe, fresh, concentrated, with bright mineral acidity and great complexity. Although it is too soon to tell how the 2020 vintage will fare when it is released later this year, initial assessments suggest another good quality vintage.

Weinguts (wineries) 
 to visit Rheingau

Schloss Johannisberg Winery and Castle
 Schloss Vollrads Winery and Castle
 Robert Weil

Mosel (in and around Bernkastel)

If you have time for southerly side trip, the Weinstraße that runs through the Pfalz region is dotted with quaint little towns—Bad Dürkheim, Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Wachenheim, and Deidesheim to name a few—offering many options for food, wine, and sightseeing. A drive through the low mountains of the Pfälzerwald (Palatinate Black Forest) is breathtaking. Winery recommendations in the Pfalz region include Fitz-Ritter, Villa Wolf, and Pfeffingen. A

Dr. Loosen
 Dr. H. Thanisch
 Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler


Müller-Catoir (Neustadt)
 Dr. Dahlem (Oppenheim)
 George Albrecht Schneider (Nierstein)

Photos from left: Fall Vineyards in Germany; Early Fall Vineyards in Germany; Schloss Vollrads Winery and Castle (Rheingau)


Unless otherwise noted, all photos provided with permission by Sue Flischel, Mary Horn, Guenter Matthews, and Kathy Merchant.

Out of Africa~ Seductive Five Star Tented Safari in Kariega Game Reserve By Elsa Dixon


s the boat sped towards Settlers Drift Game Lodge, I felt the sun warm my face while the spray of the Bushman’s River cooled my skin. I pricked my ears at the cry of a fish eagle cutting through the roar of the engine. It felt like time stood still in this remote and untouched piece of South Africa. We had left our car in a secure enclosure at the entrance gate to the Kariega Game Reserve. A handsome young game ranger arrived to take us, first by boat and then by safari vehicle, to Settlers Drift Game Lodge.

glass doors and floor-to-ceiling glass windows. There were no divisions between the plush lounge area, the kingsize bed, and the bathroom area. A door discreetly hid the toilet. To my delight, a wood-burning stove had pride of place near the foot of the bed.

As we parked the Land Rover, three smiling, neatly-dressed staff members welcomed us, carrying trays with wet facecloths and delicious fruit cocktails. The manager greeted us in the luxuriously furnished reception area and led us to the big outdoor porch to enjoy High Tea set out under a tree. While we relished the delicate cream cakes, savory snacks, and triangular cucumber sandwiches, we admired the breathtaking views of the valley and Bushman’s River.

basket to enjoy.

Unable to resist, I ran a foam bath and sighed with pleasure as I lay in the large garden tub, surrounded by nature, watching the clouds drift by and a noisy Gray Go-away-bird shrilling in the branches. For honeymooners, the Lodge strews rose petals and provides a special champagne

Five-Star Tented Safari Suite
 Our personal ranger led the way to our spacious five-star safari suite, and we stepped into sensual luxury. The outside wall was a canvas with built-in


A Stunning Safari Drive
 We were eager to go on our first safari drive. We could feel the excitement mounting in the vehicle as we exited the gate and immediately spotted a pair of rhinos on the road.

We stopped a little further when a group of elephants crashed through the bush and surrounded our vehicle. We watched the interaction with bated breaths when two young bull elephants sparred not even 10 feet away. The game ranger explained that they were mock fighting, testing each other’s strength and eventual dominance.

We inadvertently moved closer to each other when a male lion walked up along the path, brushing our open cruiser. I held my breath and only lifted my camera again when the predator ambled past, made a turn, and headed back in our direction. Our skilled ranger maneuvered the vehicle in a good position for all of us to have a good view.

foods. A group of ululating Xhosa ladies welcomed us with their riveting tribal dancing and singing. Soon we let go of all inhibitions and joined in the action.

We will long remember a relaxing couples’ massage treatment at the Spa, being gently pummeled while gazing at the African plains through the glass windows. The Lodge provides an intimate setting and unique menu for romantic occasions. We selected butter prawns and grilled kudu loin, and an excellent South African wine. Diemersdal Pinotage tastes of red berries, exotic spices, and chocolate.

Late afternoon, the sun spread its orange-red colors through the tops of the acacia trees. Our game-guide stopped for the thrilling tradition of ‘sundowners’ in the bush while keeping a lookout for animals nearby. He spread a white cloth over a make-shift table hooked at the front of the vehicle and set out drinks, biltong (dried meat sticks,) and dried boerewors (sausage.) We sipped our cocktails while he pointed out different star constellations.

Back at Camp
 As we pulled into the camp, the aroma of food sizzling on an open fire wafted through the air. We joined the others around the campfire in the boma. The chefs had artfully displayed a range of exotic

For More Information:


Kariega Game Reserve|
 Address: R343, Kenton-on-Sea, 6191, South Africa
 Phone: +27 46 636 7904

As we opened the door to our secluded suite, a real fire was burning in the woodstove, warmly welcoming us. We climbed into the cozy bed, heady with all the sensations of the weekend. As we snuggled into the sheets, a hyena called in the distance. Our quintessential ‘Out 0f Africa’ memories will live in our hearts forever. A

Photos opposite page, from left: Boat on Bushman River in Kariega Game Reserve; Arrival at Settlers Drift; Welcome team at Kariega; (This page, top): Game ranger spots rhinos on a game drive; Elephants sparring; Lion on the path; (Bottom): 5 Luxury safari tent at Settler’s Drift in Kariega Game Reserve; 12 Spa at Settler's Drift in Kariega Game Reserve ©Kariega Game Reserve; 13 Dining on the deck ©Kariega Game Reserve

Cocktails from the Land of Enchantment By Linda Stewart


he definition of enchantment is to charm, allure, or captivate. With New Mexico’s scenic desert landscapes, its Native American, European, and Mexican diverse populations, and the state’s rich history and architecture, the moniker of “The Land of Enchantment” is welldeserved. And, the New Mexico towns of Taos and Santa Fe are not only enchanting, but irresistibly romantic too

I found the cocktails in New Mexico to be enchanting and romantic as well. The Rolling Still Distillery in Taos handcrafts vodka from an artesian spring in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. The Lounge at Rolling Still in downtown Taos offers craft cocktails and small plates. The ingredients and the vibrant color of their signature cocktail called the Violet Fog intrigued me.

Mixologist Timmie Hoffman graciously shared her cocktail recipe with me. Butterfly pea blossom tea adds an earthy flavor and the pretty color. This cocktail begins with a dry shake, vigorously mixing the raw egg white without ice for about 15 seconds. This froths the egg white without diluting it so it can incorporate with the other ingredients. If you’re concerned about eating raw eggs, you can use pasteurized egg whites. Butterfly pea blossom tea contains anti-oxidants and is caffeine-free. The color changes from deep blue to purple depending on the pH level. To make the tea steep, add one and a half teaspoons of dried tea flowers in eight ounces of hot water; cool to room temperature before adding to cocktail.

Violet Fog
 1 egg white
 2 oz lavender infused vodka
 1 oz honey simple syrup*
 ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
 A few drops of butterfly pea blossom tea

Pour egg white into cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for at least 15 seconds (dry shake). Fill shaker with ice and add rest of ingredients. Continue to shake well. Strain into a Nick and Nora glass (a bell-shaped glass named after the detective duo Nick and Nora Charles). Makes one cocktail.

*Honey simple syrup: Place 1 cup water and 1 cup honey in a saucepan and bring to a boil; stir until honey is dissolved. Remove



from heat; cool. Store in covered container; refrigerate for up to 3 to 4 weeks.

The La Fonda Hotel in New Mexico’s capital city Santa Fe is the perfect couple’s retreat. In the heart of downtown on the historic Santa Fe Plaza, this charming Southwest American architecture hotel has luxurious accommodations with lovely artistic craftmanship décor and stunning original artwork. The hotel’s La Fiesta Lounge has a lively atmosphere and is the place to go for food, music, and cocktails. The Rhubarb Old Fashioned is one of the lounge’s popular cocktails, and their director of marketing, Britta Andersson, was kind enough to share the following information on the recipe:

“La Fiesta Lounge is Santa Fe’s destination for local music and distinct margaritas and cocktails. We seek out seasonal ingredients with unique flavors to create new twists on old classics, as was the case when we created our Rhubarb Old Fashioned last spring.

Offering a nod to the traditional drink, we sour it up a bit with rhubarb, but sweeten it with the perfect dose of Orgeat. Created by La Fonda on the Plaza’s Food and Beverage Director, John Cuviello and his team of beverage pros, this “new” Old Fashioned offers a fresh take on the time-honored cocktail.”

Rhubarb Old Fashioned
 2 oz Knob Creek Rye
 ¼ oz Giffard Rhubarb (rhubarb liqueur)
 6 drops of orange bitters
 ¼ oz Orgeat
 Lemon peel Place rye, rhubarb liqueur, orange bitters, and Orgeat into a rocks glass. Stir, then drop one large or three smaller ice cubes into the glass. Stir to chill ingredients and garnish with lemon peel. Makes one cocktail. A

Rolling Still Distillery 110 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. Taos, NM 87571 575-613-0326

La Fonda on the Plaza 100 E San Francisco St. Santa Fe, NM 87501 505-982-5511

Photos opposite page, from top: Cocktail Menu for The Lounge at Rolling Still Distillery; Mixologist Timmie Hoffman Making a Violet Fog; Two Glasses of Violet Fog Cocktail; Dried Butterfly Pea Flowers for Cocktail Coloring; (from top) Cocktail Menu La Fiesta Lounge at La Fonda Hotel; Rhubarb Old Fashioned, La Fiesta Lounge, La Fonda Hotel; Traditional Room with Queen Bed, La Fonda Hotel


Romance Among the Ruins: Heidelberg on the Neckar River By Jane Simon Ammeson


Photos clockwise from top left: Rooftops; The Castle from Old Town Heidelberg; Heidelberg Castle and Neckar River ©; Rowing on the Neckar River; Heidelberg Castle overlooking Heidelberg's Old Town; Vetter’s Alt Heidelberger Brauhaus; Opposite page: Heidelberg Castle Illuminations ©


hen Prince-Elector Friedrich V married Elizabeth Stuart, the daughter of King James I in 1613, it was like the majority of royal marriages—based on political alliances and gains. Love had nothing to do with it.

windows reveals not an interior but woods and the Neckar River below.

“Deserted, discrowned, beaten by the storms, but royal still, and beautiful,” is how Mark Twain described the Gothic-Renaissance castle. He was one of many poets and writers who spent time in what they considered the most romantic city in the world.

But sometimes it worked out differently and so it was between Friedrich and Elizabeth who fell in love. Heidelberg Castle, where they lived, was already old, dating back to 1200s and the PrinceElector wanting Elizabeth to love her new home added an English Palace and an elaborate Baroque garden.

The castle is also home to the Heidelberg Tun, a 58, 124gallon wine barrel said to be the largest in the world. It was built in 1751 on orders from Prince Elector Karl Theodor to store the wine paid in taxes by the region’s wine growers. We should all be so lucky to have too much wine.

But theirs was to be a tragic love story. There were battles, a throne lost, regained, and then lost forever. During all that, Elizabeth bore 13 children before Fredrich died and she sought life in exile.

Brews and Knuckles

History, Luxury and a Family Touch
 My love affair with the city began several years before when I checked into the fivestar Hotel Europäischer Hof Heidelberg. The hotel, one of the few five-star family run hotels in Europe, opened in 1865 and has been owned by von Kretschmann family since around the turn of the last century.


Taking the funicular down to the old town, I meet friends at Ve t t e r ’s A l t H e i d e l b e r g e r Brauhaus on Steingasse, Europe’s longest carless street. It’s one of those baronial style Germanic places with high ceilings, large wood beams, long tables and a lot of dark highly polished wood.

Heidelberger Schloss


The castle, a romantic ruin of seemingly endless staircases and corridors taking you here, there, and sometimes nowhere, stands 330-feet above the Alstadt, Heidelberg’s wonderful o l d t o w n . To w e r s a n d battlements protect stone facades, their decorative features still intact though the rooms behind them are gone. Views into the multitude of

33%. But it isn’t all beer here, they’re famed for their traditional German food and so I decide to go full German, ordering the pork knuckle, sauerkraut and dumpling with gravy. Skipping the 33, I opt for the Hubier—a mix of the lager and elderberry syrup.

Famed for their Vetter’s 33, which they say is the strongest beer in the world, its alcohol content is—you guessed it—

I’d heard that Sylvia von Kretschmann, who with her husband Ernst-Friedrich, ran the hotel for a half-century before their daughter Dr. Caroline von Kretschmann took over and regularly did the hotel’s large floral arrangements. So, it was no

surprise when I ran into this very elegant woman doing just that in Die Kurfürstenstube, the hotel’s opulent dining room that opened in 1866. Such a romantic place and romantic tradition—how could I not fall in love?

Chocolate Kisses
 My romance continued at Chocolaterie Knosel where owner Liselotte Knosel talked about studentenkussor or student kiss, a chocolate covered nougat created by her great grandfather Fridolin Knosel in 1863. His Café Knosel was frequented by male university students who admired women from a local finishing school who were, alas, chaperoned by their governesses. A gift of student kisses was a sly way to start a flirtation.

We don’t know how well it turned out for the students but these confections, still hand crafted, remain best sellers more than 150 years later. Café Knosel—the city’s oldest café—is my go to spot for coffee and a pastry at one of their outdoor tables overlooking the church on Marktplatz.

At dusk, on my last night, I boarded Patria, a 1930s ship for dining and a cruise along the Neckar River. Watching the city lights sparkle in the calm water, I knew that though my visit was ending, the romance was just beginning. I would be back. For more information, visit A


Photos from top left: The iconic studentenkussor sign at Chocolaterie Knosel; Serving beer at Vetter's known for their Vetter's 33; Die Kurfürstenstube restaurant opend in 1866 ©Hotel Europäischer Hof Heidelberg; Traditional German fare at Vetter's Alt Heidelberger Brauhau

 R T Luxury at 
 La Posada

here are wonderful old hotels and then, there are hotels that retain an old charm yet kick it up a notch to offer a romantic respite from the fast-paced world. La Posada, in Winslow, Arizona is a fine example of the romantic luxury the latter affords. Just off the old Route 66—now Interstate 40—the small town of Winslow offers more than just a guy “standing on the corner” (although the Eagles song blares from a loudspeaker at a downtown corner that includes an old red flatbed Ford).

By Joeann Fossland

Rich History

La Posada front entrance

In the 1880s, the railroads came through Winslow with pioneers and gold diggers. Entrepreneur Fred Harvey saw an opportunity and began to populate the stops along the line with fine dining and iconic hotels. 
 La Posada, the last of these historic hotels, opened in 1930, designed by talented architect, Mary Jane Colter. The timing saw its ups and downs and finally, the hotel was scheduled to be torn down. But then… enter Allen Affledt, his wife, artist Tina Mion and friend, Daniel Lutzick. The team negotiated and fundraised for three years, finally saving La Posada from its planned destruction in 1997. Lovingly restored, the historic hotel is now a jewel in the middle of the desert. 
 Entering the open lobby, you immediately slip into a slower, calmer world. Tiled floors, ceilings with exposed vigas, intimate seating areas, and old and new artwork (including a gallery of Mion’s art) create an atmosphere reminiscent of yesteryear. Romance. Did someone say romance?
 Fittingly, La Posada translates to “Resting Place.” Large bedrooms, named for celebrities that have visited, sport high ceilings, couches to relax or read on, and tall windows that stream in an abundance of bright light. 
 Each room is unique. Some feature the original 1930s black and white mosaic tile bathrooms with six-foot cast-iron tubs. Others have modern whirlpool tubs. If you’re game, nestling in for days with your sweetie could reward you with a feeling of timeless indulgence. For those who love to read, bookshelves in the halls and the bedrooms are packed with books and the bedroom’s comfy sitting area offers the perfect place to be transported to another world.


Photos (top from left): La Posada Porch facing the railroad tracks and Museum; La Posada lobby common area; Indian Rugs in La Posada's gift shop; (bottom from left): Ponderosa Pine Bed; Upstairs Gallery with Tina Mion's artwork; Mobile Shrine in the Route 66 Art Museum

I-40, it’s worth a stop to enjoy this tasty unique Southwestern cuisine. Last year, they added three raised beds between the hotel and the museum as a chef’s garden, and they now provide an impressive host of fresh produce for the restaurant.

Trains and History
 These days, Affledt delightfully continues the expansion of the hotel and the grounds. The newly restored La Posada Depot has been transformed into Route 66 Art Museum, by The Winslow Arts Trust (WAT). I spent hours here absolutely captivated by the stories, pictures, and displays from the early days. Twice a day, Amtrak passenger trains still stop at this depot.

Organic Southwestern Cuisine
 You don’t even have to leave the hotel to experience the yummiest food around. Located in the lobby, The Turquoise Room serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and has been recognized as one of the top restaurants in Arizona.

Have you been hankering’ for Bison and Elk Meatballs with a mint, tamarind and green chile aioli? Ah, perhaps not, but once you try them, you will be in the future! Menus here are a mashup of brilliant creations prepared with local organic foods and some of the Fred Harvey’s original standbys.

Even if you are just passing through Arizona on


What’s Next?
 The hotel has grown over the last 20 years, from 10 rooms to 54. Further expansion is underway adding five new deluxe suites in the area beneath the current ballroom. Dubbed “The Grotto,” the area is accessible via a long stairway that leads down to a large sunken lobby with a fireplace and streaming daylight. These suites, due to open later this year, surround an elegant common area. I can’t wait to go back to stay in one.

A Bucket List Trip
 One of my future bucket list items is a return to La Posada with my grandkids and then ride the train over to Las Vegas, New Mexico and spend a night in another Harvey hotel restored by Affledt—La Castenda. Hopefully, in the next year, we can expand our romantic stay for two into a family adventure for 11. A

R mance at Tommy Bahama in The Woodlands By Scott Kendall


ate night. And my wife and I were looking for a romantic place with a great ambience, flavorful food, wonderful wine, and exceptional service. We wanted a location that was scenic, safe, and relaxing. And we wanted to be surrounded by friendly folks enjoying food and drink and life.

Tommy Bahama for the Perfect Date
 We found our romantic refuge at Tommy Bahama in the Woodlands. Located in upscale Market Street facing a pristine park and surrounded by stores with names like Tiffany’s, Tony Burch, Michael Coors, and Louis Vuitton, Tommy Bahama is the perfect place for an afternoon or evening with that someone special.

It was the end of a beautiful Texas winter day, with temps in the 60s and not a cloud in the sky. When we arrived, there were dozens of guests enjoying the outdoor dining patios facing the park. Outdoor heaters helped later in the evening when temperatures dropped slightly. The park, with plush green vegetation, colorful flowers, and the casual elegant design of Tommy Bahama made for a great environment to enjoy the evening.

We chose to sit inside at a private booth. Although the restaurant was busy on this weekday evening, we felt we had the privacy to have quiet conversation to enjoy our time together— away from the distractions and hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Personal Service with a Smile
 Jafari, our server, was friendly, enthusiastic, and obviously loved what he was doing. His knowledgable recommendations and answers to our questions made for an easy and enjoyable dining experience.

Because of the island/maritime theme, the Coconut Cloud was an enticing choice for a cocktail to start the evening. This martini features Tommy Bahama White Sand Rum, vanilla vodka, coconut rum, and cream of coconut. This refreshing drink is topped with toasted coconut for a perfect finishing touch.

Photos (from top): Tommy Bahamas in upscale Market Street in The Woodlands; Tiffany and Company in Market Street; Water spouts outside patio on the park;Coconut Cloud Martini at Tommy Bahama


Delicious Seafood, Steak, and More

the guest journey first. It’s not just about selling merchandise; it’s about exceeding the guest expectations in everything we do.”

My wife loved her Macadamia Nut Encrusted Snapper with grilled asparagus and almond rice. Likewise, I cherished every bite of my filet, cooked to perfection, along with cauliflower mashed pototoes and a lemon arugula salad. I also need to mention the seared scallops— so tender and flavorful, and a perfect complement to the steak.

Each Tommy Bahama location brings the chill feel of Hawaiian sunsets, pristine California beaches, and Florida palms swaying in the breeze.

Valentine Bahama

My wife and I had a wonderful time. Jafari was the perfect waiter – enthusiastic, informative, and friendly. He was efficient but very patient and did not rush things. Perhaps best of all, he introduced us to a fantastic new wine, the Paul Hobbs Crossbarn Cabernet Sauvignon. My wife and I now have a favorite Cab to share in the future.

The Philosophy of Tommy Bahama
 This quote by CEO Doug Wood encapsulates the philosophy of Tommy Bahama: “Because restaurants have always been part of the Tommy Bahama experience, it has had a profound impact on the culture of the company. We don’t have customers; we have ‘guests.’ It has changed the way we approach everything, so we think through





For the upcoming Valentine Weekend special, Tommy Bahama is offering customers a special menu available the entire Valentine Day’s weekend. Courses include Tommy’s world-famous Coconut Shrimp, Ribeye “Filet” for Two, Twice Baked Potatoes, and a decadent Triple Chocolate Cake for dessert.

Tommy’s will also feature a special libation, a Valentine’s Blush Cocktail. With a combination of Hendricks Gin, Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice, and St. Germain, the cocktail offers a nice alternative to champagne. For the perfect romantic getaway in The Woodlands, Tommy Bahama is the place to be. A

Photos (top from left): Macadamia nut encrusted snapper with asparagus and almond rice; Filet and scallops with cauliflower potatoes and lemon arugula salad; Tempting treats on the Tommy Bahama dessert tray; (bottom from left ): Tommy Bahama Triple Chocolate Cake © Tommy Bahama; Tommy Bahama Valentine's Blush © Tommy Bahama; Key Lime Pie

Botswana Safa! in Kwetsani Camp

By Barbara Redding



he moon wasn’t yet visible and the inky sky was speckled with stars when I stepped outside the honeymoon tent at the far end of Kwetsani Camp in Botswana’s vast Okavango Delta. Long, raised walkways separate the tented, tree-house chalets from the main lodge, allowing flood waters to flow below and wildlife to roam freely day and night. A safari guide had warned me explicitly not to leave my tent after dark without an escort. But I was hungry and it was after 8 p.m. Gazing toward the lodge, I couldn’t detect a single light.

A polyrhythmic symphony of clicking, chirping, hissing, growling, crunching, and snorting sounds surrounded me. I stood perfectly still and listened. The click of the cicadas was obvious, but was that a lion’s growl? Where was the baboon family I’d seen earlier wrestling on my deck? Could the elephant I’d photographed from my bathroom window still be shredding trees nearby? The guide eventually missed me, explaining apologetically that a baby elephant had distracted everyone at the lodge. I was relieved to see him and rejoin the group for a sumptuous dinner. But my time “alone" in the honeymoon tent remains an unforgettably memory of my 10-day visit to southern Africa.

Sights and Sounds of Solo Travel Experiencing the sights, smells, sounds, and textures of a destination on my own, or with a small group, can be just as magical as traveling with a partner. That was certainly true of my safari in Botswana, which was arranged by the Africa team at Goway, a Toronto tour company that specializes in customized independent travel.

Exploring the delta by boat. @wildernesssafaris @danaallen


Sensory sensations abound in the Okavango Delta, one of the world’s most unusual and pristine habitats. In the isolated wetlands I observed an abundance of wildlife, from hippopotamuses

Photos (from left): A leopard takes a break in a tree; A herd of elephants enjoys a watering hole; Hyenas wrestle over a stick; Two red-billed hornbill birds; Wild dogs catching up on sleep; Zebras grazing; Young male lion cools off; A hippo family filling up on grass

If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.

playing hide-and-seek amid papyrus reeds, herds of red lechwe leaping through tall grass, and a pack of playful hyenas fighting over a stick–as well as dozens of colorful birds such as the malachite kingfisher and several snoozing crocodiles.

Water from the Angolan highlands creates the huge inland flood plain when it flows into the Okavango River and then fans across the Kalahari Desert in late fall and winter (roughly May-August). Before receding in the hot summer months, this shallow oasis covers nearly 6,000 square miles.

Botswana, Home to Small Safari Camps Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Okavango Delta attracts thousands of safari visitors to Botswana, a politically stable country the size of Texas with a population of just 2.3 million people. Botswana’s low-impact, low-volume approach to tourism allows private companies to lease concessions and build small luxury camps with fewer than 24 rooms. The camps must be ecologically sensitive and support local communities. (Kwetsani, currently closed due to the pandemic, is one of six camps operated by Jao Reserve and marketed by Wilderness Safaris.)


~John Hemingway Reaching safari camps in the delta is part of the adventure. I spent 30 minutes in a small bush plane, peering out the window at the mostly flat green plains striped with blue water. After the plane touched down on a deserted landing strip, I buckled into a 4X4 Land Rover that bounced and fishtailed for more than hour on a road that was little more than two tracks in the sand. (During fall and winter, visitors may also have to take a boat ride.) Warm smiles from the Kwetsani staff, along with wet towels and refreshing drinks, welcomed me to the open-air lodge that resembles a cozy family room, with comfortable chairs and a small library. Since my visit, Cathy Kays, co-owner of the Jao Reserve, told me via email that they have renovated the camp. The honeymoon chalet and the other five tents now have sitting rooms; en-suite bathrooms and outdoor showers are updated. Guests in the honeymoon tent can splash in a secluded outdoor tub.

Guests Dine Buffet-Style The well-stocked bar is still self-serve. Safari guides and guests continue to gather around a single dining table to review the day's animal sightings, while enjoying buffet-style meals made from local produce and accompanied by African wines.

F F F Though Wi-Fi is available in tents, guests still receive an air horn to blow in case of emergencies. Most important, Kays reported, the camp and its surroundings remain private and dense with wildlife. One recent visitor saw a pride of six lions, a leopard and her cub, as well as many elephants, giraffes, and hippos.

Flood levels in the delta determine where you go outside the camp, your mode of transportation, and which animals you see. During my stay in the dry summer season, I traveled mostly in land vehicles but also explored the more permanent “hippo highways” by boat.

Hippos Create Channels in Delta Hippos walking in the shallow water literally create these narrow, winding channels, my safari guide told me, as pods of hippos bobbed amid the lily pads. Dozens of birds nest in the delta, including rare wattled cranes, egrets, rosy-throated longclaws, pygmy geese, and African skimmers. On one game drive, I observed a female leopard stalking a baby zebra in tall grass for 45 tense minutes. Though seeing a kill is often the highlight of a safari, I was relieved when the herd galloped to safety. Afterward, my safari group toasted our adventure with “sundowner” drinks of gin and bitter lemon as a fiery orange sun descended into the delta. Later that night—my last in Botswana—I climbed into bed in the honeymoon tent and just listened. A

F F F Photos (from top): Driving through delta waters; Communal dining area for staff and guests; Wooden walkways lead to guest tents; Flood plain approaches Kwetsani All photo this page @wildernesssafaris @danaallen


Worlds Most Isn It Romantic? The Romantic Destinations

By Chris Cutler


hile researching some information for this issue, I googled the world’s top romantic destinations to see how many of our writers’ favorite locations made the lists. Take a gander at the places so many readers of travel books and magazines consider romantic.

Venice, Italy London, England Las Vegas, Nevada Amalfi Coast, Italy The Cotswolds, England Barcelona, Spain Paris, France Limerick, Ireland Santorini, Greece The Caribbean Islands Bruges, Belgium Whitsunday Islands, Australia Big Sur, California Lucerne, Switzerland The Maldives Krabi, Thailand Maui, Hawaii Santiago, Chile Aspen, Colorado Hobart, Tasmania, Australia The Berkshires, Massachusetts Kilimanjaro, Africa Kauai, Hawaii Florence, Italy Quebec City, Quebec Islamorada, Florida Kyoto, Japan Vienna, Austria Prague, Czech Republic San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Bali Isle of Skye, Scotland Neuschwanstein, Germany Northern Lights, Iceland New York City, New York



Romance in the Blue Ridge Mountains

by Loretta Berry


omance means d i ff e r e n t t h i n g s t o different people. I have never been a big fan of heart-shaped boxes of chocolates or fancy jewelry. I find romance in a setting, in an experience…Falling asleep while snuggling in the back of a pickup truck while gazing at the stars under a wide-open desert sky… Taking a ride on an oldfashioned, steam-powered train pretending you’re riding aboard the Orient Express. You know, making memories. To me, true romance is in the making of memories.

Chetola Resort 
 and Spa Last November, I was excited to spend my 60th birthday with my husband at Chetola Resort and


Spa in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. What could be more romantic than a weekend at a historic resort in the North Carolina mountains described by Southern Living Magazine as “one of the best stays in the Blue Ridge?” A beautiful drive up through the high country led us to the stone entrance of the resort. The driveway to the main lodge wound around charming Lake Chetola. Our weekend home was a rustic two-bedroom condo nestled on the hillside above the lodge. The entire 78acre resort setting oozed romance. We did not partake in what others might consider romantic. We did not get a couple’s

massage at the on-site spa or drink champagne in the hot tub. What we did do was snuggle in b l a n k e t s o n o u r b a l c o n y, watching the ducks frolic in the pond below. We dined on delicious fisherman’s stew at Timberlake’s Restaurant at the resort. We drank hot chocolate in front of a cozy fire. We leisurely hiked the Bass Lake Trail, part of the Moses Cone Memorial Park Trail System adjacent to Chetola.

 Experience Our most romantic experience was an expert-guided fly-fishing adventure offered by the resort. “Fly fishing, romantic?” you might ask. I think so. I’ve wanted to try it since the first time I saw a dreamy young

Photos (from left): Chetola Lake Chetola © Chetola Resort; Chetola Boone Fork Creek; Chetola Resort Lakeside © Chetola Resort; Chetola Fly Fishing—My First Fish; Chetola Resort Swing for Two © Chetola Resort

actor standing in a river, casting his line in a 1992 movie. It was early and a bit chilly when we met Mike, our Orvisendorsed fly-fishing guide. After a short drive to Boone Fork Creek, we suited up in waders and waterproof boots (very romantic, I know). We learned that Mike grew up in North Carolina and has been fly fishing for more than 20 years. He has a passion for fishing, and it shows. The first thing he did was to show us, on dry land, how to hold the rod, cast, set the hook, and reel in the catch. It seemed easy. I was excited to get started. O n c e i n t h e w a t e r, t h e excitement built. My husband was gracious and let me go first. Ugh! It was a bit harder than I thought and way different than what I’d seen in


the movies. That said, I hooked my first trout in a matter of minutes! He got away, of course. I must not have paid attention to the “how to reel him in part.” After a short time (and a couple more fish getting away), we moved upriver. The first fish I landed was a 24inch brown trout. He was a beauty! After capturing the moment on film, we released him back into the cool water. I caught two things with that fish – A nice-sized trout and “the bug.” I wanted to do it again. I had been reel fishing before, but this experience was different, more intimate. Our guide said that one reason he likes to fish is to “escape from the business of life.” He enjoys teaching others the art of the sport and how to connect with nature. His greatest satisfaction comes from

“giving people an experience he hopes they will always remember.”

Connections I did feel connected with nature. I felt immersed in it— the tall trees, the cool river water, and even the fish swimming in the current just a few yards away. We weren’t far from Blowing Rock and Chetola Resort, but you would have thought we were the only ones in existence…just us and the fish we were enticing with the flies on the end of our line. My adrenaline was still pumping as my husband, and I sat down to lunch at Timerlake’s a few hours later. We talked throughout our meal and the rest of the weekend about our experience and made plans to return. A

Photos (from left): Chetola Lodge and Timberlake's Restaurant; Chetola Fireplace Spa © Chetola Resort; Chetola Resort Lodge Room; Chetola Condo Balcony View

PSV beach view;


hat are the ingredients for a perfect romantic getaway? Privacy. Seclusion. Remoteness. Relaxation. No agenda but your own. Being in a natural setting of incomparable beauty. While that can mean different things to different people, that scene, for me, must be a tropical one that includes sun, sand, and sea. When I think back to the most romantic places I’ve visited with my husband, I often find myself reliving memories of our stays at two private island resorts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines — Palm Island and Petit St. Vincent. Both are luxury-level remote outposts in the southern Caribbean, near the end of the Grenadines chain of 32 islands and cays, which stretch from St. Vincent in the north to Grenada in the south.


Secluded and remote definitely applies. Flights from the U.S. and Canada arrive in Barbados, followed by a short flight to Union Island. A private launch then motors travelers to either private island within minutes.

Palm Island In December 2004, our first trip together outside the U.S. was to Palm Island. We’d been dating about 10 months, and Stephen had recently become a certified diver. My new dive buddy and I not only shared the beauty of the underwater world but whiled away the hours relaxing and exploring this 135-acre private island. It includes a spa, pool, complimentary water activities, hiking trails, and tennis courts, and most of its 43 accommodations were either beachfront or a few steps away. We dived the reefs, savored the food, and made romantic memories that still linger.

Private Island Resorts in the Grenadines By Debbra Dunning Brouillette

Twelve years passed before we returned to the Grenadines in November 2016 to stay at Petit St. Vi n c e n t . T h e private island resort is just a short boat ride away from both Union Island and Palm Island. Sprinkled throughout the island’s 115 acres are 22 cottages. Some are near the beach, while others are hillside, overlooking the Atlantic. Just as it is on Palm Island, the cottages don’t have internet, so it’s the ideal place to unplug. If you must, check your email in the reception area outside the main restaurant and bar. Have breakfast delivered to your cottage, then start your day with yoga or a hike to the top of Marni hill for heart-pounding, spectacular views. Stay active by kayaking, windsurfing, paddleboarding, snorkeling, or diving the nearby reefs. The Jean-Michel Cousteau Dive Center, located at Petit St. Vincent, offers guided dives and dive instruction. Or choose to do nothing at all. Spend a day ensconced in one of the private beachfront palapas on the island’s

Kkk 33

Photos (from top): PSV Westend beach; Palm Island Hammock; PSV wine cellar

Photos (clockwise from left): Tobago Cays Sea Stars; PSV Mopion Islet; Turtle in Tobago Cays; PSV Dock

Kkk West Beach. The staff will deliver drinks and food when you place your order in a bamboo tube, then raise the yellow flag at a checkpoint near your hut. For the ultimate in privacy, guests can arrange a picnic for two under a thatched umbrella on Mopion Islet. Described as “the quintessential deserted island,” it sits just a few swells away from the resort.

with a couples massage in the Balinese-inspired spa. Dine on Caribbean lobster, shrimp, conch, and fresh-caught local fish like tuna and snapper. Pair every meal with a vintage from more than 6,000 Old World and New World wines and champagnes stored in the resort’s walk-in wine cellar.


Tobago Cays

It’s not surprising that more than half of guests have vacationed on Petit St. Vincent before, and couples who’ve honeymooned there have returned years later with their adult children.

The most romantic experience of our trip was spending the day aboard the Beauty, Petit St. Vincent’s 49-foot sloop, sailing and snorkeling in the Tobago Cays. This group of three islets and five uninhabited islands, protected since 1998 as a marine park, contains a turtle sanctuary. Green and hawksbill turtles can almost always be seen, along with schools of colorful reef fish. After snorkeling, we feasted on grilled Caribbean lobster and freshcaught tuna steaks, prepared by our skipper.


Share stellar sunsets in a postcard-perfect setting while sipping a barrel-aged Caribbean rum. Relax

I also am longing to return to either of these private island paradises in the Grenadines. Both resorts rank highly among the romantic places we have visited as a couple and are worthy of consideration if you are ready for romance!

Protocol for the Entry of Travelers Visiting St. Vincent and the Grenadines: health/index.php/covid-19-protocols-documents.



Photos (clockwise from left): Reflection Pool Bloedel Reserve; Mid Pond Viewpoint Bloedel Reserve; Japanese Garden; Heart Shopping; Mount Rainier

Romantic Getaway to 'Miles from Ordinary!' Bainbridge Island, Washington By Nancy Mueller

What is Romance with a capital “R” if not a grand escape from the ordinary, a manifesto against the minutia of everyday living? And what better way to escape the ordinary than by taking off to your favorite island oasis? Whether seeking a long weekend respite, adventure, or a celebration of love, romance lovers will discover an abundance of possibilities on Washington State’s Bainbridge Island.

Flee by ferry
 Your break from the ordinary begins with a brief 35-minute ride aboard the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry, one of the most iconic attractions in the Pacific Northwest. Feel your cares drift away with each rise and fall of the waves as you cross Puget Sound. Breathe in the salt air and listen for the sound of seagulls and occasional sea lions as you soak up panoramic views of the snowcapped Olympic Mountains.


Drop your baggage Romantic escapes call for intimate accommodations just like The Eagle Harbor Inn tucked away in the island’s downtown Marina District. Snuggle up in one of five unique rooms or opt for one of the two 2,000 sq. ft. townhomes for more spacious lodging that includes a fireplace and private patio. The buildings surround a small garden courtyard, offering quiet and privacy in a warm and inviting setting just steps away from the waterfront.

Wander the shops along 
 Winslow Way E A few short blocks from The Eagle Harbor Inn, the island’s petite downtown core features a bevy of boutique shops, restaurants, wine bars, and art galleries to explore. Infuse your romantic getaway with the taste of fine luxury chocolate and fudge flavors among the specialty confections at Bon

Bon Candies. Stop by Blackbird Bakery next door for favorite coffee beverages, assorted pastries, treats, and quiches. Browse a broad selection of new and used classics and featured selections at independent The Eagle Harbor Book Co. or tour the latest exhibit by contemporary Northwest artists at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.

Wine and dine island style Dress for casual comfort indoors or out, order curbside pick-up, or call for delivery at a variety of restaurants on the island. From pub food to fine dining, Asian to American, Mexican, and Italian, the dining scene on Bainbridge showcases fresh Northwest ingredients and flavors. Inspired by parents who immigrated from Vietnam to the U.S. after an arduous journey, Vietnamese siblings Trinh and Thai Nguyen opened their restaurant Ba l Sa to highlight “traditional Vietnamese dishes inspired by French techniques and the abundance of products found in the Pacific Northwest.” You have to love a restaurant that spotlights Dessert before moving on to small plates, Banh Mi sandwiches, and Pho soups in their online menu. And I do. “Ube (pronounced ooh-bae) Manna Cotta” is a colorful, eye-catching confection of purple yam with fresh mango and whip cream. Like traditional Vietnamese dishes, menu items present a synergistic balance of flavors—sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and spicy—in a variety of vegetarian, meat, poultry and seafood dishes. Adjacent to The Eagle Harbor Inn on the island’s historic working waterfront, Doc’s Marina Grill offers diners a laid-back vibe day or night. While the infamous beer fights of yore may have subsided, diners can still enjoy a robust selection of beers on tap along with Northwest wines and


Photos (from top left): Ba Sa Sweet Potato Noodlle; Eagle Harbor Inn; Sand & Stone Garden Bloedel Reserve

spirits. Order a bowl of Doc’s House-Made Clam Chowder, a waterfront basket of fish & chips, Cedar-Wrapped Salmon with a lemon viognier gastrique, or Seafood Mac & Cheese with housesmoked salmon or Dungeness crab.

Take a nature walk Share what’s in your heart with your sweetie on a two-mile nature stroll through Bloedel Reserve at the north end of the island. Founded by Virginia and Prentice Bloedel, the Reserve is a vision of flora and fauna splendor designed to evoke emotion in the interplay between people and the natural environment. Walkable trails lead through a forest of aromatic cedars, firs, and ferns to The Buxton Bird Marsh and Meadow with 50 varieties of blooming native wildflowers in Spring and Summer. Pond viewpoints, bluff and waterfall overlooks provide mesmerizing vistas and space for reflection as does the Japanese Garden and Guesthouse further along the trail.

Rent a kayak or bicycle Share the beauty of Bainbridge together while floating on water or taking a leisurely bike ride around the island. Check out Bike Barn Rentals and Classic Cycle for a full range of bike models and Exotic Aquatics Kayak Dock for canoe and kayak options. For further information, including COVID-19 updates: Visit Bainbridge Island. A

The Prado Restaurant

Romance in Balboa Park, San Diego

By Robin Dohrn-Simpson


hat makes a restaurant romantic? Decor and ambience, setting and location, food and drink. All of these play a part in creating a positive and memorable dining experience. The Prado Restaurant in historic Balboa Park checks all these boxes and takes charm to a whole new level. I always enjoy the walk through the park to get to the restaurant. As I pass by different buildings demonstrating varying styles of architecture, by the time I arrive at The Prado, I have transitioned from city life to a calm oasis in the heart of San Diego. Located in the Casa del Prado, the restaurant has a façade of Spanish-Colonial style inspired by the Sanctuary of Guadalupe in Guadalajara, Mexico. Arched walkways and a Spanish-tiled fountain lead to the entrance of the restaurant. The decor is full of whimsy with multi-colored, hand-blown glass balls, glass chandeliers, and vivid patterned


upholstery. Red leather banquettes, red chairs, and ruby glass lights reflect the color theme. Red as in love. Red as in passion. Red as in valentines. I prefer dining in the picturesque outer patio next to giant eucalyptus trees, Spanish tile fountains, and the altar area where many weddings take place. The sounds of the water from the fountains, the birds chirping while flitting from tree-to-tree, and the lack of freeway and city noise are soothing.

The Historic Charm 
 of Balboa Park Built in 1915 for the Panama Exhibition, Balboa Park is a 1200-acre cultural oasis in central San Diego. The park features multiple architectural styles from Spanish Renaissance to the Organ Pavilion’s Italian Renaissance design. Ethnically diverse, historically rich, culturally abundant, and naturally breathtaking, Balboa Park is where you

can experience San Diego’s distant and recent past. Currently there are 17 museums, each built in a different style. For example, the Museum of Us (formerly known as the Museum of Man) is a hybrid of Plateresque, Baroque, Churrigueresque, Rococo, Gothic, and Spanish-Colonial. The flora and fauna are also magnificent highlights of the park. Kate Sessions, known as “The Mother of Balboa Park” planted hundreds of trees and shrubs starting in the mid-1900s. I love walking through the old trees and thickets located throughout the park. A lily pond and lagoon lead to the iconic Botanical Building, one of the largest lath structures in the world, where visitors can browse the more than 2100 permanent botanicals. Many people stop and pose for a photo in this ever-popular scenic spot.

The Prado Cuisine The Prado is all about fine dining. Appetizers feature such items as Spicy Calamari fries, Seared American Kobe Beef Sushi Rolls, and Prado Paella.


Lunch and dinner menus change with the seasons. Main entrees here include favorites like Wagyu New York Steak with baby turnips, parsnip, celery root and au jus; Seabass with sunchoke puree, yellow wax bean, shallots, pancetta and red wine sauce; or Pear and Chicory Salad with Brie, caramel-black-pepper bacon, and walnut vinaigrette. Dessert also rotates; however, the Smoked Chocolate Panna Cotta with oat streusel, poached quince, cocoa nibs and orange crème fraîche or Vanilla Mascarpone Flan with caramel sauce and fresh berries are staples of the dessert menu. The extensive beer and wine list along with specialty cocktails makes this a great place for a happy hour or a stop-off while browsing the magnificent park. But for a romantic dinner with that special someone, the Prado Restaurant remains one of my all-time favorites. A

Photos: (opposite page): The Prado terrace; (this page, clockwise from top left): Prado main dining room; Prado terrace from above; Thai-style duck breast; Pan-roasted Chilean Seabass; All photos ©Cohn Restaurant Group

Romantic Lake Louise By Janie H Pace



y husband and I entered our room, 633, at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and the curtains were closed. I think they must do that on purpose because I gasped to see the most gloriously beautiful iconic view of Lake Louise when I pulled the drapes. I couldn’t take enough pictures. We were here!

Trip from Kananaskis Our tour had just left Kananaskis that morning in lite snow flurries. We visited the Whyte Museum in Banff, then had lunch at The Post Hotel in Lake Louise. Then we explored Yoho National Park, and the picturesque Emerald Lake, which was beautiful. Ronnie and I were in the midst of a Tauck tour of the Best of the Canadian Rockies, which I would wholeheartedly recommend this tour for the ability to get premier front row housing at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. My research did not show me that I could get this ultra-premium room at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise on my own. After exploring the bar, we sipped the superior Old Fashioned, our favorite.

Dinner at the Fairview 
 Restaurant & Bar Our dinner that evening at the Fairview Restaurant & Bar was incredibly romantic. The three-course meal with added wine and the view of the Lake Louise included my scallop appetizer, deliciously tender rack of lamb, and the fruit plate for dessert. My husband indulged in the cucumber avocado soup, the beef tenderloin, and a pecan tart. Oh, my goodness! He was surprisingly very


experimental with his dinner selections. We slept in glorious splendor in the most comfortable bed and linens for the evening. What luxury! The breakfast at Poppy Brasserie buffet with made to order omelets was perfect! There was a fantastic selection of fruits, breakfast meats, salmon, cream cheese, capers, a variety of pastries, scrambled eggs, rolls, toast, waffles, and syrup. It was divine.

Trip to Moraine Lake A coach ride to Moraine Lake was next, led by our tour guide, Nadine. Themed “We Tried Harder.” Our group hike was along Lake Moraine’s shores, and Nadine compared Lake Louise to second place Lake Moraine. It was comical to watch and listen as she peeled the layers of her clothing to proclaim Lake Moraine the superior. You had to have been there. We learned about the American Dipper Bird, which catches its food in icy waters. A hot cup of tea was in order at the Moraine Lodge before we left. Ronnie and I worked up an appetite for lunch and stopped at the Alpine Social at the Chateau Lake

Louise with a glorious lake view at ground level. Ronnie had the nachos, his typical lunch, and I ordered duck confit Cobb salad. Both were fabulous. While shopping, I found a Lake Louise long sleeve shirt with a pocket front, an elk ornament, and a Lake Louise refrigerator magnet. If I could have ditched my husband, I would have shopped all afternoon. Instead, we walked the Lake Louise path around the lakeside. It was cold, and the skies looked snowy. We returned to the hotel and dressed for dinner. For happy hour first, though, we had an Old Fashioned at the lobby bar, the one with the iconic view of Lake Louise. I still remember that romantic view of the lake.

Dinner at Poppy Brasserie When our dinner group met at Poppy Brasserie, I had the shrimp cocktail and prime rib with green beans, carrots, and mushrooms, with fruit for dessert. My husband enjoyed the onion soup, the steak tenderloin, and apple galette. The paired wine and after-dinner cocktail were delightful. After retiring for a restful slumber, we woke the next morning to the first blanket of snow of the season at Lake Louise. Experiencing the winter splendor in late September was an added delight. That morning our group traveled on to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and a great rest of the trip. I definitely recommend the Tauck tour to explore the Best of the Canadian Rockies. A


Photos: (opposite page): Lake Louise view from our room at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise; Kananaskis; (this page from top): Lake Moraine; Another view of Lake Moraine; Snow at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise; Dinner at the Fairview at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise; Bar in the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel

A Romantic Weekend in Cape Town, South Africa By Jo-Anne Bowen From the luxurious 5-star lodging to a day spent at a magnificent wine farm, along with fascinating history and stunning gardens, spending a romantic weekend in Cape Town, South Africa was an amazing experience. My friend and I flew into Cape Town International Airport, rented a car, and then enjoyed miles of beautiful coastline on our way to our luxury accommodations at St. James Manor. Arriving early evening, we were happily greeted by the host. Stepping inside the m a n o r, w e i m m e d i a t e l y marveled at the expansive lounge and study that flow onto the veranda. Feeling the cool ocean breeze emanating from the floor-to-ceiling open doors and viewing the ocean beyond was incredible. As our

hosts guided us to our suite, we thought, “Wow, this is such luxury!” Our suite had a lounging area, a huge bathroom with a semicircular jetted tub, and a separate shower and toilet area. We were able to enjoy Sundowners at a fully-stocked, self-serve bar. It was a great way to start a romantic weekend. The following morning, we dined at a hearty English breakfast at the Manor. Taking our time to enjoy the ambiance, impeccable service, and the ocean-view breakfast room, we finally headed out to explore.

Groot Constantia
 Estate & Wine Farm Groot Constantia is South Africa’s oldest producing wine farm. Creating quality wines since 1685, the wine farm is part of the World Wine Heritage. While entering the estate, we took a moment to marvel at the verdant vineyards and historic buildings set against the eastern side of Table Mountain. The complex encloses over 1782 acres.


Prior to a visit, guests can download three free audio tours covering the historical manor house, production cellar, and vineyard tour. This is the opportunity to spend the day learning about the farm’s amazing history. Stop at the historical manor house to learn about Cape Dutch Architecture, furnishings of the period, and the history of its inhabitants, including slaves. Then, tour the production center and vineyards to learn more about wine farms and the legacy of Groot Constantia wines. Next on our list was a late lunch at Jonkershuis Eatery. The menu featured unique Cape Malay dishes such as lamb, chicken, or vegetable curry as well as other traditional South African dishes like smoked snook paté. We finished off the delightful day with a wine and chocolate pairing and browsing through the wine shop. On the pleasant 85degree winter day, we teamed our selections with a chilled bottle of Groot Constantia Brut Rose before heading back to St. James for a Sundowner and relaxation.

Kirstenbosch After breakfast the following d a y, w e h e a d e d t o Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, considered one of the most beautiful gardens in South Africa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a living museum of South African plants. Our day began with a 90minute free guided tour as


Kirstenbosch is one very large complex encompassing over 1300 acres. There are five trails of varying lengths. Some are paved paths, while others were gravel. This map can be of help in choosing the paths you’d like to wander when you visit. The gardens include numerous facilities and services. Hourly shuttle bus tours leave from the Visitor’s Center, and those who wish may purchase audio guides. Summer concerts in this park have featured famous artists as Elton John and Joe Cocker. You can enjoy lunch at one of three eateries on site—Mayo Restaurant, Kirstenbosch Tea Room, or Vida e Caffe. Visitors can shop at the garden center, Kirstenbosch Shop, or the garden’s Botanical Society Bookstore. After enjoying six marvelous hours at the gardens, it was time to head back to the airport. We’d had a glorious romantic weekend in Cape Town, South Africa, and it was just a small taste of the excitement the city has to offer. Once you have visited, you will be anxious to return. A Of note: On our visit to South Africa, my friend and I were provided complimentary lodging at St. James and a day visit to Groot Constantia. All thoughts and opinions, however, are my own.

Meet Our Writers Jane Simon Ammeson is a travel and food writer and author of 14 books. Her most recent, Lincoln Road Trip: The Back-Roads Guide to America's Favorite President is a Bronze winner in the Travel Book category for the 2019-20 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition and was also a finalist for a 2019 Foreward Indie Award for Travel. Jo-Anne Bowen is a freelance writer who resides in the Pacific Northwest. A native of Alberta, Canada, she’s traveled all over the world since her first overseas trip to Italy years ago. She is a member of IFWTWA, TravMedia, and Travel Massive. Follow her on or Loretta Berry loves discovering new places and experiencing the local food and drink. She loves traveling with her kids and grandkids, sharing with them her passion for fun and adventure. She is a member of IFWTWA, ITWPA, and TravMedia. You can find her on both Facebook and Instagram. Executive editor of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine, Christine Cutler is a is a travel, nonfiction, and memoir writer; a photographer; and editor whose work has appeared in numerous publications. A dual Italian-American citizen, she spends as much time as she can in Italy. Catch up with her at Cold Pasta and Red Wine and Christine Cutler. Elsa Dixon is an author, travel, and memoir writer; director of TravelswithElsa LLC; and piano teacher. A dual South African - American citizen, she frequently travels to Africa, Europe, and Canada, leading tours and visiting her family and friends. Read more about her at Debbra Dunning Brouillette, Tropical Travel Girl, was born and raised in the Midwest, but Florida vacations opened her world to the sun, sand, and turquoise water. A scuba diver and avid photographer, she enjoys exploring the reefs, natural wonders and finding what makes each island unique. She savors food and wine wherever her travels take her. Robin has been traveling for as long as she can remember. With over 25 years in the travel industry, she’s traveled to over 70 countries and 50 states. You can generally find her exploring somewhere. She’s tried to cure her wanderlust, but it is not possible! Follow her at


Joeann Fossland is a Tucson-based travel writer who’s into road trips, historic hotels, hot springs, tennis, yummy food and awesome wine. She is a member of TravMedia, Travel Massive, and IFWTWA (International Food Wine Travel Writers Association). Her articles and blog are at Scott Kendall the is Editor of as well as a freelance travel writer, photographer, and videographer. In addition to writing for PlayStayEat, Scott has written for EuropeUpClose, FWT Magazine, International Living, and others. His work can be seen at He is a member of IFWTWA and SATW. Email: Noreen Kompanik is a San Diego-based travel journalist with 600 published articles and an assistant editor of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine. A regular contributor to Travel Pulse, Edible San Diego Magazine, San Diego Explorer, and Go Nomad, Noreen is an instructor at Great Escape Publishing’s workshops, and she pioneered the Travel Writers Café. Catch up with her on Kathy Merchant is a travel, wine, and food writer based in Cincinnati, OH. She is the author of two non-fiction books. A Diploma graduate of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, Kathy also holds French and Italian specialist certifications from the Wine Scholar Guild. Her Vino Ventures blog highlights international and U.S. adventures. Nancy Mueller is a Seattle-based travel & lifestyle journalist/photographer who focuses on “fun travel adventures for the young at heart.” Her bags are always packed for day trips, weekend getaways, and global escapes. Follow her adventures at and Janie H Pace is a travel writer/photographer from Fort Worth, Texas. Her culinary, wine, and travel photo adventurers have led her across Peru from Cusco to Machu Picchu, up the Icefields Parkway from Lake Louise to Jasper, and visiting all four islands of Hawaii. Janie posts her adventures at Barbara Redding is a freelance journalist who has written about a Hindu wedding in Kolkata and snorkeling in Cuba’s Bay of Pigs. When not traveling, she’s hiking, knitting, and fostering small, spirited dogs from Austin animal shelters. Find her recent articles in Travel Weekly; Food, Wine, Travel Magazine; and on Linda Stewart is a former English teacher who writes about food, wine, travel, and cocktails. Linda has lived the Pacific Northwest, Washington, D.C., and Southern California, and brings these different perspectives to her writing. She writes a cocktail column for titled, "The Cocktail Corner." Her articles also appear in and



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