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June 2020

our beautiful world issue 1

 FOOD, WINE, TRAVEL WRITERS ASSOCIATION (IFWTWA) You want to show the world what you can do.
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letter from the editor

long way to go.

Oh, how this world has changed in the couple of months since our last issue of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine. The plans for summer vacations so many of us had planned died and slow and drawn-out death as COVID-19 ravaged the world. As I write this, the travel and hospitality industries are starting to recover, although we all have a

Because most of us will not be traveling this summer, the editorial board and I thought that, instead of presenting this issue to you with a theme of great summer getaways, we should look more at the beauty of the world. I don’t know about you, but I sure can use some inspiration just to get me out of the house these days. Join us as we visit Nova Scotia, Hawaii, Italy, Australia, and Alaska. Try out a recipe for New Mexico’s state cookie or the famous Juliarita. Imagine yourself in the midst of the beauty of Cartagena, Denver’s Botanic Gardens, Budapest, and California’s Gold Country for just a few moments. Take your dog to Carmel, your tastebuds to the Rogue Valley, and your rhinestones to Calgary. We hope that our articles on these places and every other one we present you in this issue will bring a bit of joy and excitement for future travel. I wish to thank all of the writers and photographers who made this issue possible; without their contributions, we could not share the beauty of travel and the world. I also want to thank you, our readers, for supporting us and allowing us to share our insights into the cultures, foods, customs, and sights that make up this beautiful world. It is a win-win relationship, no? If you have any suggestions of articles you would like to read or locations you would like us to cover, I encourage you to send me a note. Until then, take care of yourselves and get back to traveling as soon as it is safe. Happy Travels,


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

Magazine Layout & Design Christine Cutler

Editorial Board

Debbra Dunning Brouillette David Drotar MaryFarah Kurt Jaconbson Irene Levine

David Nershi Robyn Nowell Amy Piper Jan Smith

Contributing Writers/Photographers Debbra Dunning Brouillette Christine Cutler Andrew Der Mary Farah Brigitte Hasbron Therese Iknoian Noreen Kompanik Veronica Matheson Nancy Mueller Janie Pace Paula Schuck Priscilla Willis

Allen Cox MaryRose Denton Robin Dohrn-Simpson Joeann Fossland M’Liss Hinshaw Scott Kendall Sharon Kurtz Kathy Merchant Robyn Nowell Amy Piper Cori Solomon

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


Editor: chris@fwtmagazine.com IFWTWA: admin@ifwtwa.org Marketing: marketing@fwtmagazine.com Visit our website: fwtmagazine.com

On the cover: Apple Hill viewpointPhoto courtesy of Therese Iknoian Food, Wine, Travel Magazine is an official publication of the International Food, Wine, Travel Writers Association.


table of contents 3 From the Editor 6 Land of Superlatives: Exploring 5 Alaska National Parks


10 Cortona: Beyond “Under the Tuscan Sun” 14 Magical Magnificent Maui 18 Exploring Nova Scotia's South Shore by Car: 10 Must-See Towns


24 Carmel-by-the-Sea:A Dog’s Paradise 26 Strike it rich with food, wine & history in California's Gold Country 30 The Cookie I Discovered on My Visit to New Mexico 32 The White Gull Inn: The Pride of Door County, Wisconsin


36 Picture Yourself Here—Cartagena 38 Beautiful Budapest 42 North County San Diego: …beach drives and mountain destinations


45 Rhinestone Cowboys

45 4


48 Wild, Wet, and Beautiful A Northwest Getaway 51 4 Destinations | 4 Horizons 56 Spectacular San Moritz 59 Sail Away on a Culinary Tour of Maine


62 Beaches, Birds and Blossoms 65 “Come From Away”To the Heart of Newfoundland 68 Delighting in Denver's Breathtaking Botanic Gardens


72 Meet Tom Kerpon, Executive Chef at Julia– A Spirited Restaurant & Bar at La Posada de Santa Fe 74 Fall into the Autumn Colors of Ashland, Oregon and the Rogue Valleya 78 Adelaide to Melbourne~Journey on Australia’s Overland Train


80 5

80 Islands —A Retrospective


and of Superlatives: Exploring 5 Alaska National Parks By Allen Cox

Denali and Reflection Lake


merica’s largest national park. The continent’s highest mountain. The country’s greatest section of preserved Arctic tundra. North America’s largest land predator. The biggest ice field in the U.S. Superlatives don’t begin to describe my experience on a group tour with one of the top guides in America’s 49th state, John Hall’s Alaska. I quickly discover that on a National Parks of Alaska tour, all guests have something in common: a love affair with nature. And, as the next 12 days would prove, there’s no better place for this than Alaska’s national parks. Our guide promises us adventure right out of the gate: The next morning at our first park, we will encounter North America’s largest land predator.


Katmai National Park and Preserve Under Alaska’s midnight sun, the day begins early, and I am ready for adventure. Our guide shuttles us to the airport to catch a commuter flight across Cook Inlet to King Salmon. There, we transfer to a fleet of waiting pontoon planes. Our destination: Brooks Camp at Katmai National Park and Preserve. Katmai is bear country. A population of about 2,200 Alaska brown bears call it home. The attraction? The legendary salmon run at Brooks Falls. A park ranger is waiting for us on shore. She ushers us into the visitor center for “bear training” and displays a backpack a bear had shredded. The object lesson makes the point: No food allowed on the trails, not even a Tic Tac. She shares the certainty that we will see bears, and if there should be a face-to-face encounter, the drill is to speak softly, avoid eye contact and slowly back away. We head out in small groups.

Photos from left: Brown bear at Katmai National Park © Public Domain—NPS; Brown bears at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park © Public Domain—NPS; Brown bears at Brook s Camp © Katmai National Park and Preserve

As predicted, my group encounters a brown bear crossing the trail at a range of about 20 yards. My heart leaps, but our training springs into action. We slowly back away, eyes averted. The bear ignores us and cuts a path through the woods toward the river. We reach the tiered viewing platform perched beside the falls where sockeye salmon attempt to leap upstream over a half-dozen bears. I find myself wanting to cheer when a fish makes it past the snapping jaws. Some, of course, fall to an unlucky fate.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve The town of McCarthy in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is not easy to get to; an endless drive on a gravel road or a thrilling flight in a bush plane are the only options. Born and raised in Alaska, our guide and keeper for the 12-day tour knows how to navigate his home state. Stationed in the driver’s seat of a luxury motor coach, he doesn’t miss a beat in his narration about where we’re going, its history, lore, and more. After a scenic drive from Anchorage through the Mat-Su Valley, we come to the edge of the park. There, we board a fleet of bush planes for the bumpy flight over one of the world’s largest preserved wildernesses. At more than 20,000 square miles (25% more area than Switzerland), Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is the largest in the U.S. After an hour of skirting sawtooth-shaped mountains and buzzing over glaciers, we finally touch down on McCarthy’s gravel airstrip. With its saloons and bordellos, McCarthy served as the hub of civilization for miners who worked the Kennecott Mine, a largescale copper operation that pulled ore from a mountainside between 1911 to 1938. Today,


View of Kennecott Mine in Wrangell-St Elias National Park © Public Domain—NPS

in part with the help of a Discovery Channel reality show called “The Edge of Alaska,” McCarthy is experiencing a renaissance as a destination for outdoor adventurers. Not only is it home to back-tothe-land types, but also small-scale lodging, a busy saloon, a decent gourmet restaurant, and some of the best adventure guides in the state. At Kennecott Mine, a National Historic Landmark District, I take a guided walking tour of many of the old structures, including the imposing 14-story concentration mill that climbs the side of a mountain. From the top of the concentration mill, I survey the 27-mile-long Kennecott Glacier as it cur ves between two colossal mountains and disappears. Whether viewed from a bush plane or from land, I find it impossible to wrap my head around the sheer scale of this park.

Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve The bush plane flight out of McCarthy deposits us back at our motor coach for the long drive north to Fairbanks. There, we board a charter flight to Anaktuvuk Pass, a village in Gates of the Arctic National Park. Just when I think I know the meaning of “remote” after visiting McCarthy, I think again.

We are in a broad swath of treeless tundra in the heart of the Brooks Range with no roads leading in or out. A young man is waiting for us on the airstrip—our Iñupiaq Alaska Native host for the day. We follow him on foot into the village, mostly a collection of modest homes scattered over the tundra. His people were once nomadic caribou hunters who settled here about 60 years ago, after the caribou population declined. His grandmother, he says, lived a nomadic lifestyle when she was young; her job was skinning the caribou kill and tanning the leather. “Now she’d rather sit at home and use Facebook.” We follow him to the town’s showpiece (besides the surrounding stark mountain scenery): the Simon Paneak Memorial Museum, a cultural center established by elders. Exhibits explain the history of this remote part of Alaska and tell of its people who have lived here for more than 13,000 years. The Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve spreads 800 miles from east to west. Inside the park, beyond the village borders, there are no trails. Adventurers who fly in can explore the rivers, mountains, and tundra to their heart’s content but have no access to lodging or other services.

Denali National Park and Preserve In Fairbanks, we board the Alaska Railroad for the morning run to Denali National Park, my spirits high as this is a highlight of the trip. Our guide warns us that not many visitors ever see Denali due to cloud cover. Today is no exception. Mountain or not, I decide to make the best of it and remain optimistic that the weather might change. Denali National Park and Preserve has only one road, a 90-mile gravel track. Private cars can go a few miles in, but only official park passenger buses and those belonging to lodges far inside the park can drive the full distance. Since we are staying at Denali Backcountry Lodge near the end of the road, we get a tour of the entire park with many stops along the way. I keep an eye on the southern horizon, but no Denali. The diversity of Denali ecosystems, from forest to tundra, is astounding, as is the wildlife. Brown bears patrol trails and the road. Dall sheep navigate sheer cliff faces. Caribou occupy remaining summer snow patches to cool off and escape insects. Arctic ground squirrels (a.k.a. bear burritos) stand their ground, defending their territory, even from passing buses.

Photos from top: Flightseeing tour over the Alaska Range; Flightseeing view of Alaska Range with glaciers; Gates of the Arctic National Park © Public Domain—NPS; Caribou in Denali National Park © Public Domain—NPS


During two days of excursions and hikes inside the park, Denali remains hidden. But on the morning of our departure, the clouds give way to a clear sky. Denali shows itself in its awesome, 20,310foot glory. I have a sudden urge to play the lottery. At the Denali National Park railway station, we board the Alaska Railroad for an overnight in the quintessential Alaska town of Talkeetna. Once there, I hop on a flightseeing tour with K2 Aviation and get a birds-eye view of the jagged Alaska Range where glaciers grind through the valleys. We have a thrilling ice landing at the climbers’ basecamp on the south face of Denali, as close as I will ever get to the summit.

Kenai Fjords National Park The next morning, our motor coach heads south to Seward for a boat tour of Kenai Fjords National Park. This maze of inlets, mountains, and glaciers is only accessible by water or air. Aboard the Orca Song, we cruise out of Resurrection Bay and enter the Gulf of Alaska. The Kenai Mountains are in full view with the 700-square-mile Harding Ice Field peeking between spires. We cruise into a bay and approach a massive wall of ice, the Aialik Glacier. It’s face, according to Orca Song’s captain, is the height of a 25-storey building and spans more than a mile. A thunderous crack echoes off the surrounding mountains. A chunk of ice the size of an apartment house breaks loose and crashes into the sea, sending a small tidal wave in our direction. The cruise back to Resurrection Bay is a wildlifewatcher’s dream. Our captain navigates through a group of small islands, home to sea lion colonies and seabird rookeries. The boat slows to a stop and he announces spouts at three o’clock. All heads turn right as a trio of humpbacks surface not 100 feet away. I


hear giant lungs exhale like great bellows. A few moments later, a pod of orca surfaces, sinks, and surfaces again in perfect unison, passing us on their way out of Resurrection Bay. Back in Seward, lazy seals lounge on floats. Gulls nod off on pilings. It’s day 11, and tomorrow will be the return to Anchorage and the flight home with memories of some of the world’s wildest and most majestic places, each preserved for generations as a national park.

Cort!a: Beyond “Under the Tuscan Sun” By Kathy Merchant


ime seems to stand still in Cortona. I mean that in the best possible way.

Spending 10 days in Cortona during a springlike February slowed my pulse, captured my heart, opened my senses, and perhaps increased my waistline (although many hikes up and down hilly cobblestone streets worked off some of the pasta calories!). Located at the eastern edge of Tuscany, bordering Umbria and beautiful Lake Trasimeno, Cortona is an open-air museum unchanged over many centuries. It is a quiet and peaceful place, bound forever to Etruscan history with an aspiring eye to the future. Cortona is one of two dozen historically significant Tuscan hill towns ringed by rampart walls built for defense in ancient and medieval times. Even though the center of Cortona is clearly visible upon approach by car or train, it is possible to get lost trying to navigate the web of winding roads that lace the hill. True confession: I’ve done that several times. With parking eventually settled, stunning views of the surrounding Val di Chiana and delights inside the walled city unfold with every step. Today, Cortona is one of Tuscany’s most important to u r i s t a n d c u l t u r a l d e s t i n a t i o n s , a t t r a c t i n g adventurers, musicians, artists, and thinkers from around the globe. Excellent dining, shopping, exploring, and learning opportunities sit in the sweet spot where tradition meets the twenty-first century.

Photos from clockwise from top: Sunset over Cortona and Val di Chiana, ©Alberto Sadini; Piazza del Comune, ©Alberto Sadini, courtesy of Hotel S. Michele; Santa Margherita Church, ©Alberto Sadini; Rampart Walkway ©Alberto Sadini; Piazza del Comune at Night, ©Alberto Sadini courtesy of Hotel S. Michele


Compared to better-known hill towns such as Siena and Montepulciano, Cortona was largely undiscovered and mostly under the radar until 1996 when Frances Mayes published her blockbuster book Under the Tuscan Sun. Suddenly, sleepy Cortona burst into the global limelight. Its allure reached visitors near and far, many of whom eventually became permanent residents.

“It’s a place where everybody knows your name” (Cheers) The people of Cortona are warm and welcoming. This cuts across the entire fellowship of humanity in Cortona, whether people are Cortonesi, expats who moved to Cortona, homeowners who are part-time Cortona residents, or visitors who make regular pilgrimages. Even the people who rent apartments through AirBnB and VRBO are exceptionally helpful. In Cortona, there is something for everyone, and so many love stories that explain its allure. So many people who visited Cortona as a teenager or young adult eventually moved there—some immediately, others after thirty years or more. But the call of Cortona cannot be resisted forever, and those with Cortona in their destiny will find a way to return.

Mangiamo: Let’s Eat It is a welcoming gastronomic pleasure to experience Cortona’s fantastic restaurants. Four of them were so good that I visited each one twice. Without exception, the food was excellent. My friends and I dined happily on charcuterie served with the best bread ever, housemade pasta, truffles, Chianina—the prized beef of Tuscany—and of course Tuscan wine. All four restaurants are just steps away from Piazza della Repúbblica, the heartbeat of central Cortona. Housed in the romantic 13th century Palazzo Cattani, Ristorante la Bucaccia da Romano pays homage to the tradition of calling ancient palace storage cellars “holes” or “bucaccia.” Always animated and flirtatious, Romano Magi creates a festive ambience as if every night is a special occasion and every guest is a long-lost friend. Don’t forget to say yes when he offers a taste of Limoncello or Grappa at the end of the meal. An authentic, traditional Tuscan dining experience, Osteria del Teatro is distinctive because of its warm, relaxed, yet bustling atmosphere. In the words of one fan on the restaurant’s Facebook page, “If you ever come to Cortona, skip everything and go straight to that restaurant.” I agree. Small spoiler alert: a peek inside the ladies’ room is an essential part of the Osteria del Teatro experience (for both men and women). Locanda al Pozzo Antico Ristorante is a family affair. Chef Paola, husband Franco, and son Gianni Fabianelli,


Photos from left: Antipasti, courtesy Ralph Johnson; Tuscan Pasta Sampler, courtesy Ralph Johnson; Felsina Wine Cellar, courtesy Hannah Efron; La Bucaccia (“the hole”), courtesy Elizabeth Hartmayer

choreograph joyful experiences under the watchful eye of mama Dina, who each day sits regally at her exclusive table to assess the happiness quotient of the family’s guests. During my two visits, happiness was 110%! Cheese fondue with truffles (for the table) is a must-order house specialty. Massimo Olivieri and Daniela Ottonello run a sweet caffè that doubles as a coffee bar and pasticceria. The Caffè Tuscher menu is pure, the food is fresh—mom bakes cookies every day—and deeply comforting. Whether you order something as simple as a grilled cheese on crunchy Tuscan bread or a daily regional specialty, Caffè Tuscher personifies Cortona’s welcoming arms.

Saluti: The Fine Wines of Italy Tuscany is perhaps the best-known wine region of Italy. Fresh and lively, with distinctive regional character, the red wines of Tuscany are my personal favorite style. While Cortona is a relative newcomer to Tuscany’s quality wine offerings, it has two main assets. One is that the Syrah grape grows very well in Cortona, distinctive in a region dominated by the Sangiovese grape. It has become Cortona’s signature wine. Equally important is Cortona’s great location with easy access to the other Tuscan wine regions (as well as the cities of Siena, Florence, Arezzo, and Perugia). It is a perfect home base.


Every year in February, regional collectives of Tuscany’s fine-wine producers host preview events to introduce new vintages into the marketplace. Anteprime di Toscana attracts thousands of journalists, members of the wine trade, and consumers, all eager to be first in line to taste Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Vernaccia di San Gimignano. It was a remarkable experience in 2020, and I’m already looking forward to next year! Cortona’s favorite sommelier and wine retail shop owner, Marco Molesini, is a third-generation Cortonesi. Each year, Molesini organizes a pilgrimage of international wine lovers to the festival events. According to Marco, “Tuscany is the only place in the world where you can taste so many top-quality wines in just one week. It is a unique and special aspect of Tuscany.” The Molesini family story highlights opportunities that have drawn people to Cortona for many centuries. In 1937, Marco’s grandparents moved to Cortona f rom northern Ital y seeking better economic prospects. They started a grocery and sold wine, a long-standing tradition in Italian markets. Marco’s parents joined the family business, followed by Marco and his brother Paolo. After becoming a sommelier, Marco decided with Paolo to grow the retail wine business. Today, Enoteca Molesini offers more than 1,500 labels of fine Italian wines, available for shipping globally.


Tuscan Vineyard

In Her Own Words

Author Frances Mayes isn’t the only Cortona lover! These stories from Julie (United Kingdom), Michela (Cortona), Karen (United States), and Hannah (United States/ Cortona) highlight its allure. Julie: I had only been in Cortona three days (on my first visit) when I put in an offer on an apartment. I’d never been to Tuscany before, I’d never heard of Frances Mayes or Under the Tuscan Sun, and I wasn’t loaded with money. I just fell in love with Cortona and wanted to feel part of it rather than be a visitor. Three years later, I’ve sold my apartment and bought a house on the same street. In the UK, I live in a very pretty cottage in The Cotswolds, but I feel more at home in Cortona. Michela: I was born in England 32 years ago. My parents met and fell in love while they were working for a cruise line. My mum is British of Jamaican heritage; my father is from Cortona. For two years after I was born, he commuted to Italy for work until our house was ready. Mum was the only black lady living in this tiny village, so it was a shock for everybody when we arrived. (Let’s just say the Cortonesi had something to talk about.) My childhood was safe, comfortable, and connected. People often ask me why I stay in Cortona, a little village that looks like it doesn’t have anything to offer the young generation. I have everything that I need and want. I love my beautiful Cortona! Karen: Thirty-six years after my first visit to Italy, I now own a home in Cortona. My love affair started with a life-changing decision in 2013 to attend Le Cordon Bleu (in the US). I chose Cortona for my restaurant externship. To my surprise and delight, Osteria del Teatro’s Chef/Owner Emilio Rossi invited me to train with him for six weeks. I made friends from all over the world, a home away from home. People greeted me by name as I walked through town. I felt like part of their community. Now I’m a real estate agent, so during this visit (in February 2020), I decided to look at properties for ideas, and possibly for a future purchase. As soon as I entered the house (that I now own), I felt at home. I love the street it is on, the beautiful wood doors, the curved staircase, the charming patio. I love everything about it, from learning new recipes from the veggie guy at the market to chatting with neighbors on the bench in front of my house. Hannah: I was born and raised in Orange County, California. As a college junior, I had the opportunity to study fine arts in Cortona for a semester abroad. I travelled all over Tuscany, ate delicious food, drank beautiful wines, and met an incredible young man who convinced me to move to Cortona and who is now my husband. It was an easy decision. Off I went ten days after graduation. Coming back to Cortona felt like being hugged by a dear friend. People welcomed me with open arms. Today it is my home, and I adore Etruscan art and architecture. Cortona is perfectly located in the center of a historical and cultural offering that the world craves. With Etruscan ruins dating from 8th century B.C., and grand churches dotting the hilly landscape, Cortona is a history buff ’s dream come true. The tourism board for Cortona has mapped out a self-guided walking tour. Piazza della Repúbblica is the hub for steep spokes of hilly cobblestone streets where little has changed in more than 500 years. Be sure to wear comfortable flat shoes, and along the way stop in for great food, shops featuring local artisans, and perhaps a glass of wine.




Maui By Noreen Kompanik

Haiku on Road to Hana



he Hawaiian Islands. Each unique, each with its own special allure. Our family loves them all, but the one representing a bit of everything aloha to us is the island of Maui.

We often refer to Maui as the sampler platter of the Hawaiian Islands. Commonly known as the Valley Isle, Maui is truly the undisputed playground of the archipelago. The island paradise has it all—pristine beaches, majestic waterfalls, rainforests, volcanic mountains, historic small towns, and some of the most stunning sunsets in the world. Heading to the islands? Check out some of our favorite must-see places that make for unforgettable magical Maui moments.

Sunrise at Haleakala Every visitor to Maui has to do it at least once. That is, make the early morning pilgrimage to watch the sunrise from Haleakala. The real challenge is waking up in the wee hours of the morning to arrive at Haleakala National Park before dawn and then maneuver winding roads to 10,023 feet for an experience of a lifetime. We decided to do it on our first morning on the island before adjusting to the time change, and it was a perfect plan. Though it used to be that visitors could just drive up and pay the $20 entrance fee to the park, that has changed. It’s now mandatory to have a reservation to keep the crowds at a minimum. Haleakala means “House of the Sun,” and visitors like us all donning hats, coats, gloves, scarves, and woolen blankets braved the serpentine climb in inky black darkness and the frosty mountaintop chill to garnish the best viewing location on the overlook. The Milky Way stretched across the sky in all its nebulous glory. Suddenly, a faint orange and yellow glow began to tickle the eastern horizon. Though it suddenly began to rain by actual sunrise, the sky was aglow in a masterpiece of dazzling colors, and each visitor, like us, stood awestruck. Yes, it was worth it, and yes, we’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Heavenly Road to Hana The scenic drive on the Road to Hana is the undisputed top island attraction. We found that planning ahead makes all the difference on getting the most out of this amazing 52-mile stretch of scenic highway. With one awe-inspiring “Honey, stop the car” moment after another, it’s important to know which are the absolute must-dos. Ho’okipa Beach Park is nestled between the town of Paia and Haiku, and the beaches here are magnificent. It’s the perfect place to watch the windsurfers mastering the waves from our favorite fabulous island restaurant, Mama’s Fish House. There are so many waterfalls on the Road to Hana, it’s hard to keep count. Our favorites are Pua’a Ka’a Falls with a glorious swimming hole at the base of the falls and Hanawi Falls where its lower plume cascades into a freshwater pool. An 80-foot multi-tiered waterfall and plunge pool, Wailua Falls is located directly off the side of the road and is considered the most photographed and beautiful falls on the island.


Photos from top-to-bottom: Sunrise at Haleakala; Spectacular Haiku on the Road to Hana; Waterfalls on the Road to Hana

The Maui Garden of Eden is a magnificent arboretum. One visit and it was easy to see how the botanical paradise got its name. With stunning coastline views, the Keanae Peninsula, is just a few miles past the gardens.

Maui Luaus We have been to luaus on most of the Hawaiian Islands, and without a doubt, Maui’s are the star of the show. The Old Lahaina Luau is the island’s most popular. This traditional Hawaiian feast enjoys the loveliest of oceanfront settings in the tropical historic Hawaiian village of Lahaina. At sunset, the festivities begin with legendar y song, music, and dance representing the timeless journey of the islands. A different kind of luau, but one that’s romantical l y unforgettable, is the Feast at Lele. From the magnificent colorful costumes of Tahiti to the Samoan fire-knife dance, the entertainers take visitors on a cultural and culinary journey through Polynesia and their epic voyages that brought them to the Hawaiian Islands.

Spectacular Snorkeling No matter what a snorkeler’s style—be it easy beach access or floating above the undersea wonders of Molokini Crater—Maui is the ideal place to be in the water. One of the top snorkeling trips heads to Molokini, a crescentshaped off-shore volcanic caldera that has some of most amazing underwater marine life in the islands. The clear, crystalline waters provide visibility of over 150 feet. The shallow reef with spectacular coral formations is teeming with a wide variety of fascinating fish and marine animals. Our snorkeling adventure there was nothing short of superb. Honolua Bay in an excellent snorkeling spot on low surf days. Known primarily as a surf break, the bay is sheltered from the wind by two rocky cliffs on both ends of the cove creating calm smooth snorkeling conditions. Kapalua Bay is an amazing nearby snorkeling spot with a spectacle of sea life along its rocky edge.

Photos top-to-bottom: Old Lahaina Luau; Maui Garden of Eden; Maui sunset; Kapalua Bay


One of our favorite hot spots is a hidden gem the locals call Turtle Town. Located just off the coast of Maluaka Beach, the reef is not only home to hundreds of fish and grand underwater sea arches, but it’s also the spot where the honu (Hawaiian sea turtles) often make an appearance.

Nakalele Blowhole A majestic natural geyser called Nakalele Blowhole shoots ocean water up to one hundred feet into the air. And this geological phenomenon can be found just eight miles north of Kapalua on Maui’s west coast. The hike down to the blowhole is a bit challenging, but numerous trails crisscross the rugged rocky landscape leading to the geyser. We recommend hiking shoes or sturdy tennis shoes for the best footing through the jagged black lava terrain. High tide is the ideal time to visit when maximum water pressure builds inside the lava tube, resulting in powerful sprays. The ocean swells produce spectacular eruptions; usually vertically, but an occasional angled blast can surprise spectators, as we know all too well. Morning views can also produce multiple rainbows from the spray. Word of warning here—heed the local signs and safety advice and don’t get too close to the blowhole itself. A sign in one of the island’s quaint and rustic surf shops simply read “Maui is my happy place.” We understand that completely. 17

Photos top-to-bottom: Molokini Crater; Nakalele blowhole

Quintessential fishing pier between Mahone Bay and Lunenburg

Exploring Nova N Scotia's South Shore by Car: 10 Must-See Towns By Amy Piper


ova Scotia's craggy South Shore is one of Canada's most scenic drives. Wandering along Route 3, the Lighthouse Route, is the ideal place for a road trip to explore quintessential fishing villages and take in picturesque ocean-front views. It can be challenging to know just where to stop, so here's my list of the 10 must-stop towns along Nova Scotia's South Shore. Some towns you've heard of; others are well-kept secrets, but one thing they all have in common is they have some of the best lobsters in the world. You won't go hungry on this road trip.

Chester Leaving Halifax, Nova Scotia’s oldest and capital city, my first stop was the town of Chester, where wealthy 19th-century American families went for summer getaways. It's home to the Fo'c'sle Tavern, the oldest

pub in Nova Scotia, known as Chester's "living room." In 2019, the Fo'c'sle Tavern won the first-ever Lobster Chowder Chowdown Showdown, receiving the Golden Ladle Trophy. I just had to try it, and I wasn't disappointed. The chef started by sautĂŠing onions and celery in butter, then amped up the flavor with charred corn and tri-colored potatoes. He added lobster and cooked it all in cream to create an awardwinning lobster chowder. The lobster-claw garnish made a stunning presentation.


photo opportunity of Mahone Bay's three churches standing side-by-side along the waterfront, I continued my pursuit of lobster, more specifically, lobster beer. Saltbox Brewing celebrated Atlantic Canada's lobster fishing industry with Crustacean Elation, a lobster beer. To make it, they used whole lobsters and fireroast the shells to infuse lobster taste and aroma into the beer. It was the perfect accompaniment to a lobster roll because the beer intensified the lobster flavor.

Mahone Bay


After lunch, my next stop was the picturesque town of Mahone Bay, where The Three Churches of Mahone Bay created a scene that the New York Times described as "pretty as a picture." After my

Next, I continued down Route 3 to Lunenburg. Old Town Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Nova Scotia’s first British village outside Halifax. For photographers, the money shot, quite literally, is

best taken from the harbor at sunset, where the colorful buildings stand out in the blue light. You'll find this shot on the back of Canadian 100-dollar bills. After a walking tour of Old Town Lunenburg, it was time for some refreshment. Ironworks Distillery is an artisanal microdistillery featuring hand-distilled spirits, using only natural fresh ingredients. Apple Brandy, one of their signature spirits, comes from apples grown in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley. The name Ironworks comes from its 1893 heritage building. It was once a marine blacksmith's shop that produced marine ironworks, like anchors. Take time to tour Nova Scotia's famous tall ship racing schooner, the Bluenose II, a replica of the ship found on the back of Canada's dime.

Barrington Located in Barrington Passage, the heart of the Lobster Capital of Canada, Capt. Kat's Lobster Shack serves some of the most delightful lobster dishes in Sou'west Nova Scotia. Declining the option to choose a lobster from the tank, I decided to try Capt. Kat's Lobster Shack's signature dishes— lobster fondue, lobster nachos, and the creamed lobster. Creamed lobster is a Sou'west Nova Scotia favorite with milk, heavy cream, butter, and a splash of vinegar. At Capt. Kat's they serve it on toast with mash potatoes, or on the Fisherman's Delight by spooning some inside the large onion ring atop the haddock fish sandwich. Fair Warning: This sandwich is best eaten with a knife and fork. After lunch, I continued down Route 3 to Cape Sable Island. Photos top-to-bottom: St. John's Anglican Church in Lunenburg; Coastal scene; Saltbox Brewing; Crustacean Elation at Saltbox Brewing; Ironworks Distillery offerings


Cape Sable Island Cape Sable Island is the southernmost point in Nova Scotia, connected to the mainland via a causeway. With a population of about 3,000 residents, it's still an active fishing area.

Cape Sable Island is also a bird watchers paradise as it’s a significant area for migrating birds. The beaches here are fitting nesting areas for the endangered Piping Plovers. The area is also home to herds of wild sheep. After a walk along the beach, I headed back north along Route 3.

Hunts Point A stay at Hunts Point's White Point Beach Resort has enough to keep a family busy for several days. The kiddos will love feeding the wild bunnies with the resort's complimentary pellet packages. Exploring the permanent collection of the 90th Anniversary Outdoor Sculpture Show is a pleasant way to explore the resort's grounds. Forgetting your wetsuit is no problem. They rent everything you need to try your hand at year-round surfing. Another unique offering at the resort is the opportunity to crew a lobster fishing boat on Blueberry Bay. I experienced first-hand what it's like to be a lobster fisherman in February as a crew member for the day aboard the 37-foot lobster fishing boat, the JKC, with Captain Brad Crouse.

Shelburne Along the waterfront, I appreciated the 10-block heritage district with a colorful early 19th-century street scene. The Shelburne Historic Complex consists of three local museums– the Dory Shop Museum, the Shelburne Museum, and the RussThomson House.

Port Medway The Port Grocer is a community gathering place centered around food, art, and music. This fast-casual dining experience combines counter service with high-quality food. I recommend sitting in the back porch-like area, where the sunlight pours through the large curtained windows. The Cafe's menu focuses on freshly prepared deli items. Their signature item, available during Lobster Crawl, is the lobster


Photos top-to-bottom: Barrington—Lobster Capital of Canada; Lobster fishing; Catching & resetting traps; Live lobster waiting to be sorted; live lobster

pizza. The base is an oat flour crust topped with white wine garlic sauce, and a bit of Parmesan cheese. Lobster cut into oneinch chunks comes next. It's all topped with a combination of Swiss and Cheddar cheese, and sometimes mozzarella. It tastes like lobster linguini on a crust.

Indian Harbour Chef Michael Boragina of Rhubarb Restaurant at Oceanstone Seaside Resort cooked the grand finale to my Nova Scotia South Shore exploration. The dinner featured fish cakes with green tomato chow, steamed mussels, and a colorful lobster boil. The colors—red, green, and yellow were spectacular. The meal started with two appetizers, fish cakes and mussels. Green tomato chow topped the golden brown fish cakes for a combination of sweet and tart. The mussels, came steamed in a garlic white wine sauce. I wished I had eaten more mussels, but I was saving room for the main course. Finely chopped herbs and bright red tomatoes added pops of color. With the lobster boil, a vivid prism, Chef Michael infused flavor by lightly poaching the lobster in a court bouillon with onions and celery. The lobster’s subtle sweet flavor paired well with the sweet corn. Serving the lobster with melted butter, the chef did the work of breaking it down so I could enjoy it effortlessly. Green beans and roasted red-skinned potatoes completed the presentation. After a peaceful night's sleep in the Grey Owl Cottage at Oceanstone Seaside Resort, I headed back toward Halifax as my journey had almost ended. I had one more stop.

Peggy's Cove Nova Scotia's coastline is home to over 160 lighthouses; but, the most photographed is the iconic Peggy's Point Lighthouse balanced among the shore's granite boulders. With about 30 permanent residents, Peggy's Cove is still an active fishing community. Photos top-to-bottom: Capt. Kat’s Creamed Lobster on a Haddock Sandwich; Foc's'cle Lobster Chowder; Peggy's Cove Lighthouse; Coastal scene, ©getstencil.com




A D g’s Paradise By Mary Farah


f you're a dog owner, you've certainly received the look. You know, that one when your suitcases come out and your pooches get that sixth sense you'll be leaving them. Since traveling has been a frequent "thing" in our household, I decided that I couldn't bear to get the look next time the bags came out. Enter, our road trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea. Sitting along the pristine California coastline just south of Big Sur and off Highway One, Carmel-bythe-Sea offers its visitors a unique getaway for the e n t i r e f a m i l y. Ye s , e v e n Fi d o . Mo s t h o te l s , restaurants, and businesses in town are more than accommodating to dogs. From our lovely hotel stay to mouth-watering meals, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a beautiful location for both you and your four-legged family members.

Stay in the Heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea There's nothing like arriving at the Hofsas House Hotel after a five-plus hour drive from Los Angeles … especially with two hyper and eager dogs in tow. With a history dating back to the 1940s, Hofsas House Hotel lays in the heart of Carmel and just steps away from the adorable village. What's perfect about a stay here is the ease of parking your car and not needing it again until you depart. This makes for a much smoother time as you walk with the pups, 24

take in the sights, and hit the beach all under a mile from the hotel. Since you’ll have a fireplace and private patio to enjoy, upgrade to one of the Hofsas' packages like wine and chocolate or wine and cheese upon arrival. We enjoyed the latter while the dogs loved their Tail Wagging package. A guest favorite, the package includes dog beds in-room, treats, keepsake Frisbee, collapsible water bowl, and even dog shampoo and towels. Having all of these treats awaiting our arrival made for such a relaxing break before we made our way to the sands.

Picnic at the Beach While there's plenty to have on your radar in Carmel and the surrounding Monterey Bay, let's face it. We really are there for those ocean views. You'll find many in town, and the best part, it's dog friendly. Carmel Beach is one of the few stretches of ocean in this part of California that allows your canine to run free and off-leash. We took advantage of this and decided to have a late lunch from 5th Avenue Deli on the white sands while Hammond and Nova ran amok and made new friends. A locals’ favorite since 1991, 5th Avenue Deli serves up fresh soups, salads, sandwiches made to order, and a variety of grab and go lunches. They prepare all foods daily, so everything is fresh as well

as tasty. You can even grab a bottle of wine and one of their many homemade sweet treats for dessert. We decided to take some of the deli case goodies to go and take advantage of our microwave and fridge back at the Hofsas. Each room offers both; in addition to select suites with a full kitchen or kitchenette.

Bark and Wine a Little Not only is Carmel a terrific dog-centric getaway, but it also has some pretty fine wines. Wineries surround the region, and many tasting rooms have become a fixture on its cobblestone streets. To get the most bark for your buck, consider the Carmel Wine Walk Passport that enables you to enjoy tastings at 13 wineries. Extremely dog friendly, the tastings are the perfect follow-up to your fun in the sun. There are over a dozen to choose from, and the passports don't expire. Each winery offers something special, and we had no bad wine while in Carmel. We particularly enjoyed the atmosphere at Blair, Dawn's Dream, and Silvestri. All of the stops went above and beyond to ensure our dogs were comfortable; some even offered treats.

Enjoy a French Brunch We enjoyed such an array of marvelous meals in Carmel, and so did Hammond and Nova. A highlight was our brunch at Etats-Unis, a delectable French-American bistro from Chef Soerke Peters that has recently closed permanently, a victim of COVID-19 shut downs. Peters pulled out all of the stops with my ratatouille egg scramble. Getting the best of both worlds with a French favorite in a breakfast setting, the side of fresh bread toasted with homemade jam made for an ideal sweet and savory brunch. My husband enjoyed their prosciutto and mozzarella with curly fries and New England clam c h o wd e r. E t a t s - Un i s s e r v e d o n l y t h e f r e s h e s t ingredients, and Carmel will miss Peters, his wonderful offerings, and staff.

Get Cozy in Carmel-by-the-Sea At the end of the day, the dogs were tuckered out. They loved getting cozy by the fireplace in their beds at the hotel each night. While they're not being served organic foamed milk since we're back at home, we know they'll be ready for another round of pampering whenever we return once again to our beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Photos (opposite): Carmel, CA, is dog friendly (Both photos courtesy of CarmelCalifornia.com); Photos (this page, top-to-bottom): Hofsas House Hotel; Writer’s dogs enjoy their room at Hofsas House; Wines in Carmel (Photo courtesy of CarmelCalifornia.com); Carmel Plaza’s Fountain of Woof (Photo courtesy of CarmelCalifornia.com); Carmel Beach Magical Sunset (Photo courtesy of CarmelCalifornia.com).


Strike " rich

with food, wine & history in California's Gold Country By Therese Iknoian


hen we moved to the Gold Country in California’s Sierra Nevada foothills, I got terribly excited about the sign marking the Overland Emigrant Trail a quarter mile from our house-to-be. I envisioned the old days with covered wagon trains circling for the night along the creek it paralleled—and here I was going out for runs where horses and pioneers likely trod 170 years ago. California Gold Country stretches some 300 miles along the beautiful rolling foothills—remaining for the most part above the fog line and below the heavy snow line. Small, picturesque, historic towns dot the main highway that runs along the east-west swath where the 1849 Gold Rush began. In fact, the highway is officially designated Highway 49, named after the “49ers” who wasted no time rushing to the area to seek their fortunes. Many of the same small towns then with muddy streets in winter and dusty in summer, lined with raucous bars and plenty of brothels, are today’s charming tourist destinations. You’ll find panoramic Sierra vistas, historic facades and streets, quaint


hotels, small town festivities, not to mention many of today’s pioneers—restauranteurs and winemakers— still seeking their fortunes. With eight counties and 15-to-20 towns (depending on what you call a town) to explore up and down Highway 49, not to mention notable parks, trails, and lakes, covering the entire stretch in one slam is, well, impossible. So, let’s take a peek at four spectacular places—from commercial to a little quirky— to visit in the Northern Central Gold Country area.

Grass Valley / Nevada City For visitors, the lines may blur between these twin cities, but make no mistake they are different (and I have always sensed a bit of friendly competition between them). Nevada City, just four miles north of Grass Valley, has a Victorian flair with magnificent mansions and quaint B&Bs lining hilly streets – that’s because it was a richer town where the owners of the mines and other businessmen lived. Grass Valley was, and still is, the commercial center. This is where Cornish miners from Cornwall,

Gold Country stretches some 300 miles along the beautiful rolling foothills…

Photos, top-to-bottom: Nevada City Main Street Church; Main street Nevada City glitters at night with its street lamps aglow, ©Nevada City Chamber; Grass Valley Empire Mine Mansion

England lived, as well as the even less privileged Chinese workers. Notable is that Grass Valley is home to the oldest Gold Country hotel in continuous operation, the Holbrooke Hotel, founded in 1862 and a California State Landmark, which saw famous guests, such as Ulysses S. Grant as well as infamous ones like entertainer Lola Montez. Today, any visitor to the area should poke around both towns, exploring the back of the main streets as here you’ll find old stone walls and buildings that were once banks or jails. Winemakers and restauranteurs have also transformed the scene. Each town now has three winery-specific tasting rooms, and the area, with nearly ideal weather for winemaking, has nearly 20 wineries – not a bad count when the population of the two towns combined doesn’t inch much over 15,000. I recommend Nevada City Winery in the heart of Nevada City – not only a tasting room but the winery itself that kicked off the re-emergence of area winemaking in 1980. If you time it right, you can watch a fall crush in the parking lot below the tasting room’s (secret) back deck and take a peek into the cellars there, too.


Photos, left-to-right: Nevada City winery crush; Restaurant One 11 Kitchen Beer; Grass Valley Full Moon; Apple Hill tasting; Tribute Trail Suspension Bridge; Apple Hill viewpoint; Dutch Flat 1852 Hotel; Dutch Flat July 4 water fight; Lone grave, Pioneer Trail

Modern food pioneers In Nevada City and Grass Valley, modern pioneers have turned to an emphasis on organic, locally sourced food. And local chefs have upped the ante on flavors that in many eateries were more conservative.


Long-timer New Moon (Nevada City) offers big-city fine dining with a smalltown feel and a lengthy international wine list. I have often enjoyed the Grüner Veltliner, a bright, citrusy Austrian varietal that can be hard to find outside of Europe. New Moon’s is from Weingut Berger in Kremstal. Another long-timer is Ike’s Quarter Café, run by a husband-and-wife team that focuses on New Orleans-style cooking with an organic and healthy twist (breakfast and lunch only). Get there early to nab a table on the shaded patio.

Spectators can watch all kinds of other historic reenactments, including a shoot-out. Aside from a saunter through town, travelers will find Placerville a superb gateway not only for its wine country and bountiful “Apple Hill,” but also to the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park— THE spot where gold was discovered in 1848. Demonstration days there recreate history monthly, tours are available, try your hand at gold-panning, and consider the Coloma Gold Rush Live event in October where a tent town is filled with “adventurers, gold-seekers and charlatans” recreating the era.

Lior Rahmanian, owner and founder at One 11 Kitchen & Bar in Nevada City, is a newcomer to the growing restaurant scene. His year-old restaurant, housed in a former prison, offers a tight, organic menu with an emphasis on gourmet burgers, kebabs (likely stemming from his Persian heritage), and a few salads, sides, and desserts. Another treat is the tiny patio that sits slightly below street level. Another newcomer in sister city Grass Valley is the 18-month-old Watershed at The Owl, which took over a popular local tavern in a circa 1857 building that closed in 2017. With founders that grew up in the area, Watershed is another big city dining experience in a small Gold Country town, with seasonal menus sourced from area farms.


Placerville’s nickname of “Hangtown” tells the story of the town’s rather lawless past: Anyone caught misbehaving in those days met swift justice…at the end of a rope. Today, it celebrates that bawdy history at its annual Hangtown Days in June when a reenactment of a pioneer wagon train pulls into town after a week on the trail from Nevada.

Also, not to be missed is Apple Hill, just east of Placerville. The sprawling region once was home to a few pear orchards. A blight in the early 1960s forced the ranchers to pull together to decide what to do—and Apple Hill was born. Today it’s home to 55 farmers, including Christmas tree farms, as well as wineries and tasting rooms. In the fall, the orchards burst with dozens of varieties of apples, while on-site cafes churn out fresh-pressed cider, apple fritters, and apple pies stacked high with fresh fruit. Wander from farm to farm to taste and sip. Guaranteed you’ll end up with some booty to take home.

Dutch Flat

Now comes the quirk that still exists in tiny burgs smattered here and there in the Gold Country. You could easily drive right past the exit to Dutch Flat since you can’t see anything along the road itself. But don’t. Dutch Flat has changed a lot over the years: Back in about 1853, it had some 6,000 residents. Today, the population is maybe 200. This is home to long-timers who like the off-the-beaten-path peace, and new-timers and artists who want to escape city life. Even in the 19th century, it was called “the Athens of the Foothills” with its thriving theater and debating societies. Today, the quaint Golden Drift Museum is jammed with historical photos and writings you could literally read for hours. And

Strike " rich?

don’t miss the town cemetery or the renovated Dutch Flat Hotel (circa 1852). The annual 4th of July Parade has to take two loops around the tiny town otherwise the parade won’t last long enough. Held non-stop since the 1860s, the parade has a reputation and long history of water-fight hijinks. Although the town fathers (and mothers) have enforced a few rules after things got out of hand a few years ago, the water fights have continued. Parade spectators show up with super soakers, water blasters, and buckets, prepared to take on anybody who wants to get wet. As one local said a couple of years ago, “We take our water fights very seriously here.” Even after calling the Gold Country home for a number of years, I still get excited about the discoveries that exist around every corner.

Outdoor beauty a Gold Country hallmark With the Gold Country nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills, outdoor beauty and trails are a given. Identified as the nation’s fi r s t h a n d i c a p p e d a c c e s s i b l e w i l d e r n e s s t r a i l , t h e Independence Trail follows a former gold-mining ditch. The west trail has flumes, bridges and waterfalls. The Deer Creek Tribute Trail, a short walk from downtown Nevada City has a beautiful suspension bridge crossing the creek. Family friendly Pioneer Trail just north of Nevada City on Highway 20 provides easy access. Be sure to get a look at the “Lone Grave” (right) where then-2-year-old pioneer Julius Apperson was buried in 1858. Marshall Gold, Empire Mine and South Yuba River parks also offer many miles of trails.


With the entire area’s heritage stemming from the Gold Rush, who doesn’t want to visit a gold mine or try their hand at gold panning? Grass Valley’s Empire Mine State Historic Park is a must-see for any visitor. Empire was once the richest hard-rock mine in California, producing 5.8 million ounces of gold in its 106-year history. You can walk around the park, peer down an old mine shaft, sit in an old ore car that took miners miles underground, and see the former owner’s stone mansion (there are living history tours on summer weekends). Insider tip: Wind your way to the back room in the visitor’s center to see a once-secret tabletop scale model of the mine’s 367 underground workings that covered more than five square miles. And about striking it rich? At Marshall Gold park to the south, you can try gold-panning on certain Saturdays and at special events. At the South Yuba River State Park, you can try your hand on weekends and at special events. The park is also home to Bridgeport Covered Bridge, built in 1862 and the world’s longest, single-span wood truss covered bridge, now undergoing renovation.

The Cookie I Discovered on My Visit to New Mexico


By M’Liss Hinshaw

he shape and design of the cookie immediately caught my attention. After just one bite, I was even more intrigued because it was like no other cookie I’d ever tasted before. I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and this biscochito cookie just happens to be the state’s official cookie. Biscochito cookies are a long-time tradition in New Mexico with recipes handed down through the generations. The cookies are not an everyday treat and are historically prepared for the holidays and special occasions. So, what exactly is a biscochitos? I thought perhaps a variation of a sugar cookie, but it’s much more. The cookie resembles a snickerdoodle, though along with the tastes of cinnamon and sugar, it reflects hints of anise. Soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside (but not too crumbly) the scrumptious goodness of this tantalizing treat makes it impossible to just stop at one. Since the cookies I sampled were made by Celina’s Biscochitos, I spoke with owner Celina Aldaz-Grife, to learn more about these delights. Celina explained that there are variations of the cookie from the Spanish and Native Americans and that she was raised on the Southern New Mexico variation.

History of Celina’s Biscochitos Celina has always loved to bake and used her grandmother’s recipe when it was one of those special times for having biscochitos. At first, she gave them to friends and family but was encouraged to bake her

Beautiful New Mexico outside of Albuquerque, © Dirt Road Travels


sweet treats year-round. word spread about her cookies, the demand grew, opened her bakery after career in real estate.

O n c e delectable and she lea ving a

The traditional method of making the cookies according to Celina is by using lard. She tried replacing the lard with more healthy ingredients, but the cookies did not taste the same. “Everything in moderation,” she says.

More Creative Selections As Celina’s Biscochitos Bakery became more popular, she expanded the cookie selections to include fascinating flavors such as maple bacon, lemon, and green chile pecan. For fans of Biscochitos, there are seasonal varieties and lots of different packaging for gifts and businesses. Her cookies can also feature New Mexico’s state symbol, the Zia, which represents the sign of the sun. It’s not unusual for the bakery to produce 500 dozen of these cookies a day, much of it by hand using locally sourced ingredients. Her husband, David, lends a hand with maintenance issues and deliveries. Having reliable employees, per Celina, has greatly helped her business. Though Celina’s family recipe remains a secret, she provided me with a recipe slightly different from the original. The special taste is not cinnamon but ground anise and brandy. I made the cookies from the recipe and must admit hers are better. Could it be her secret recipe or that I ate her marvelous cookies in New Mexico, the “Land of Enchantment?”

Celina’s Shareable Biscochito Recipe Servings: 4 dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS: 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 1½ teaspoons baking powder 1 to 1½ teaspoons ground anise ½ teaspoon salt ½ pound lard, softened ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar 1 large egg 2 tablespoons Brandy Topping ¼ cup sugar ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon


DIRECTIONS: Sift together the flour, baking powder, anise, and salt and set aside. Beat the lard in an electric mixer, gradually adding the sugar, and beat until extremely fluffy and light, about 8 minutes. Don’t shortcut this step. Stop the mixer every couple of minutes and scrape the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the egg, followed by the brandy, and continue beating. Mix in the dry ingredients, adding about one-third of the mixture at a time. Stop the mixer as you make each addition, and beat no longer than necessary to incorporate the dry ingredients. A stiff pie-crust type of dough is what you’re seeking. Chill the dough for about 15 minutes for easy handling. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough ¼-inch thick on a floured work surface and cut with a paring knife into a fleur de Lis, or cut with a small cookie cutter. Avoid handling the dough any more than necessary. This is one of the keys to the melt-in-yourmouth texture. Transfer the cookies to ungreased cookie sheets. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until just set and pale golden. While the cookies bake stir together the topping. You can order Celina’s comforting and When the cookies are done, cool for just a minute or two on the delicious Biscochitos from her website baking sheets, then gently dunk the top of each in the www.celinasbiscochitos.com. cinnamon-sugar. Or visit the shop: Transfer to absorbent paper to finish cooling. Celina’s Biscochitos 404 Osuna Rd NW Enjoy! Los Ranchos De Albuquerque, NM 87101 505.269.4997 31

The White Gull Inn:

The Pride of Door County, Wisconsin By Scott Kendall

We support our local farms and orchards, and work with the other businesses in our community to help ensure that our guests continue to have a vibrant village to explore during their stays. ~ Meredith Coulsen-Kanter



ocated in the picturesque bayside village of Fish Creek,The White Gull Inn brings together many of the pleasures for which Door County is famous. Views of the bay, water recreation activities, charming architecture, fabulous shops, fish boils, candlelight dinners, and nearby scenic parks and golf courses are all at your fingertips at The White Gull Inn. Since 1896, this historic inn has been a favorite lodging and dining destination for locals and visitors alike. Founded by Dr. Herman Welcker and his wife Henriette in 1896, the Welcker family welcomed guests from Chicago and throughout the Midwest as they arrived by steamboat to escape the heat and crowds of the cities to the south. In addition to the main inn and the award winning restaurant, The White Gull Inn features beautifully renovated and maintained rooms, suites and cottages.

A Family Affair Since 1972 Today the Inn is run by Meredith and Chris Coulsen-Kanter. The couple recently took over from Meredith’s parents who had managed The White Gull Inn since 1972. Meredith and Chris are understandably proud of the family business. When I asked Meredith what made The White Gull Inn special, she said, “We take great pride in using quality ingredients, making everything from scratch, and having a great team to ensure that our guests have delicious food and inviting service every time they visit. We support our local

farms and orchards, and work with the other businesses in our community to help ensure that our guests continue to have a vibrant village to explore during their stays. We feel very lucky to call so many of our guests and diners our old friends, and that our job is to come to work each day to bring joy to these friends.”

attraction in the area, it’s also within walking distance or a short drive of The White Gull Inn. The pristine 3,776-acre Wisconsin state park has eight miles of picturesque shoreline, with plenty of space for people to hike, bike, swim, and participate in lots of fun water activities. An estimated one million visitors come to Peninsula State Park each year.

As the White Gull Inn states in their brochure, "People tell us that the White Gull Inn is warm, friendly, and hospitable–that it represents the best of what Door County has been and what they hope it will can continue to be."

Dining at The White Gull Inn Restaurant

My wife and I have been fortunate to visit Fish Creek many times, and can easily see why Forbes named Fish Creek one to the 15 Prettiest Towns in America. Guests at The White Gull Inn are centrally located to enjoy all facets of the town, and are just a short walk or drive to top spots in the area. Stepping out the front door and turning left, and in just a minute we found ourselves in Sunset Park with a gorgeous view of the waters of Green Bay. Shops can be found throughout the town, with many just an easy stroll away.

Peninsula State Park One of our favorite places to visit in Door County is beautiful Peninsula State Park. The most popular 33

The White Gull Inn Restaurant is synonymous with fine dining. I personally experienced the amazing flavors of their nationally famous Cherry-Stuffed French Toast, winner of Good Morning America’s Best Breakfast Challenge. A wide selection of omelets, pancakes, and other breakfast items help get the day started on the right foot. The Autumn Caramel Apple French Toast, Eggs Benedict, and the hardy Nice Guy Hash are other breakfast favorites. For lunch, The White Gull offers a nice selection of soups, sandwiches, salads, and other home cooked meals suitable for a healthy appetite. In the evening,

Photos, clockwise from left: White Gull Inn; White Gull Inn with a light dusting of snow; White Gull Inn Restaurant; Peninsula State Park Kayakers, courtesy Door County Visitor Bureau; boating, courtesy Door County Visitor Bureau; White Gull Inn owners, Meredith & Chris

guests may choose from a variety of flavorful dishes like the Black Angus Filet, Herb Crusted Walleye, or the Butternut Squash Ravioli. One of the most popular meals served at The White Gull Inn is its famous Fish Boil. This dish features fresh whitefish from Lake Michigan cooked outdoors on an open fire. A big part of the attraction is watching the huge flames beneath the pot, causing the pot to boil over the sides, pushing the fish oil out and leaving the fish and potatoes ready for hungry appetites. Add some homemade coleslaw and breads, lemon and butter, and you’ve got a great meal. Finally, top off the meal with a slice of famous Door County Cherry Pie. Even if you are not a fan of fish, come for the show and substitute chicken for the fish. The White Gull Inn's famous traditional Door County Fish Boils are served Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings from May through October and on Friday evenings the rest of the year.

The Door County Wine Trail Eight wineries comprise the Door County Wine Trail. They are all relatively close in proximity, with none being more than an hour from each other, and most being within a 30-minute drive. •Door 44 Winery •Door Peninsula Winery •Harbor Ridge Winery •Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery •Red Oak Winery and Vineyard •Simon Creek Vineyard and Winery •Stone’s Throw Winery •Von Stiehl Winery

Although not widely known for its wineries, Door County has a lovely selection. Each has a tasting room with complimentary or nominal fees where guests can relax and try out some new wines. Many of the wineries are known for their sweet fruit flavored wines, but they also offer varietals for other tastes. Most have tours, and several can be reached via the Door County Trolley.

More Excellent Dining in Door County

Door County Visitor Bureau

In addition to The White Gull Inn, Door County features numerous restaurants with a wide variety of food choices. Casual fine dining is available at Donny’s Glidden Lodge and the Inn at Cedar Crossing in Sturgeon Bay, nearby Alexanders in Fish Creek, and the Waterfront Restaurant in Sister Bay. More casual dining can be found at Bayfront Restaurant in Sturgeon Bay, Joe Jo’s Pizza in Sister Bay, and Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant with its iconic goats grazing on the roof in Sister Bay.

We had a wonderful lunch at the Bluefront Café in S t u r g e o n B a y w i t h Jo n Ja r o s h , D i r e c t o r o f Communications & Public Relations at Door County Visitor Bureau. Jon is a true professional who enjoys promoting the many virtues of Door County. From cherry orchards, to lighthouses and shipwrecks, along with a wide selection of fantastic parks, museums, wineries, shops and restaurants, there is so much to do in this Wisconsin paradise.

Another place to check out is Door County Coffee and Tea in Carlsville, where coffee beans are fresh roasted daily and the food and snack selections are endless. My wife and I love the aroma of the coffee and fresh baked goods, and often stop for a snack and a cup of coffee or tea. They also have one of the best selections of local gifts in area.

Photos from left: Harbor Ridge Wine Tasting; White Gull Inn—Marc boiling off at the fish boil; Jon Jarosh with Door County Visitor's Bureau


Door County truly has so much to offer. The White Gull Inn in Fish Creek was our perfect headquarters, and we loved our relaxing time on the beautiful peninsula jutting into Lake Michigan. The perfect start to a day was dining on the Best Breakfast in America and enjoying the homey atmosphere among the historic antiques at The White Gull. Visiting some of the special wineries in the area along with water activities like boating, kayaking, swimming, or skiing on the waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan make Door County a perfect vacation destination. As we head home, we can’t help but make plans to return soon to the area the locals lovingly refer to as “The Door.”

Our beautiful world


Agricento Sicily , Italy

Picture Yourself Here Photo Essay—Cartagena, Colombia All Photos © Sharon Kurtz



Beautiful Budapest By Andrew Der Considered by many to be the Paris of Eastern Europe, and arising from the two ancient crossroad towns of Buda and Pest, Budapest, Hungary, fascinates and delights on a multitude of unexpected levels.


ounger visitors might not realize that Hu n g a r y h a s m o d e s t l y a n d v a l i a n t l y weathered two devastating world wars, Nazi occupation, the Holocaust, and an insidious postwar Soviet-facilitated regime, including a bloody 1956 revolution. Occasional and conspicuous artillery holes are left in some of the older building walls as a reminder to never forget darker times. But that's OK. Hungarians—or Magyars—want to tell you about it.

transportation. With an underground metro, commuter trains, trolleys, streetcars, and buses, one of them will surely be headed to where you want to go. Just hop on.

Start with Budapest's green heart, Margaret Island. Like a magnificent Central Park splitting the Danube River in two and accessible only by bridges at each end, this is one of the best urban parks in the world. The open space oasis still has a subtle air of residual

Having a language dissimilar to any other on the continent will not keep most from knowing some English or German. Budapest is also a historical eastwest conduit revealing a larger cultural melting pot of Slavic, Jewish, German, Austrian, Italian, Russian, Croatian, Tatar, ancient Roman, and Ottoman influences all in one place. 

Exploring the city Budapest, this writer's birthplace, is friendly and e a s i l y e x p l o r e d . Wa l k i n g to u r s a r e f u n a n d supplemented by effective and cheap public 38

Photos, top-to-bottom: City at Night, courtesy Budapest Festival and Tourism Center Nonprofit Ltd; Danube Panorama from castle

exclusiveness from the beginning of the 19th centur y, when members of the royal family transformed it into a landscape garden. Today, the entire island is off-limits to cars and includes a plethora of walking, biking, and skating pathways, riverside sunbathing, a multi-pooled outdoor public swimming and medicinal complex, picnic areas, a tennis center, and a Japanese waterlily garden.

Museum of Fine Art includes one of the largest collections of Spanish paintings outside of Spain, an antiquities section, and various 19th- and 20thcentury art.

Other premium city attractions include the Castle Hill historic district, the 1905 Fishermen’s Bastion with a spectacular city vista, and the 1849 Chain Bridge which was the city's first permanent link between Buda and Pest. Leisurely strolls will reap the benefits of breathtaking views, a rich history, and a high probability of meeting new friends.

anniversary of the Magyars’ arrival. Hungary's 1904 Parliament building is the second largest in Europe still functioning as the seat of government.

Built by the Hapsburgs in 1854, the Citadel fortress of military lore on Gellért Hill also doubles as a prime photo opportunity. Check out Heroes Square constructed in 1896 to mark the 1,000-year

Museums and more The Aquincum City ruins mark the capital of the ancient Roman Empire's province of Pannonia. Back in Buda Castle, don't miss the National Gallery, displaying one of the finest collections of art from the 13th century to the present. Need more? The Hungarian National Museum chronicles the country’s history from the Roman era to a collection of 20th-century communist posters. The


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. A somber example of this lesson is the House of Terror Museum, educating visitors about lost lives in past regimes. Afterward might be a good time to lighten up at the House of Hungarian Wines with 450 under-recognized wines from Hungary's 22 wine regions, including a tasting

Photos, clockwise from left: Fisherman’s Castle; Parliament across the Danube; Aquincum Roman Ruins; Heroes Square, courtesy Budapest Festival and Tourism Center Nonprofit Ltd

and a wineglass. The rich, red "Bull's Blood," or Egri Bikavér, is a famous favorite. My dad—who was a freedom fighter in the 1956 revolution—and I frequently shared a bottle.

Other venues The Zoo park and garden complex is a favorite getaway spot for 130 years without having to get away. Catch a musical performance at the State Opera House, Franz Liszt Music Academy, or at Buda Castle's Matthias Church. The annual Night of Museums is when culture crawlers can visit all of the participating institutions with one all-inclusive wristband.

Cafés, dance clubs, concerts, and bars are especially lively in the summer, with many staying open until dawn. Some of the most popular thrive more on word of mouth rather than advertising and entrance signage. An exceptionally unique experience is the Budapest Bath Parties, where movies, music, and dancing transform Budapest's pools and medicinal baths into a combined venue of waist-deep water. Go quirkier with a ruin pub (a repurposing of ruined old buildings into trendy bars). 

The Romans were the first to build public baths and pools followed by the 16th-century Ottoman invasions leaving some of the grandest Turkish and medicinal baths in the region. They have mineral-enriched, indoor thermal and swimming pools of various temperatures for lounging, chess games, and lap swimming amidst the original architecture. The two most famous are Rudas Gyógyfürdő and Király Gyógyfürdő. The Gellért Gyógyfürdő is part of the Gellért Hotel, featuring a bathing complex of art-nouveau décor including an outdoor wave pool and an indoor pool covered with a stained-glass skylight.

Cultural events Budapest offers numerous indoor and outdoor concerts and festivals, a favorite being the two-week-long Budapest Spring Festival. Additional opera, drama, and ballet also happen during the Budafest Summer Festival. Staged at the magnificent State Opera House, tourists and locals enjoy first-class performances at low prices. The winter season boasts the best New Year’s celebration in the city including the Franz Liszt Piano Recital Series. Check out Hungary’s own modern Woodstock on the Danube at Óbuda Island Sziget Festival drawing from all over Europe. The week-long event in August features foreign and local rock, folk, and jazz groups on multi-stages to the wee hours of the morning and camping is available. Far out, man.

St. Stephen’s Day is Hungary’s national annual event, celebrating its founding with a not-to-be-missed fireworks display over the Danube. The Danube Carnival is a gathering of both Hungarian and overseas dance groups with performances around the city. The National Jewish Festival features a spectrum of Jewish-related events in various locations. The Budapest International Wine Festival in the Castle District offers wine tastings, displays, auctions, and folk music performances. 40

Photos, from top: A friendly zoo resident; Szecheny Baths, courtesy Budapest Festival and Tourism Center Nonprofit Ltd; Basic transportation in country villages; Shoes on the Danube Bank—Memorial to Jews Executed at Riverside, courtesy Budapest Festival and Tourism Center Nonprofit Ltd

Együnk! \

(Let’s Eat!) An incredible (frightening?) degree of Hungarian social interaction revolves around food. It is impossible to visit anyone without being forced to eat and drink with them. To not do so is a deviant and catastrophic faux pas. You are not hungry? You are full? No one cares. What is this "not hungry" of which you speak? So, if visiting with someone or attending a social event, plan on eating your main meal at that time; they will be pleased. And, if it seems excessive, just know that it is some of the best and under-appreciated food in Europe.

Much of the entrée cuisine revolves around stews and soups called pörkölt and gulyás (“goulash”), utilizing whatever meat that may be handy in a sauce that universally exhibits the liberal use of the country’s primary consumable staple and export—paprika, mild and hot. The universally common chicken version is a national favorite called Chicken Paprikás. It must be served with spätzle (small dumplings) and cucumber salad. And under no circumstances confuse these with what is known as "goulash" in the U.S., which is not even close. Oh, the horror! The humanity! 

Other foods are similar to German and Polish meat and potato dishes, including an abundant choice of pork and various meat sausages with pepper, cucumber, cabbage, or squash accompaniments. Snack foods center on cold cuts, cheeses, and substantial, crusty breads, as well as the world-famous Teli salami. Don't miss the primary nonmeat street food, lángos—a deep-fried bread not unlike a kind of a savory big flat doughnut topped with sour cream, cheese, and garlic that can be digested all day in a boa constrictor-like manner. It doesn’t fool around.

Do not leave this country without sampling the cakes, pastries, and strudels. Try them with their prized espresso coffees, where tea plays second fiddle. A favorite substance of addiction is their version of a crêpe or blintz called palacsinta. This writer's favorite is filled with a sweet cheese (as in cheese Danish filling) which he has eaten in an astoundingly embarrassing amount, ending in a guilt-based shame spiral.

Make it happen

Photos, from top: Hungarian pepper assortment from author’s garden; Local ripe cherries; Spicy Fish and Paprika Soup


You can find all the how-to and contact information you need here.
 Go To Hungary
 Visit Hungary
 Visit Budapest
 Budapest by Locals

North County San Diego …beach drives and mountain destinations By Robin Dohrn-Simpson


nce you’ve been to San Diego and visited the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, (and if you have kids) Legoland, and wandered through the Gaslamp District, dined in Little Italy, strolled around the Hotel del Coronado, you just might be ready for a break from the crowds and the hustle and bustle. Now would be a good time to head up to No r t h C o u n t y. My husband and I always find it less crowded but just as charming as the more urban side of San Diego.

A n n i e ’s S l o t Canyon (San Elijo Lagoon) Slot canyons are long, narrow canyons usually formed from sandstone and limestone that one finds throughout the western USA. In Solana Beach, you’ll find San Elijo Lagoon and a clean, newly-opened Annie’s C a n y o n Tr a i l , o n c e closed to the public after years of misuse. No worries about the h i ke being too strenuous. It’s an easy, relatively flat 0.6-mile walk from the parking area. When you hit the trail head, you have a choice of two directions to get to the top. One is e a s i e r a n d d o e s n’t actually go through the slot canyon, while the other is straight up and through the slot.

Coastal North County offers a myriad if beaches, nature preserves, slot canyons, quaint harbors, whale watching, bicycle paths and lots of sunshine. You can surf, beachcomb or relax in a chair and watch the waves. Inland North County offers mountains, snow, hiking trails, and pine trees.

The canyon is very, very narrow, and requires the a b i l i t y to t a ke l a r g e upward steps (Thank heavens for my Stairmaster). There is one point where you have to climb a ladder, and another where you

Here are some places where you can enjoy a more nature-oriented side of Southern California. Annie's Slot Canyon


have to squeeze your way through the slots and push yourself up, but it’s doable, worth it, and a whole lot of fun! The incredible panorama from the top includes lagoon and ocean views.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve According to the Torrey Pines website, the natural reser ve’s motto is “land of car ved sandstone, evergreen, chaparral and spring wildflowers. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve preserves America’s rarest pine tree – the Torrey Pine.” These rare and magnificent trees used to grow in several Southern California areas, but are now only found here and on Santa Rosa Island near Santa Barbara. Nearly a million years of rising and falling seas, rains, and erosion by wind and water have gradually formed the layered sandstone terraces and cliffs, where these trees still manage to flourish. This reserve offers hikes for a variety of activity levels. If you take the high mesa hike high above the ocean on this 2,000-acre reserve, you can follow trails through wind-sculpted pines, and search for any of the 300 endangered and protected species of native plants, such as California sagebrush, California buckwheat and black sage. Views from the top are awe-inspiring.

Photos above: Sandstone Cliffs at Annie's Slot Canyon; View from the top of Annie's Slot Canyon; The Cliffs of Torrey Pines Nature Reserve


Non-hikers can drive up to the top, park and take some leisurely walks from there. Also, you can just do a beach hike without having to go up on the mountain. From the beach you can see the broken cliffs, but as a caution, avoid walking too close to the cliffs as large pieces regularly fall off. Please note: the website will provide updated information about hours of operation and trail information.

Oceanside Harbor Oceanside, the northernmost community in San Diego’s North County, is home to picturesque Oceanside Harbor. This charming quaint harbor is tucked down a hillside from the main streets of town. Here you’ll find beautiful sand beaches, sailboats, people gliding past on paddleboards along with an assortment of restaurants and shops. Once you find this little gem, you’ll know you happened on something special. The waves off the Oceanside Pier area are legendary. Take the opportunity to take a surf or paddle board lesson, rent a sailboat or at the very least, stick your toes in the ocean.

Dolphin and Whale Watching Oceanside Harbor is a great spot to catch an expedition boat and set out to catch a glimpse of the whales, dolphins, and other marine life that inhabit these waters. California Gray Whales migrate from Alaska to Mexico from December to early February and return with their babies starting in late February. Humpback Whales migrate from Mexico to central California with their calves in summer and fall. The mighty Blue Whales, the largest animal to ever inhabit the earth, can also be spotted between April and December. Dolphins live in the waters year-round. They’re often seen escorting ocean vessels, while jumping, spinning, and providing entertainment to all.

Palomar Mountain In San Diego, we can travel from the beach to the mountains in less than an hour. Going inland from Oceanside to the mountains in eastern San Diego you climb steadily through the coastal hills and eventually arrive at the 6,000-foot Palomar Mountain. Here you’ll find the famous Palomar Observatory and the famous 200-inch Hale Telescope. Tens of thousands of visitors come to experience the telescopes. If you enjoy astronomy and the history of engineering, you’ll love visiting the museum. In winter, the mountain regularly receives snow. Guided tours are also offered.

Vineyards of Wine Country San Diego County has over 115 wineries. Ramona, the rustic rambling town of Inland North County is home to approximately 36 of these. Meander through the wine country, enjoy the mountains and the acres of lovely vineyards. Bud break in spring and changing colors of fall are two exceptional times to visit. However, if you’re a wine drinker like us, then anytime of the year is perfect to visit. Whether you choose to visit North County Coastal, North County Inland, or both, these areas are blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. It’s well worth it to get off the beaten path and discover some of San Diego’s better kept secrets.

Photos (top-to-bottom): Quaint Oceanside Harbor ©Visit Oceanside; Scenic Mt. Palomar and surrounding valley; Palomar Observatory ©CalTech University; Winetasting in Ramona at Ramona Ranch Winery; Ramona Ranch Winery Tannat Vineyard


Rhinestone Cowboys Let him ride a horse. He’s a cowboy, ain’t he? ~ Nathaniel West

By Veronica Matheson


he bucking bull charges out of a narrow chute into Calgary Stampede’s main arena with a big beefy cowboy clinging to its bare back. The testosterone-fueled spectators roar a s, in the blink of an eye, the rhinestone cowboy is unceremoniously tossed off this writhing mass of muscled beast. As I watch ringside, the cowboy lands heavily on the ground while the dust settles, he lies still for seconds, then ever-so-warily pulls himself up and makes a quick departure as the crowd roars for the next cocky cowboy, with leg chaps flapping, to brave another testy bull. A rodeo clown still in the arena sensibly jumps into a wooden barrel to protect himself from the still snorting bull whose horns look ready to cause serious injury to any body part that gets in its way. Such are the thrills-and-spills at this 10-day fiesta in early July when the Calgary Stampede says “Howdy Pardner!” to a million-plus visitors to Canada’s Alberta Province for the annual extravaganza that is billed as “the greatest outdoor show on earth.’’ It lives up to the title with a cavalcade of bucking broncos, roaring bulls and charging chuckwagons that energize the spectators who favor tight denim jeans, fringed leather jackets, bold checked shirts, ten-gallon Stetsons, big metal buckled belts, and craftily embossed leather boots. Even the locals are abandoning business suits for cowboy gear as they whoop it up with screeching “Yee-haws!” It’s a swaggering spectacle for a first-timer like me, from free pancake breakfasts hot off the griddle at Rope Square to crazy carnival sideshows, then on to the main attraction – the rodeo events, before nightly hoe-downs at Western-themed bars where Big Rock beer is washed down to recordings of Canadian sweetheart Shania Twain who belts out western flavored songs.

Calgary Stampede 2020 poster


Amid much dining, dancing and glancing, I watch as a lively crowd tests their staying power – a matter of a few seconds for most - on a mechanical bucking bull, as others sample prairie oysters before discovering that this delicacy is cooked bull’s testicles.

Calgary Stampede goes back a long way, starting as an agricultural show from the 1880s until 1912 when an entrepreneurial cowboy called Guy Weadick persuaded four Calgary ranchers to bankroll a rodeo —and so the Stampede was born. These days working cowboys and cowgirls arrive from around the world—though mainly from Alberta’s rolling ranches—to compete in rodeo events that carry rich rewards running into the thousands of dollars. For many spectators like me, the chuckwagon races, when teams of harnessed horses gallop around the arena at breakneck speeds, are a highlight. The thundering hooves, rumbling wheels, and crack of king whips are reminiscent of classic Wild West movies as well as the iconic chariot dash in Ben-Hur. The Stampede is a favorite with celebrities, film stars, and Royalty. On their first international tour as a couple in 2011, Britain’s Prince William and his bride Kate were at the Stampede’s opening, a Grand Parade through Calgary’s streets as brass bands, marching Mounties, street performers, and whacky floats outdid one another. The Royal couple wore traditional white widebrimmed Stampede hats (a symbol of Calgary’s special brand of Western hospitality), and the Prince looked very much a local in a blue checked shirt and tight jeans. Macho film stars, including Tom Selleck, are Stampede regulars with Kevin Costner in town to buy his custom-made cowboy boots. But it is not all bull-dust, leather and rattling spurs as world-class artists —well-known singers and musicians—take to the stage under the stars most evenings when a nightly fireworks display caps off their performances. For a change of pace, the Elbow River Camp on the Stampede site gives visitors a taste of the traditions and culture of Canada’s First Nations people with tipis—cone-shaped tents—where artisans display intricately traditional jewelry and art that make great souvenirs. Heading home many visitors, including me, complain of “Stampede throat” after days of hollering to our heart’s content. Photos from top: Cowgirl riding at Calgary Stampede © Calgary Stampede; Cowboys in arena © Calgary Stampede; Lonesome cowboy © Bill Marsh Calgary Stampede; Chap-clad rider © Canadian Tourism Commission; Opposite page clockwise from left: Elbow River Camp © Shaun Robinson Calgary Stampede; Boot scootin' © Canadian Tourism Commission; Dusk over Stampede fairground © Christina Ryan Tourism Calgary; Chuckwagon Race © Calgary Stampede


If you go… Where: Oil-rich Calgary—the Texas of Canada—has the craggy peaks of the Canadian Rockies to the west and the rolling Canadian prairies to the east. In Alberta Province, Calgary is the fourth largest city in Canada, with a population of 1.2 million. When: This year (2020) the Calgary Stampede is July 3-12. Getting there: By air to Calgary International Airport, or by car from the United States border along the Trans-Canadian Highway or Alberta Highway 2. All international visitors must pass through Canadian customs and carry valid travel documents. Luxury train: Another option for those heading across from Vancouver is to ride the luxury Rocky Mountaineer to Banff and stay at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel which is known as “the castle in the Rockies”, before a 3-hour transfer by car to Calgary, www.rockymountaineer.com Where to stay: There is no shortage of accommodation from hotel chains to B&Bs as well as tourist ranches within driving distance of Calgary where visitors stay to take gentle trail rides into the foothills of the Rockies.


Getting around: In Calgary, the C-train, powered by electricity-generated wind farms, takes spectators right to the Stampede showgrounds. Get to know the locals: Such a friendly bunch, they encourage visitors to join them for line dancing and squaredancing events during the Stampede. Willing teachers and partners are always available. Tips: Don’t bother booking breakfast with accommodation as free breakfasts—usually flapjacks with bacon—are served from chuckwagons around town. Pack layers of clothing as Calgary is renowned for changeable weather. In summer, it can be dry, sunny, wet, windy, or cool, often on the same day. A few years back, the showgrounds flooded just before the Stampede opened, and they rebuilt it quickly so that the show could go on, as it did. Souvenirs: There’s no shortage of memorabilia, but travelers often buy cowboy boots to wear during the Stampede. Wear thick woolen socks until the boots are broken in. More: www.calgarystampede.com; www.visitcalgary.com; www.travelalberta.com;

W#d, W$, and Bea%if& A Northwest Getaway


By Mary Rose Denton iny droplets of ocean spray hit my face as I turn into the wind. I am bundled up warmly from head to toe; knit hat, quilted jacket, gloves, and warm socks inside my shiny red rubber boots.

The sun is at a quarter slant in the sky, for it has been up for hours. But we chose to rise leisurely before venturing out on this late winter morning. My partner and I have come up to Semiahmoo Resort for

a long weekend and rejuvenation get-away. Literally sitting on the edge of the Washington/Canadian border, this wild, wet, and beautiful area is a sanctuary in m home state. We don’t drive far or for hours but once we arrive, we feel transported to an easier, slower time, leaving the urban lifestyle behind. Semiahmoo means “half-moon” and references the crescent shape of the bay which surrounds this spit of land. Originally occupied by the Semiahmoo First Nations tribe, they shared much of their rich culture and lifestyle with other Salish sea tribes along the inland Northwest coast. Living off the sea provided them with a rich bounty, salmon being the biggest staple in their diet. We meander along the beach, walking our way down to what was once one of the old, salmon cannery buildings on this piece of land at the turn of the 20th century. Today, there is no longer a Cannery or a thriving fishing industry, only the buildings remain as 48

our historical reminder, for now the prosperous industry is, tourism. The building we head towards is now a historical museum, rich in tales and lore of the area and its colorful industry. As we maneuver through the sand, rocks, and driftwood, we pause occasionally to watch flocks of shorebirds land, looking for their lunch. I walk a little closer to the lapping water and let the waves od Semiahmoo bay reach out and kiss my red rubber

boots. On the horizon, I spot a couple of crabbing boats bobbing up and down, and directly over my shoulder, in the opposite direction looms the majestic silhouette of Mount Baker. There are a few cumulous clouds floating around her peak and against the steel colored sky, but her snow covered crags are brilliantly white in the filtered sunshine. A sight to behold and a constant reminder of the natural beauty found in the Pacific Northwest backyard. If I fix my gaze northward, across the bay, I look directly at the city of White Rock, B.C., truly just a leap across the pond and the 49th parallel.

Semiahmoo Cannery Historical Museum A white, utilitarian building from the outside, the Cannery Historical Museum was unremarkable, and I almost walked right by it. Pulling open its heavy door, we found by Brian Solomon, the docent and, for the next hour, our personal tour guide through the four

rooms of fishing history. His white beard and fisherman’s cap dressed him well as a descendant of a Nordic Viking or long-time captain of a sea vessel. Brian’s stories were delightful, instantly capturing my interest in an industry and a people who walked these very beaches and gazed out on the same horizon watching the sun set beyond the Salish sea. White explorers drifted in and out of this area, but it wasn’t until 1858 when prospectors came during the Fraser River Gold Rush that things began to change. They set up a trading post along the Semiahmoo spit with plans to continue further inland on their quest for striking it rich. The area never really materialized into the boomtown early settlers envisioned but it did prove lucrative. Gold may not have been found but the salmon were, by the thousands. Semiahmoo quickly became an industry fishing town, with the first cannery opening in 1881 along its shores. From this inception, many small cannery businesses began to crop up until 1894, a company by the name of

Alaska Packers Association bought out several of the moms and pops. The Alaska Packers Association transformed the Semiahmoo spit into its primary area of operations, e n l a r g i n g t h e c a n n e r y, a d d i n g w a r e h o u s e s , bunkhouses and boat-repair shops. Most of these buildings structures still exist, refurbished and resurrected into what is now the magnificent Semiahmoo Resort Lodge and Spa. As we walked around listening to Brian take us back i n t i m e to t h e e a r l y 1 9 0 0 ’s , I r e a c h e d o u t occasionally o run my hands across the heavily weighted, fishing nets and line, or trace over a processing machine with my palm. On the pine, planked walls in front of me hung black and white photos of young men pulling up nets loaded with thousands of salmon, tossing these marine giants through the air, and lining up along processing tables piled high with dead fish. Many of them migrant 49

workers, Chinese and Indian laborers working alongside burley fisherman who looked like they could be Brian’s ancestors. They all stared back at me through the frame as if to plead. “Don’t forget us.” For almost an entire century, the salmon industry pulsed as the heartbeat of Semiahmoo. In 1981, the Alaska Packers Association closed its doors and the land eventually was redeveloped for the Semiahmoo Resort and Spa which opened in 1987.

A casual Beach Resort Destination Turning off Semiahmoo parkway and driving over the hill, we saw the landscape open up to a breathtaking view of sea, mountains, and wildlife. The spit is a mile long, with the Resort and Spa sitting regally at the end of the road. Known for its premier golf course designed by Arnold Palmer, Semiahmoo is also a truly relaxing

getaway with a world-class spa, Olympic size, heated pool and fitness club. They even have Yoga and Zumba classes if walking the beach becomes blaise. In true Northwest fashion, the atmosphere is relaxed, casual, and come just as you are. The resort houses activities for everyone to enjoy, young and old, from an outdoor chess board to pickle ball to bird-watching guided tours. There are even smores cookouts by a beach bonfire in the evenings or Saturdays, join the wine tasting club for a sampling of four local and international wines. Are you a movie connoisseur? Because inside the resort is its own movie theatre with a movie run every Friday and Saturday evenings.

Photos from left: View of Mt. Baker; Shorebirds; On the pier overlooking the bay; The Semiahoo Resort & Spa

Today, the resort stands where the warehouse once stood and where there was once processing of salmon, to be canned and shipped all over the country. The main footprint of the buildings is the same, only refurbished with a new look and new life. Long gone are the days Semiahmoo was a fishing village. Today it is a four-star destination resort. But the past is not forgotten, in fact it is integrated into every aspect of the resort. Coming inside from the circular driveway, the first thing we notice is the beautiful pine wood. It is everywhere; on the beams, on the railings, even the concierge counter is made of beautiful pine woodwork. This too has been salvaged and repurposed from the original buildings which stood here, creating the feeling of a living legacy. The rustic luxury surrounding us, adds to the comfort of the lodge as we explore the various game rooms, reading areas, and eventually find our way to Packers Kitchen and Bar.

Gastronomy at Packers Keeping the area history pinnacle, Packers Kitchen is a nod to the Alaska Packers Association. In fact, hanging from the walls of this open style eatery is memorabilia from the cannery days, reminding us the past is not that distant. Packers Kitchen and Bar looks out onto the waterfront with a stunning view of Semiahmoo Bay from its floor to ceiling windows. I can’t help but wonder if any of those young men, hanging in the

museum picture frames, looked out of these same windows and felt the same sense of awe in this wild beauty, as I felt in this moment. Even here, surrounded by the clink of dishes and the din of conversation I feel the connection to this land’s past. Known for their seafood of course, is also a tribute to the heritage of this area but Packers also pays tribute to the present by using a wide array of local purveyors to source menu items. From local dairies and bread makers, to farmers and brew masters, they are keeping it local by sourcing from the artisans themselves and hand selecting products directly from their fields. These items eventually wind up as delicious gastronomic delights on our plates. Their menu is flexible with an assortment of offerings for every taste, from the standard fish & chips to woodfire pizzas. I was pleased to find many dietary options available, including Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten-free. The sister restaurant to Packers is the Great Blue Heron Grill and is inside the Semiahmoo Golf and Country club.

All Good Things Come To An End Time became fluid as we lounged by the fireside in our room, strolled the sandy shore, or relaxed after laps in the pool. Eventually, the moment came to return to our normally scheduled lives. We did so replenished and enriched with the history, the sanctity, and the beauty of this wild, raw, and watery spit at the northern most border of Washington state.

Photos clockwise from top left: View of Mt. Baker; Shorebirds; On the pier overlooking the bay; The Semiahoo Resort & Spa



Rocca Calascio, Italy




Horizons By Christine Cutler

Rocca Calascio

Rocca Calascio, Italy


Šchrisc%ler2013 occa are mountain-top fortresses used to serve the military and not nobility. Rocca Calascio sits at 4790 feet, the highest rocca in the Apennines, overlooking the town of Calascio and the high plain of Campo Imperatore.

Construction of a single watchtower began in the 10th century with the addition of four more towers in the 13th century. The stones at the base are larger than those in the towers to provide more protection from invaders. In 1461, a magnitude 7-8 earthquake badly damaged the tower and town. The town rebuilt, but the tower remains as it was then. The town built the octagonal church of Santa Maria della PietĂ near the fortress in the 17th century.


You may recognize the area as it appeared in scenes in several movies including LadyHawke and The American.

The Correfoc

Barcelona, Spain



f you happen to be in Barcelona during the month of September, be sure to take in the Festa della Mercè, a festival that honors the Virgin of Grace who saved the city from a plague of locusts. There are more than 600 events—art, parades, concerts, dances, and cultural. Included in the cultural are ancient events, the correfoc (above), the castellars (left), and the gegants e capgrossos (not pictured). Correfoc (which translates to fire runs) takes place in the streets with participants dressed as devils and monsters. Their pitchforks hold fireworks of a sort, and they swing and twirl them over the heads of the crowd. If you go, make sure you wear protective clothing because those little sparks do burn. The castellars are human towers. The base consists of hundreds of people who hold up the succeeding tiers. Towers can be as high as 10 tiers, so strength and balance are important. While adults form the bottom tiers, children “crown” the tower. 53

The Sibelius Monument

Helsinki, Finland



rected in 1967, the Sibelius Monument honors Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. More than 600 pipes of differing heights sit on a base of solid rock and resemble a a soundwave made of organ

pipes. As Sibelius was a violinist, most of his compositions were for violin, not organ. For that reason, many people criticized Eila Hiltunen’s sculpture for not effectively honoring Sibelius. Hiltunen added a bust of the composer and placed it at the base of the sculpture. Hiltunen placed a smaller version of the monument at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, and a similar one is on the grounds of the United Nations in New York City. 54

Windmill at Sunset

Oia, Santorini, Greece


indmills have existed on the Cycladic Islands since the 14th century to take advantage of the wind in the area to grind wheat and barley into flour. Many of the more than 70 windmills that existed on Santorini were both the mill and bakery. They are painted snow white, like most of the other buildings on the island to stand out against the blue sky and Aegean Sea. Today, many of the buildings still stand and are now museums, homes, or inns.


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St. Moritz

By Brigette Hasbron

St. Moritz is “…Europe's most secretive and storied ski town.’

~ Heidi Mitchell


r o m h i ke s w i t h j a w- d r o p p i n g panoramic views in the Alp Mountains to a surreal overnight stay in an authentic palace and a farm-to-table buffet in the forest, my Swiss adventure in the glamorous town of St. Moritz was nothing short of spectacular. Located 5,910 feet (1,800 meters) above sea level, St. Moritz is a lavish alpine resort town in the heart of Switzerland's Engadin Valley. Popular for its downhill skiing, this posh town has much more to offer as I discovered during my summer getaway.

A Perfect Swiss Afternoon Being a moderate hiker, I have always been captivated by the sheer vastness of the Swiss Alps. Now, here I was in St. Moritz with this majestic mountain range within my grasp. So, I took the red funicular up into the clouds to Muottas Muragi, a Swiss summit that overlooks the Engadin Valley between the towns of Samedan, St. Moritz and Pontresina. There are very few words that can do justice and adequately explain the feeling of elation 56

that overcame me when I first witnessed the panoramic beauty of these magnificent peaks—they are bewitchingly beautiful! And, leave it to the lovely citizens of Switzerland to not only build stunning hotels amongst these mountains, but to also offer several delicious eateries along the way. These are so convenient especially when a hiking break is sorely needed. As I was trying to gain my breath on this hike, I stumbled across the alpine hut, Languard. This ended up being the perfect place to indulge and take pleasure in traditional Swiss dishes and tasty libations. The views combined with the authentic meal made this hiking adventure the very embodiment of the ultimate Swiss afternoon.

A Little Rest and Relaxation For some laidback urban exploration, I discovered the main street in St. Moritz, the beautiful and uberchic Via Serlas. This retail therapy hotspot is perfect for taking in a glimpse of what affluent visitors and locals alike do when they are not hiking, golfing, or sailing. Synonymous with Rodeo Drive in Los

The red funicular to Muottas Muragl @swiss-image.ch

Angeles and the Champs Elysées in Paris, Via Serlas doesn't just offer retail indulgence but also impressive art galleries, casinos, and much more. Switzerland has a worldwide reputation for being the best when it comes to wellness. So, it was only fitting that I indulged at one of their renowned spas, aptly located in a palace no less. Known as Engadin's heaven, the Palace Wellness inside St. Moritz's luxurious Badrutt's Palace Hotel enhanced my state of wellbeing with their signature spa treatments. This was precisely what I needed without even knowing it! With stunning views of the Alp Mountains from my palatial suite, I was living out my childhood princess dream. The hotel strives to achieve perfection in ever y which way imaginable. The heightened attentiveness of the staff to meet guests' desires serves to make their stay a personalized experience. For a gourmand like me, Badrutt's various culinary selections which include classic Swiss, French, Japanese, Peruvian, and Mediterranean cuisines never failed to satisfy my insatiable passion for delectable food.


A Picnic in the Woods After a fantastic night's sleep in the palace, it was time for me to explore the Engadin Valley on an ebike. E-biking was a welcomed relief after the previous day's hike left my legs a little tender. Fresh air combined with million-dollar views of the Alps and endless green forests are sceneries I could easily get used to. Part of the day's itinerary included a stop at the Alpine Cheese Dairy, Morteratsch. This is by far is a cheese lovers' paradise! Located in what seems to be right in the middle of the forest, this picturesque alpine hut is close to the Morteratsch Glacier and a short distance from the charming mountain village of Pontresina. It’s one thing to eat and savor cheese, but it’s really something else to see how it is created from start to finish. Witnessing cheese and curds made in the traditional Swiss way over an open fire was a unique and insightful experience. I also took full advantage of Morteratsch's sumptuous brunch as they have everything you can imagine to satiate any appetite! They offer farm eggs cooked to your liking, a fresh bread selection that would make any baker proud, and the piece de resistance, an array of local cheeses

to make any food lover swoon. And did I mention, you enjoy all of these delectable treats outside on a picnic table as you take in the breathtaking sights while savoring both the Swiss food and culture? Whether you take part in their numerous outdoor activities as you enjoy the picture-perfect views of the Swiss Alps, indulge in their world-class cuisine, or pamper yourself with Switzerland's gift of wellness, St. Moritz caters to all your senses. Senses that deserve to be spoiled and taken to the next level, the St. Moritz way!

Cheese making at Dairy Morteratsch; Cheese buffet at Dairy Morteratsch; The opulent Badrutt's Palace Hotel


Hiking in the Swiss Alps @swiss-image.ch; Breathtaking hiking views of the Swiss Alps; Lunch at Alp hut Languard; Engadine Valley views

Sail Away on a Culinary Tour of Maine By Priscilla Willis

Maine sunset



f I ask you what Maine is known for, most likely, your response would be "lobster." And you would not be wrong. However, when it comes to food, Maine is also renowned for Maine blueberries, apples, oysters, potatoes, cheese, and more! I welcome you to come aboard the historic schooner J. & E. Riggin for a delightful Maine food tour at sea while you glide through the waters of Penobscot Bay and revel in the pristine beauty of Maine's rugged coastline.

Boarding the J&E Riggin The afternoon sun is high in the sky. Yet, even in August, the air in Maine has a cool caress as I stroll down the gangplank with my backpack and carryon bag bumping along behind me. Rising proudly from its dock is my home for the next four days, the historic schooner J. & E. Riggin. With sails down, the masts stand like sentinels, and the gleaming golden wood of the Riggin's deck shines in the sun. The Riggin's crew of five are busy assisting guests with their luggage and hauling supplies on board. I was assigned to berth #10 and was excited to hear that my bunkmate was none other than Chef Annie Copps, the guest chef on our culinary cruise. Cabin assignments completed, guests gathered top deck for introductions and Captain Jon's welcome talk. I marveled at the artfully presented cheese board and knew instantly that the food during our cruise was going to be incredible. Following dinner on our own in downtown Rockland, we returned to the schooner and settled in for the evening. It's easier to acclimate to boat life when it's anchored in the harbor!


About the Schooner J&E Riggin Built in 1927 as an oyster dredger, the Riggin was rebuilt and re-rigged as a passenger vessel. Chef and co-owner Annie Mahle and her husband Captain Jon Finger bought the Riggin in 1977 and began operating specialty sailing tours. The couple raised their two daughters on the Riggin and share their love of Maine and sailing with guests who join them on trips that focus on everything from lighthouses and lobsters to knitting, music, storytelling, quilting, and fall colors. The Riggin was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991 and was named "Best Windjammer Fare" in the Best of New England by Yankee Magazine. 

The Ultimate Maine Food Tour at Sea Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. All. Fantastic. Rain or shine, a scrumptious breakfast spread served on deck greeted us— all the better to breathe the salty sea air and take in the magnificent views. On day one, it was clear skies and a bountiful buffet of buttermilk pancakes and Chocolate Espresso syrup for drizzling along with fresh strawberries, oranges and peaches, and freshly baked Chocolate Banana Streusel Muffins. Breakfast is followed by reading, chatting, playing cards or board games, taking in the views, and assisting the crew with furling the sails, raising and lowering the anchor, or food prep, if you choose. Before you know it, it's lunchtime. Day one featured a Chinese Chicken Salad buffet replete with

potstickers, assorted vegetables, and condiments, making it easy to build a salad to your liking. For this special culinary tour, afternoons included a chef talk or demonstration by one or both of the Annies. One day we gathered on deck for a lively discussion on Maine foodways with both chefs. The following day, Chef Annie Copps entertained us with stories while demonstrating and educating us on knife skills. You might know of Chef Annie from PBS, but before that, she led an illustrious culinary life greatly influenced by her time with Julia Child. On day three, co-owner and chef Annie Mahle offered her expertise and knowledge on Maine lobsters gained from a lifetime spent in a lobstering community.   

The Vintage Wood Stove

Chef Annie rises at 4:30 a.m. every morning to stoke the previous night's coals and build a fire in the circa 1900s wood-burning stove that boils water for coffee and bakes the daily bread and other baked goodies that accompany each meal. I remain incredulous at the culinary magic she conjures from this burnished beauty. This magnificent stove also bakes, roasts, and braises many a main and side dish. One evening it was a fabulous roast pork loin bursting with flavors from a coffee, cocoa, and guajillo pepper rub. Recipes for 61

many of the dishes and baked goods can be found in one of Annie Mahle’s three cookbooks and, now, on her “Cooking With Annie” YouTube channel.

The Highlight: A Lobster Bake on the Beach The highlight for many guests on J. & E. Riggin tours is a traditional lobster bake on the beach. It's an allyou-can-eat feast of steak, lobster, corn on the cob, red potatoes, and fireside S' mores for dessert. We anchor near an undisturbed island surrounded by the granite rocks that line Maine's shoreline and the ship’s yawl ferries us to the island. By this time, the crew has already rowed ashore with everything that is needed and is busy preparing the crudité platter, filling the huge galvanized tub that serves as the lobster pot with seawater, gathering seaweed that serves as a lid, and starting the fire. While no trip to Maine is complete without a lobster bake, boil, or roll, I felt closer to heaven being on the water and sailing into a brilliant tangerine sunset that set the sky on fire.

Photos from opposite left are of J&E Riggin; Photos this page are of lobster bake, fresh vegetables, breads, cheeses, and more enjoyed during the cruise.

The Big Island

Beaches, Birds and Blossoms By Joeann Fossland


he Island of Hawai’i, commonly known as the Big Island, offers an amazing contrast of beautiful and desolate scenes. From its miles of black lava flow to pockets of lush, flowering areas, everything here delights the senses. In particular, I believe Hawaii’s beaches, birds and blooms make for one amazingly beautiful world!

Beaches of Hawai’i The Big Island’s beaches come in more than one color. You’ll find powdery white, rare and surprising green, and of course stark black sands. Surprising to many, much of the island has no true beaches at all, but, rather, fascinating steep cliffs and lava beds where the land meets the sea. Though beaches on the island are not private, some restrict the number of daily visitors. This simply means that you’ll want to be an early bird and get there before they’re full, especially in high season. Large Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles (called honu in Hawaiian) that live on the island often sun themselves on the beaches. They won’t stir or leave when beachgoers come walking by, but it’s important to know that they are protected. Touching or bothering them can result in a hefty fine. The white sands of Hapuna Beach State Park have been recognized as one of the ten best white sand beaches in the world. A little farther north, the cove and the Kauna'oa Beach at the Mauna Kea Beach Resort provide a fabulous place to just relax and breathe in the view and the ocean.


Photos from left: Bird of Paradise & orchids; Bird of Paradise; The Hawaiian state birds, Nene; Black lava on a white sand beach; Red-crested cardinals

Papakōlea, the island’s green sand beach, is one of only four in the world. A mineral called olivine is responsible for its color. The beach is located very close to South Point on the southernmost tip of land in the United States Many island visitors come here to check off two bucket list items—taking the 5.5-mile roundtrip moderate but picturesque hike down to the beach and seeing the must-see sparkling sands themselves. Swimming here is not recommended because of the treacherous tides. Black sand is the result of lava being pummeled into small bits, and Hawai’i boasts several of these stunning black sands beaches. At the northwest tip of the island, past the quaint little town of Hawi, Pololu Valley Beach is a fifteenminute hike down from the road. It’s helpful to have a walking stick if there’s been rain (and there often is) because the path tends to get very slippery. Easier to access, 49 Black Sand Beach is near the Mauna Lani Hotel in South Kohala. It’s important to know that sand should never be taken home from any of these beaches. Whether 63

true or not, Hawaiian legend has it that removing the sands of the island will bring bad luck.

Birds of Hawai’i Mornings are filled with bird songs as the sun creeps over the 14,000-foot Mauna Lani volcano. The island is home to birds of every color, and species that aren’t found anywhere else, making this a true birder’s paradise. Small yellow birds flitting about are not canaries, but an endangered species called `amakihi. These birds hang out in pairs and feast in the grass. The nene is the state bird of Hawai’i, descendants of the Canadian geese. An endangered species, their population had lessened to only 30 back in the1950s. Hawai’i began a captive breeding program to boost the population to the 3,000 that it is today. In my strolls around Waikoloa Village, there are a few nene pairs that let me get fairly close. They also tend to hang out near the golf course at the Waikoloa Hilton. Red breasted cardinals here aren’t large but they’re a lovely sight with their bright red heads and mostlywhite bodies. Though it’s called a type of cardinal, the bird is actually from the tanager family.

Then of course, you’ll always find hundreds of wild chickens wandering about the island.

Blossoms of Hawai’i How I love arriving in Hawai’i and breathing in its flower-scented air! And I never tire of the tradition of being presented a lei of flowers upon arrival to. It sets the tone for enjoying the spectacular flowers that are found all over the island. Each of the Hawaiian Islands has an official flower. On the Big Island it’s the red lehua that grows on the ohi’a tree. This tree is the first plant to sprout up in barren land that’s been covered over by lava. There is also a legend about this flower and Pele, the volcano goddess. On our last visit, the legend was presented in song accompanied by a hula dance at the Bamboo Restaurant. It is said that Pele was enamored by a handsome man named Ohi’a. Ohi’a turned away Pele’s advances because he was in love with Lehua. This infuriated Pele, so she transformed him into a gnarled, twisted tree. Lehua besieged the gods to change him back. So as not to anger Pele, the gods compromised by transforming Lehua into a blossom on the ohi’a tree

Photos from top left: Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle; Hilo Bay Beach; Roosters and chickens roam the island; Lehua flower on Ohia tree


so the two would be together forever. It is said that if you pick a lehua flower off its tree, it will rain soon thereafter, symbolizing the lovers’ tears at being separated. Orchids grow miraculously well in Hawai’i and you’ll find them everywhere. There’s even an orchid farm on the Hilo side of the island. And who doesn’t recognize those colorful birds of paradise that resemble singing birds with their long beaks? The lovely deep red heart-shaped anthurium is also common here and makes for a nicely cut flower in a centerpiece. Other flowers you’ll find in abundance include sweetsmelling gardenias and the picture-perfect plumeria with a host of vibrant hues. We love the lush Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden known as the “Garden in a Valley on the Ocean” just north of Hilo. The nonprofit botanical garden and nature preserve is situated on 40 acres and includes over 2000 species of plants. Hawai’i definitely surprises and delights with its’ beaches, birds and blossoms. Just some of the majesty of this amazing tropical paradise.

“Come From Away” To the of Newfoundland By Nancy Mueller

We pull together and make it happen. That’s the way it’s always been.

~ Oswald (Oz) Fudge



atch out for moose,” the customer service agent advised as he handed over the keys of our car rental. It was a refrain we would hear often on our road tripping adventure of eastern Newfoundland. Even before our arrival, our host had cautioned against driving at night, defined here as “dusk to dawn,” when the moose are most difficult to see. There was only problem —our flight arrived at 11 p.m. “No worries,” we assured the agent, but mostly ourselves. With moose in mind but none in sight, we took to the open road, proceeding slowly, scanning both sides of the highway with our lights on high beam when not overtaking other traffic and looking for warning signs along our route, as directed. We headed to the town of Gambo, a 30-minute drive south, where we would be staying for the next several days. Wild. Remote. Expansive. If what makes for a beautiful destination lies in its landscape and bountiful wildlife, and in the hearts and hospitality of its people, then Newfoundland is a travel lover’s paradise. “How do you spot Newfoundlanders in heaven?” the joke goes. “They’re the ones who want to go back.” Otherwise known as “The Rock” for the rugged, sky-vaulting rock walls along its 6,200-mile island coastline, the land has beckoned explorers from the Vikings to the English, from loggers to fishermen, throughout its storied history. Officially claimed by the English with the arrival of John Cabot in 1497, today the North Atlantic island, together with its northern mainland neighbor, Labrador, comprise Canada’s easternmost province.

Come From Away Come From Away, the award-winning Broadway musical written by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, takes place in the tiny town of Gander where 38 flights carrying 6700 passengers (“the plane people”) were diverted on September 11, 2001. In fact, Gander was exceptionally wellsuited to receive passengers. The town’s airport has long played a pivotal role in the region’s past, both at the beginning of transatlantic flight and later as a strategic refueling station for Allied aircraft in World War II. Afterwards, Gander became known as “Crossroads of the World." This story of how the small community banded together to take in planeloads of total strangers from around the world at a time of devastating loss has truly cemented its place in history.

The Kindness of Strangers Inspired to see the site for ourselves, we traveled to Gander to meet the real-life characters behind the play. For Mac Moss, Campus Administrator at the College of the North Atlantic, the first inkling that something extraordinar y had happened began when his secretary asked, “Do you have your radio on?” From the moment he learned they would be housing up to 300 of the 6,00 passengers on campus, his team and many 66

other residents rose to the occasion and sprang into action. They included a commercial cooking class of two expert chefs and 15 students, a practical nursing class with three registered nurses, and a computer lab manager. The team also tracked down language interpreters, while Moss’s wife and friends showed up with a car full of bedding, and a hotel manager in nearby Clarenville offered to bring duvets and drapes left over from a recent renovation. It seemed the entire town wanted to be part of the effort to care for “the plane people.” Eyes twinkling, community police officer Oswald (Oz) Fudge says he spotted us as “mainlanders” the moment we entered Jumping Bean Coffee. Sporting his trademark T-shirt printed with the large letters “STFD” (Slow the F#@% Down), Fudge was one of only two police officers in Gander on 9/11; the other worked nights. When asked how he and the townspeople managed to pull ever ything together for almost 7000 passengers on such short notice, he responded, “We pull together and make it happen. That’s the way it’s always been.” It’s a sentiment echoed by our host, Rose, at Gambo’s The Freshwater Inn, who commented, “Once Newfoundlanders get the word, it doesn’t

take them long to get things together.” Brian Mosher, who worked for Rogers TV on 9/11, stayed on air for five days straight, “to the point that my eyes turned black,” he said. “I would never go out and just shovel my own driveway without shoveling my neighbor’s, too. That’s just what you do.” Our Come From Away journey continued in nearby Appleton at the home of Derm and Dianne Flynn who invited us to join them for a dinner featuring Newfoundland food favorites. Dishes served included cod au gratin (known in the musical as “fish and cheese”), touton (a pancake-like fry bread), and for dessert, a choice of cloudberry (also known as bakeapple), partridgeberry or blueberry tarts. On 9/11, Derm was Mayor of Appleton, where some of the 6,700 passengers were housed, even in their own home. “We needed to shelter, feed, and clothe them,” he said. “But the one thing that everyone needed most was love, a hug, and someone to listen to them.” Local resident, Beulah Cooper, knows a thing or two about hugs. Upon greeting her at her home, she smiled, “I don’t do handshakes, just hugs.” The mother of a firefighter son, Aubrey, who sadly died in 2017, Cooper shares how she took in the O’Roarks on 9/11 while they waited for news of their own son, a firefighter in New York City. “I just tried to ease their burden,” she says. Cooper and Hannah have since become best friends, traveling the world for the musical openings, causing Cooper to muse, “Who would have thought that a tray of sandwiches that I do all the time got me here?” She added, “To this day, Hannah never hangs up the phone without saying ‘I love you.’” Screech-In Tradition With Cooper’s encouragement, I’m proud to say we ended our stay in Gander as honorary Newfoundlanders, having succumbed to the local “Screech-In” tradition. Also called “Kissing the cod,” mainlanders are invited to respond to the question, “Is ye a Screecher?” by saying “Deed I is, me old cock, and long may your big jib draw!” (This is translated as “Indeed, I am, my friend, and may there always be wind in your sails!”) With a kiss of the cod and a shot of Screech rum, our Newfoundland road trip adventure was complete. For more information, visit https://www.newfoundlandlabrador.com/.


Delighting in Denver's Breathtaking Botanic Gardens and its Docent-Led Tours By Sharon Kurtz

Water in the Monet Pond, courtesy Denver Botanic Gardens


Denver, Colorado’s captivating climate with 300-plus days of sunshine and low humidity is an ideal reason to visit the MileHigh City in any season. 69


allas, Texas, is my hometown, and when temperatures inch up towards the 100-degree mark, Colorado is my favorite place to be. Renowned for its natural beauty, summertime in Colorado is all about celebrating and enjoying the great outdoors.

I am never happier than when I’m enjoying the beauty and serenity of a well-tended garden (though with none of the work). That’s my idea of a perfect day. A 24-acre sanctuary located in the heart of the city,the Denver Botanic Gardens is considered one of the top five botanic gardens in the nation. And it’s easy to understand why.

3 reasons why you need to go to Denver Botanic Gardens 1 It's entertainment for everyone. A reasonable admission fee allows you to enjoy an entire day at the gardens. From the iconic dome of the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory to the Rock Alpine Garden, the Botanic Gardens is an iconic Denver highlight. With its 43 unique spaces and rotating exhibits, there is always something new to see. One of the most beautiful sites is the Japanese Tea Garden with its fascinating Bonsai Pavilion. Strolling through the water gardens that feature serene water lilies and then lingering for refreshments at the Hive Garden Bistro nestled under the trees adjacent to the Monet Pool is immensely enjoyable.

2 There is an area of interest for all ages. Mordecai Children's Garden is a place for children and families to explore plants and the natural world through hands-on experiences and play. A variety of authentic natural materials in this Garden al low children to use their imagination and a sense of wonder to create their own connections with plants. The Gardens feature world-class art exhibitions, events and educational opportunities for the whole family. Guests can even check the Garden's event calendar in advance for special exhibits and shows. 3 Access to Unique Plant Collections and Varieties. The unrivaled collection of plants and the opportunity for visitors to get a close-up look at an unusual plant species is at the heart of every botanical Garden. The distinctive Gardens of the West include 18 arid gardens that showcase plants that thrive in Colorado's unique highaltitude climate and geography.

Dedicated Volunteers in the Gardens Volunteers are an essential part of the Denver Botanic Gardens, fulfilling the mission of 70

connecting people with plants. Every year, more than 2,000 volunteers donate their time in every area of the Gardens, including free, docent-led tours. I had the pleasure of joining docent guide John Retrum on a journey through Colorado's native trees. As we stroll through the Gardens of the West, John asks our small group of visitors “Do you know besides being beautiful that aspen trees also have a function? If you run your hands along an aspen trunk and then rub your face and arms, the powdery white substance acts as a natural sunscreen." He continued to imparted fun facts during a 30minute tour pausing at a native Bristlecone Pine where he shared that scientists believe the species might be the longest living plant in the world.

Giving Back to the Gardens At the tour's conclusion, John revealed he’s been a member of the Botanic Gardens for 40 years, and became a docent 3 years ago. He added that after retiring from a legal career with the U.S. Department of the Interior, he was searching for a meaningful and fulfilling way of giving back to the Botanic Gardens.

Clockwise from left: The Romantic Monet Pool, courtesy Denver Botanic Gardens; Rock Alpine Garden, courtesy Denver Botanic Gardens; Guests at the Denver Botanic Gardens, courtesy Denver Botanic Gardens; Bill Hosokawa Bonsai Pavilion & Tea Garden, courtesy Denver Botanic Gardens; Docent John Retrum; Docent John Retrum sharing with guests; Serenity in the gardens, courtesy Denver Botanic Gardens; Steppe Garden, courtesy Denver Botanic Gardens; Below: Water Reflections, courtesy Denver Botanic Gardens

If you go:

"To me” says John, “there is something about Mother Nature that is so calming. There is nowhere I would rather be than right here. From the beginning, the two to three days a week I spend at the gardens are a joy – people want to be here and are so appreciative to learn more about plants." John says his docent training required nine months of classroom instruction, designing his own tour as well as learning botanical names of all the plants. He emphasized that becoming a docent requires a commitment, and that not everyone finishes the program. He mused that his life has become so much richer since becoming a docent and that every day the gardens unfold revealing new life. To me, one of the best reasons to visit a garden is to simply slow down and reconnect with the natural world. The Denver Botanic Garden is just that. Relaxing, inspiring, and educational, it’s a most delightful way to spend a day.

A stately and distinguished National Landmark, the I am reminded of a quote from John Muir, America's most famous and influential naturalist Patterson Historic and conservationist who said “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he Inn is a great choice seeks.” of accommodations. Centrally located in the How very true. heart of Denver’s Capitol Hill’s “Millionaire’s Row,” it is within walking distance to several museums and the RiNo Art District. For more information about the Denver Botanic Gardens, including admission and daily schedule, and special events. For a link to things to do in Denver visit: denver.org A Mile-High Culture Pass includes a 3day admission to some of the city’s most fascinating cultural attractions.


Meet Tom Kerpon, Executive Chef at Julia–A Spirited Restaurant & Bar at La Posada de Santa Fe

Photos from left: Patio at La Posada de Santa Fe; La Posada de Santa Fe; Julia Restaurant at La Posada de Santa Fe. All photos courtesy of La Posada de Santa Fe.

By Janie Pace


had the pleasure of meeting Tom Kerpon, executive chef of the culinary scene at Julia Spirited Restaurant and Bar at La Posada de Santa Fe, a Tribute Portfolio Resort and Spa, when he served a delicious appetizer at the Taste of Santa Fe, an event held at the convention center for the International Food Wine Travel Writing Association (IFWTWA) last November. Over the past two decades, Chef Kerpon has enhanced his epicurean skills at some of the most renowned resorts, hotels, and restaurants in Santa Fe and across the country including Bishop’s Lodge Resort, Inn of the Anasazi, La Chama, and the Hotel Crescent Court in Dallas, Texas.

Julia–Spirited Restaurant and Bar Julia–Spirited Restaurant and Bar retains touches of the 19th-century flair for which the original Staab mansion was famous. Julia Staab, an elegant Santa Fe socialite, was the wife of Abraham Staab, a wealthy merchant who built the three-story brick mansion in 1882 on the property that now belongs to the resort. They lived there with their seven children until Julia’s death at age 52. There have been numerous sightings of Julia’s ghost, a woman in a black Victorian dress. She loved her home so much, they say, that she never left it.

As a second level sommelier, Chef Kerpon enjoys pairing wine with food at Julia. Some of the chef ’s famous dishes include Roasted Rack of New Zealand Lamb, Pan Seared Diver Scallops, or Blue Corn Dusted Idaho Ruby Trout. Each plate has a suggested wine selection that Chef Kerpon chooses.

Julia’s Social Club, the Staab House Bar, and La Posada Julia’s Social Club is a new tapas bar sharing small plates from the award-winning Chef Kerpon. Sip specially selected wines from Spain, Portugal, and South America plus a wide selection of mescals, tequilas, and local craft beers. The Staab House Bar, Travel + Leisure Magazine’s coziest bar in Santa Fe, offers some of the city’s most creative cocktails in a warm setting with both patio and fireside seating. La Posada, a stop on the Santa Fe Margarita Trail features the Juliarita, named for Julia Staab. The drink combines homemade apricot liqueur infused with tequila made from apricots still grown on a tree planted by Julia in the 1880s.

The Juliarita ½ oz homemade apricot liqueur infused with tequila 1 ¼ oz El Tesoro Platinum de Don Felipe 100% Blue Agave Tequila ¼ oz Cointreau Juice of one whole lime. Apricot wedge from Julia’s apricot tree, initially planted in the 1880s. Shake and serve 72

Photos from left: Chef Tom Kerpon; Brick Half Chicken with Saffron Spaetzle, Pearl Onions, Sauteed Kale and Pan Jus, courtesy of Julia Restaurant; Apricot glazed pork, courtesy of Julia Restaurant

Chef Tom Kerpon Answers Our Questions An active community participant, Chef Tom Kerpon serves on several boards, including his pastpresident role at the Santa Fe Wine and Chili Fiesta. The James Beard House in New York recently featured the Julia culinary team. What was your first experience in the cooking industry? My first restaurant was Ken’s Pizza in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when I was 15. I never thought I would be a restaurant guy. Describe your background and your start as a chef. I have a B.A. from the University of Texas, and one of my first jobs was a middle school history teacher, where I quickly became disillusioned. I knew a Chef in Dallas and told him I would do anything for any amount of money if I could work in his kitchen. He took me at my word.


How can having a passion for cooking and being in the right place make all the difference in your food style? Timing is everything, but if you are using the right ingredients, and using clean cooking techniques, you can be successful anywhere. Describe you, the chef, and your restaurant’s food style. My style is unabashedly Southwestern, adding influences from the rest of the world. When you v i s i t S a n t a Fe , y o u m u s t s a m p l e t h e s e Southwestern-style dishes. How are you growing the future business at your restaurant? Our monthly wine pairing dinners have become a big hit. You can’t cook without wine. I also feature craft beer dinners and spirit dinners by being good neighbors and reaching out to the locals.

In your training, which chef or chefs have influenced you most? Jim Mills, who is famous for his Southwestern Caesar Salad, created as the chef de cuisine at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, James Rowland, executive chef at the Crescent Court, and Randall Warder, an executive chef at Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas.

What are the highlights of your career? I have survived in this business for 35 years. The food should be delicious and fun.

My fourth influence was Dean Fearing, the “Father of Southwestern Cuisine,” who originally spent 20 years at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, and now runs Fearing’s Restaurant at the Ritz Carlton, Dallas. Fearing wrote the famous book “The Texas Food Bible” in 2014.

Julia Events include wine and cheese tastings on Wednesdays. On Friday afternoons, you can partake in a chef ’s reception followed by a 45minute art and history tour throughout the hotel.

Tell us about La Posada de Santa Fe. La Posada continues to be famous in Santa Fe for great food and drinks, memorable weddings, special wine dinners, and ghosts.

Fall into the Autumn Colors of Ashland, Oregon and the Rogue Valley By Cori Solomon

Dancin Vineyards View


all colors make Ashland Oregon, and the Roque Valley wine region are aweinspiring and a place to either dream of visiting or to place on your bucket list of places to visit. Such was the case when I visited the area last fall. Nature is in its glory at that time of the year, but for someone that lives in Los Angeles and rarely observes the colorful display, autumn brings forth with its orange, red and yellow hues engulfing you in its magnificence. From the center of Ashland, to a stroll in Lithia park, or just looking out my hotel window on the 8th floor, the magnificent colors of fall resounds everywhere. Beyond Ashland, the hues permeate the vineyards in a glorious welcome to harvest.

Ashland History Ashland is located at the southern end of the Roque Valley and lies just south of Ashland Mountain and about 16 miles north of the California border. First settled in the 1850s and later incorporated in 1874, its historical roots take us back to a time when gold was discovered. Two men Abel Helman and Eber Emery came across from Ashland, Ohio, to try their hand at 74

mining for gold. When their gold fever turned sour, they decided to set up a lumber mill along the Lithia River. Soon after, they also opened a flour mill. With the opening of these two mills, the town became known as Ashland Mills. 

Ashland is known for its Lithia Springs, the healing thermal waters. The big joke is that locals love to indoctrinate new tourists, enticing them to sip water at the fountains located in the plaza. Look forward to a mouthful of bubbly sulfa. I gagged as people around laughed. The Lithium Oxide in these waters gave both the park and the creek that runs nearby its name.

The Rogue Valley The Rogue Valley encompasses the three towns of Medford, Ashland, and Grants Pass. It lies along the Rogue River and its tributaries. With the Cascade Mountains on the east, the Siskiyou Mountains on the north, the valley is separate from the sea by the Southern Oregon Coast Range. The weather is mild, making it an ideal spot to grow grapes.

Photos clockwise from left: View from the vineyards; Irvine & Roberts Wines; Quady North Tasting Room; Ashland Plaza; Lithia Fountains

The Rogue Valley AVA was established in 1991 as part of the Southern Oregon AVA. Three regions define this AVA, Bear Creek Valley and the Illinois Valley and Applegate Valley, which is a sub-AVA of the Rogue Valley.

Roque Valley Wineries To get the full autumn vista, one must visit some of the wineries or enjoy one of the tasting rooms charming historic district of Jacksonville, known to have the first Chinatown in Oregon during the gold rush.

Dancin Vineyards The winery that personifies autumn is Dancin. Perhaps this is because the wineries name best describes the scene as the foliage dances with color and splendor. The winery is one of the most spectacular to see any time of the year, but especially in the fall. Dan and Cindy Marco's passion for wine permeates every aspect of the winery. It is a very romantic spot, captivating the visitor's senses through the scenery, wine, and culinary delights oered.

Irvine & Roberts For those who love Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, a visit to Irvine & Roberts gives one the perspective of fall with its view of the mountains that create the Rogue Valley. Looking out across the valley, one sees what makes this winery the perfect location to nurture Pinot and Chardonnay. You cannot leave without sampling their Pinot Mineure, which is the most outstanding you will ever taste and my favorite.

Cowhorn Moving away from the country feel, the stark modern white lines of the winery tasting room 75

exemplify the clean-cut biodynamic methods that owner and winemaker Bill Steele incorporates into his winegrowing program. The fall at Cowhorn ingratiates the true beauty of the Applegate Valley.

Weisinger Find one of the oldest wineries in the area, this family-run winery now in its 2nd generation under the helm of winemaker Eric Weisinger. His minimalist approach lets the fruit speak for itself and the terroir.

Quady North Discover another winery, which places its emphasis on minimal handling of grapes and small-lot production with a focus on Rhone blends and varieties. Also, try Quady North Cabernet Franc. Troon. Another one of old-time wineries, Troon, has reinvented itself with a change of ownership and the addition of General Manager, Craig Camp. Today, Demeter Biodynamic and Organic Certified defines the winery's new approach to the winemaking process in the Applegate Valley. They also produce biodynamic cider from the 20 varieties of apples that grow on two acres of the property.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Started in 1935 by Angus Bowmer, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has grown into one of the classic draws of Ashland. People come yearly to see plays that run from Shakespearian to modern drama. Patrons make the trek every year to see several of the eleven plays oered each year. For those visiting in the autumn, the open-air theater allows one to smell the season as you watch the drama that unfolds before you. Typically the season runs from February

Photos clockwise from left: Autumn in Lithis Park; Lithia Springs Resort; Ashland Springs Hotel; Oregon Shakespeare Festival Theaters; Amuse Restaurant

to November. The complex consists of three theaters situated near Lithia Park.

to resorts that take advantage of the Lithia water for mineral baths.

Do not miss a backstage tour highlighting the essence of Ashland's most popular attractions.

Ashland Springs Hotel

Fall Dining in Ashland The restaurants of Ashland exemplify the fall colors and fruits of its harvest with many eclectic choices to tempt your palate. Amuse: It begins with the rust colors of the grapevines that climb the walls of the restaurant building announcing the harvest menu that this restaurant offers. From a Kale Caesar salad to the signature grilled prawns, the menu delivers the fruits of the season. Chef Erik Brown mixes Pacific Northwest Cuisine with a bit of French flair. Larks Restaurant: Situated at the Ashland Springs Hotel, this restaurant offers New American Cuisine with a French twist. Even the décor of the restaurant speaks of fall. Alchemy: Located in a charming Victorian-style Bed & Breakfast, Winchester Inn is a romantic place to dine in the fall. The restaurant's philosophy defines the restaurant. At its center, the endeavor takes common food elements and transforms them into something great. Peerless: Located in the heart of the railroad district, Peerless is a contemporary neighborhood eatery featuring Pacific Northwest meets New American Cuisine from Chef Harlan Brooks.

The Perfect Autumn Accommodation Ashland is filled with many types of accommodations from the B & B to historic hotels 76

The Ashland Springs Hotel is not only the oldest hotels in Ashland, but it also represents the tallest building in Ashland. The hotel lies in the center of town has been known as the Lithia Springs Hotel, Lithia Hotel, and, most recently, the Mark Antony Hotel. Dating back to 1925, the hotel initially featured 100 rooms. Today the hotel owned by Doug and Becky Neuman includes 70 rooms. While listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1978, its architecture combines a bit of gothic, Beaux-Arts, and Arts and Crafts with a leaning towards Art Deco.

Lithia Springs Resort The Lithia Springs Resort is also owned by the Neuman's but offers quite a different experience. Each room is reminiscent of a condo with its fresh, clean interiors and Cape Cod styled exterior. I found lovely gardens to meander through, and most of the rooms include a lithia spa. It is the perfect way to come off a day of wine tasting and relax in the mineral waters.

NOTE: The Oregon Shakespeare festival canceled its 2020 season but will return in 2021. Wineries will open soon with new protocols and by reservation only.

Our beautiful world


McArthur-Burney Falls Shasta County, California

Exploring America’s Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri


ucked into the rolling hills of the Ozark Mountains, Lake of the Ozarks covers more than 54,000 acres and winds along 1,150 miles of shoreline. In fact, Lake of the Ozarks, located in the heart of Missouri, with scenic coastline and a moderate climate, has more coastline than California’s Pacific Coast. If you’ve ever seen Ozark on Netflix, then you probably have a preconceived notion of what this area of the world is like. But, if you left it at that, and decided never to visit or explore, you’d be missing out on so much that is engaging and unique in this area of the Midwest.

Our Mother Daughter Trip Through Central Missouri My younger daughter and I arrived in Lake of the Ozarks after spending a couple of days in Columbia, Missouri. We flew into St. Louis direct from Detroit, Michigan and then we picked up a car and drove. After touring Columbia for two days and sampling their flourishing food and wine scene, fueled by the college population, we took a quick drive to Lake of the Ozarks. Lake of the Ozarks, one of the world’s largest manmade lakes, is known as America’s fun lake, and we were keen to see if that was true.

What to Do in Lake of the Ozarks Lake of the Ozarks is well known for outdoor sports and we tried many new ones here. From spelunking to bass fishing, riding in a helicopter for a tour and finally 78

Fun Lake

By Paula Schuck learning to golf, my sporty 15-year-old daughter was in her glory. This proved to be a brilliant spot for a mother-daughter road trip.

World Class Bass Fishing Bass fishing with Big Ed topped our list of most enjoyable activities at the lake. We caught five bass fish! That was a first for me as I am not really an angler at all. Ainsley, my daughter, 15, finds fishing hypnotic and she could have spent all day on the lake casting and reeling the line back in. After a couple of hours fishing, we drove back up the steep ramp outside Ed’s home on the lake and headed straight over to Lake Ozark Helicopters for a 20-minute aerial tour of the vacation destination.

Helicopter Tours Our first ever helicopter tour was sensational and so much smoother than I ever imagined. No need for nerves on this ride. Also, what an amazing way to see the coastline!

Bagnell Strip Historic Bagnell Strip has a vintage beach strip vibe. Get your souvenirs here for people back at home. There are many great restaurants up and down the strip. Stewart’s is known for breakfast and they have some of the world’s biggest cinnamon rolls. It took two of us two days to finish one of their cinnamon rolls.

Bridal Cave On day two, we headed to Bridal Cave and Thunder Mountain Park. Tours are offered throughout the day

and as soon as you see the caves, you’ll understand why people often book their weddings and vow renewals there. The day was slightly overcast and threatening rain, so caves seemed logical and sheltered in the event of a downpour.

the loveliest natural assets in the area. Both spots were educational, but not in an obvious way that can be offputting to kids or teens. If you visit, you can’t help but absorb the history of the area and that’s always worthwhile.

The caves of the Ozarks are estimated to be one to two million years old. Bridal Cave is an active, growing cave, ever changing slowly over time.

Golfing at Old Kinderhook

Centuries ago the Osage Indians discovered Bridal Cave beneath Thunder Mountain. Many unique features make Bridal Cave in Lake of the Ozarks both fun and educational. Over 2,128 couples from around the world have exchanged vows inside Bridal Cave. This natural treasure was deemed protected in the late 1940s after decades of exploration. Inside the drapery room, you’ll find indoor stalactites and stalagmites that make the focal point appear as if it is a giant organ. Follow the guide to the end to a tiny clear body of water called Mystery Lake. Touch nothing, because it is easily damaged.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park At Ha Ha Tonka State Park, you will find the ruins of a 1900s castle and estate, a stunning backdrop for any photos you take. park too. Prominent Kansas City businessman Robert McClure Snyder had the castle built by Scottish stone masons. It was to rival European architecture of the time, but fire destroyed much of the property in 1942.

Before leaving Old Kinderhook, we both took our first-ever golfing lesson with a pro. My daughter showed me up yet again, as she does at most sports. But I learned enough about stance and form to realize golf is a sport I could genuinely enjoy.

Where to Stay We stayed two nights at Old Kinderhook and headed off to explore the area from the very comfortable base. Old Kinderhook is right on a golf course, luxurious and family friendly. In fact, if golfing is your thing, or you really want to take lessons, then you are in the right spot. If you prefer something more intimate, you could stay at Big Ed’s family business, Bass and Baskets Bed and Breakfast. Book a fishing tour, too, of course. From the moment we arrived in Lake of the Ozarks to the second we left, we were physically engaged with the outdoors. Lake of the Ozarks makes a stunning backdrop for new memories, whether you are spelunking, learning to golf, catching bass fish, hiking, or riding in a helicopter. If you have a sporty teen who loves to travel, Lake of the Ozarks will be a hit.

Bridal Cave and Ha Ha Tonka are two of my favourite reasons to visit Lake of the Ozarks. They are two of Photos from opposite left: The Ozarks, ©Rachel Rinehart; View of Old Kinderhook; View of Lake of the Ozarks from the air; Author & her daughter waiting to golf; The Ozarks in spring ©Rachel Rinehart; Hahatonka Castle


Adelaide to Melbourne~ Journey on Australia’s Overland Train By Robyn Nowell


ll aboard!” were the words we had been waiting to hear as we patiently stood on the platform in the early morning light. We stowed our bags in the luggage carriage and handed in our boarding passes.

Taking a trip down memory lane, dozens of fellow travelers and I were about to embark on The Overland Train, journeying 860 kilometers from Adelaide, South Australia, to Melbourne, Victoria. Whilst I frequently travel by rail when visiting Europe and the USA, train travel in my homeland seems to be something I relegate to just a memory. Our lives have become increasingly busier as each year passes, and with air travel so convenient, we are always in a rush to get to our destination in the quickest way possible. I decided to spend an entire 11 hours to complete a journey that would be take just one-and-a-half hours had I travelled by air. The Overland Train operates between Adelaide and Melbourne four times a week, twice in each direction. The journey is during mostly daylight hours, depending on the time of year, of course, to take advantage of the ever-changing diverse landscape. On this trip, our journey began early in the morning with a 6:45 a.m. start. Our carriage host, who obviously loved her job and knew many of my fellow travelers by name, greeted us. I travelled Red Premium class, the equivalent of first class. The seat was an oversized armchair seat that sat single file against the window. One side of the aisle has two seats, and the other has a single row. I felt it would be extremely disappointing to not have a view. Right on time, we chugged out of Adelaide Parklands Station and through the city of Adelaide. During these first few minutes, Judy, our host, explained all we needed to know about our next 11 hours. She provided us with menus, and it was time to order our breakfast and lunch choices. A mug of tea arrived, a decent large china mug (no takeaway cardboard cups on this journey), perfectly brewed just as our train climbed through the beautiful Adelaide hills. I was delighted to be on the right-


Photos from top: The Overland Train; The Overland Train logo; Mama and baby emu in the Outback courtesy getstencil.com

“I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, Of rugged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains. I love her far horizons, I love her jewel-sea, Her beauty and her terror—the wide brown land for me!" ~ Dorothea Mackellar

hand side of the train as it provided clear views, through the bush, over the city skyline, off to the Sea of Bass Straight. Traveling through the lush bush, we experience a mixture of mallee scrub and fields of green and gold. We sighted dusty roads, the magnificent Murray River, dried riverbeds, wheat fields and vistas of homesteads in the distance, and original cottages of railway workers close to the tracks. Train travel is a very different scene from the usual hustle and bustle of airports and aircrafts, and a relaxed atmosphere settled upon us all very quickly into the journey. We made ourselves comfortable in our seats. Many travelers took out books to read, some of us had our cameras at the ready. We all waved madly to those pedestrians we passed—parents with their children standing by the tracks, photographers set up strategically at road crossing to get that perfect photograph. At times when we travelled parallel to the road, drivers and their passengers gleefully returned our enthusiasm to acknowledge each other with a wave. The rail journey between Adelaide and Melbourne began as the Adelaide or Melbourne Express, depending on your destination in 1887 and were originally equipped with ‘sleeper’ carriages called the ‘Opulent Mann Boudoir’ cars. The name ‘The Overland’ was taken on in 1926. Throughout the train’s history, there have been Pullman Carriages, dining cars, and sleeping cars. The Overland was privatized in 1997 and now has only seater carriages—two classes Red class and Red Premium—with slightly larger seats and meals included. Paying tribute to Australia’s native birds, the original logo featured a Kookaburra. The current logo features an emu. Also native to Australia, the emu is on Australia’s national coat of arms. Emu cannot fly and cannot walk backwards, so it is seen as always moving forward and looking to the future. The Overland is popular with tourists as it provides comfortable seats with plenty of leg room, a buffet car, and commentary provided as it enters each town and any other noteworthy sights along the way. It is also a lifeline for the small communities in country South Australia and Victoria. Elizabeth, who was seated behind me, travels every fortnight into Adelaide for medical treatment. The crew of the Overland welcomed her and other regulars like beloved family members. Sadly, the future of the Overland is in doubt due to funding. Should the railway cease to exist, it will be a great loss to all travelers, no matter their purpose.

Photos from top: The Australian Bush; Murray Bridge Station; views cross the dry riverbeds


The Overland is a wonderful experience and well worth the 11-hour ride. The time passed very quickly, and it seems I had barely finished my afternoon tea of scones and tea before we were travelling through the suburbs of Melbourne. We arrived just a few minutes late at Southern Cross Station right in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. The Overland rail is operated by Journey Beyond Rail.

Islands~A Retrospective by Debbra Dunning Brouillette

Tobago Cays Grenadines Aerial


lue ocean waters and white sands have always fascinated me, even though I grew up in a small town in the Midwest on the banks of the Ohio River. My family vacationed in various parts of Florida most of my growing up years and during college, I spent two summers working in seafood restaurants near the beach.

Jamaica, my very first island destination. It’s where I snorkeled for the first time, which led to becoming certified to scuba dive. That fed my passion for continuing to visit islands where I could explore the underwater world as well as the islands themselves.

I feel we are all islands in a common sea.

After that first Jamaica trip, other Caribbean island trips in the 1990s followed — to Providenciales, one of eight inhabited islands I’ve since put my toes in the sand on nearly in the Turks and Caicos; San Salvador, one of 50 islands, islets, and coastal destinations in 30 inhabited islands in the Bahamas; Grand the U.S., Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, South Cayman, largest of the Cayman Islands; ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh America and the South Pacific, and my Bonaire, the “B” in the “ABC” islands of the wanderlust for islands continues. former Netherlands Antilles; St. Croix, one of the three main U.S. Virgin Islands, and St. Lucia, West In keeping with the theme of this issue, “Our Beautiful Indies, in the eastern Caribbean. World,” I’m looking back at some of the islands I’ve visited since 1990, when I spent a week at an all-inclusive in


After the turn of our new century, the 2000s, my island travels continued with a bit of a difference. Life changes happened— a divorce—but I was not about to let that put a damper on my tropical travels! I booked a singles cruise aboard Windjammer Barefoot Cruises’ three-masted sailing ship, Yankee Clipper, in 2002, which allowed me to experience another part of the Caribbean. The cruise began and ended in Grenada, at the southern end of the Grenadines island chain. Our ship dropped anchor near Carriacou, and several other islands — Mayreau, Union Island, Bequia, and St. Vincent. The following year, Windjammer offered another singles cruise on the four-masted schooner, Polynesia, which left from the Dutch side of the dual nation island of St. Maarten/St. Martin. (I stayed on St. Martin—the French side—after the cruise.) We sailed to St. Barth’s, St. Kitts, Nevis, and back to Anguilla before disembarking in St. Maarten. Windjammer filed bankruptcy at the end of 2007, but a couple of its ships were later purchased and continue to sail under new names. On those two cruises, I fell in love with small ship cruising and have since returned to several of the islands. By the end of 2004, I’d met my future husband, who at my encouragement also became scuba certified. We took our

Photos clockwise from top left:Star Clippers Caribbean cruise; Four Seasons Bora Bora View; Fiji giant clam; Fiji—Vomo Private Island Beach


first tropical trip together to Palm Island, a private island resort in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We honeymooned at an all-inclusive in Cozumel, Mexico, in 2006, and continued to vacation on the islands of Tortola, British Virgin Islands, in 2007; Curacao (another of the ABC islands in the Netherlands Antilles) in 2008, and Nevis, sister island to St. Kitts in the West Indies in 2009. In 2009, I brought my two decades of experience with island travel to the Internet, authoring a tropical travel column for a now-defunct site, Examiner.com. I wrote about hotels and islands where The Bachelor and Bachelorette had stayed on the ABC television reality shows, among other things. That led to my being invited on a press trip to Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora in 2010, to “follow in the footsteps of the Bachelorette,” which had just ended its season there. After successfully pitching the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram on the idea, I was accepted as a participant, and so began a decade of tropical travels to destinations I had only dreamed of visiting.

2011 Travels The following year, I traveled to several new Caribbean islands and revisited two, which were included on the itinerary of a Star Clippers Caribbean cruise, embarking from Barbados. They included St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, Martinique, Iles des Saintes and St. Kitts.

In October, I was able to travel to the Fiji Islands in the South Pacific, again on a quest to follow in the footsteps of the Bachelorette.

are major nesting sites for leatherback turtles. On Trinidad, I was able to observe a large leatherback deposit her eggs in the sand before returning to the sea.

My press group and I were able to stay on three different islands in the chain, including Viti Levu and Venua Levu, ending on Vomo, a private island resort in the Mamanucas chain, where the Bachelorette TV show ended its season. Of note: Several recent seasons of Survivor have been filmed in the Mamanucas.

2014~USVI and The Med My first trip in 2014 was to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, known as a scuba diving destination. I was able to join other divers on boat, shore and night dives. What a heavenly assignment!

2012~The Most Traveled Year 2012 was undoubtedly my most traveled year yet. Even now, it’s mind-boggling as I look back on it all. I began the year with a trip to Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys in January where I was able to interact with bottlenose dolphins at the on-site Dolphin Connection. In early May, I was the only American among a group of international bloggers to be invited to Tenerife, largest of the Canary Islands. The Spanish archipelago is located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of mainland Morocco. In June, I was invited to Riviera Maya, Mexico, to explore the Mayan ruins at Tulum and Coba during the time of the Summer solstice. It was the year the Mayan calendar ended and when the Mayans predicted the world would end. Thankfully for all of us, it didn’t! In August, I experienced more “pinch-me” moments on a trip to the Galapagos Islands, which are a part of Ecuador, located about 600 miles off its coast in the Pacific Ocean. I joined other travel writers on a 20-passenger Ecoventura yacht to photograph and walk among endemic species I never thought I’d be able to see in real life. Blue-footed booby birds, Sally Lightfoot crabs, Galapagos sea lions and land tortoises…it was National Geographic come to life! The following month, my husband accompanied me to Kauai, the Garden Isle, in the Hawaiian Islands, for a romance-themed press trip. What a fabulous year!

2013- Year of the Caribbean The year 2013 included travels to white sand beachy destinations—Anguilla (near St. Maarten), Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, and Tobago, part of the dual island nation of Trinidad and Tobago—and two others dominated by volcanic, black sand beaches—Dominica and Trinidad. Both


Later that year, my husband joined me for a Star Clippers cruise in the Mediterranean. We sailed from Mallorca, one of Spain’s Balearic Islands, then onto Menorca, Corsica, Saint Tropez and Monaco.

2015-Mexico, Grenada, & the West Indies I traveled to Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico’s Pacific coast, for the first time in May, then spent a week in June on what I’ve often called my favorite Caribbean island — Nevis, West Indies. Photographing green vervet monkeys on the golf course of Four Seasons Nevis was one of many highlights. I welcomed the opportunity to join other divers in Grenada in July, where we explored an Underwater Sculpture Park, an underwater art installation listed as one of the Top 25 Wonders of the World by National Geographic. Less than a month later, I was able to dive the Cancun Underwater Sculpture Park, one of the largest and most ambitious underwater artificial art attractions in the world. I also swam with whale sharks off the coast of Cancun in the Yucatan Peninsula. Another bucket list experience! 2016~U.S, Greek Islands and the Grenadines My husband and I traveled by car from Indiana to Sanibel Island, Florida, in January. I had long wanted to visit Sanibel, which is known for its world class shelling, thanks to its unique east/west geographic location. That allows it to become a perfect “catch basin” for more than 250 types of seashells. A Windstar Greek Isles cruise in June brought us to the shores of Mykonos, Santorini, Patmos, and several other ports along our Aegean Sea route from Athens. Beaches took a back seat on this trip, however, as we immersed ourselves in the ancient history that surrounded us.

In July, a road trip through the Florida Keys, from Key West to Key Largo, brought new adventures, including being able to dive while attending an Underwater Music Festival on Looe Key Reef. I knew my home state of Indiana had beaches and we got a first-hand look in August. Lake Michigan on Indiana’s northern coastline fronts more than 15,000 acres of Indiana Dunes territory, covering the Indiana Dunes State Park and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Petit St. Vincent, a private island resort in the Grenadines was the ideal place to escape the chaos during the 2016 Presidential election. We voted via absentee ballot and were happy to be snorkeling with the turtles in the Tobago Cays on Election Day. It’s as close to idyllic as an island destination can get. I’m ready to book a return trip for this November! 2107~Outer Banks and French Polynesia North Carolina’s southern Outer Banks, often referred to as the Crystal Coast, was a U.S. coastal destination I had never explored before my trip in May 2017. Wide beaches and wild horses await visitors to Cape Lookout National Sea shore, co vering more than 50 miles on three undeveloped barrier islands off its central shore. May I say “bucket list” and “dream come true” again? Ever since my first press trip to Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora in 2010, I had always wanted to return to French Polynesia with my husband. A 10-day Windstar Tahiti-Tuamotus cruise was the perfect solution to a seven-year longing, and it even included staying in an overwater bungalow during the ship’s overnight stop in Bora Bora. 2018~Bonaire-Netherlands Antilles Bonaire, formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles and now an independent nation, is known as a scuba diver’s paradise.

Photos opposite from left: Petit St Vincent Grenadines Beach; Emerald Isle, North Carolina Beach; Green Vervet Monkey in Nevis; This page from left: Motu Mahanae, French Polynesia; Galapagos Beach Sea Lions; Rosalie Bay Beach, Dominica; Orient Beach, St Maarten; Nevis Nisbet Plantation


It was one of my early dive destinations after becoming certified in 1992. I finally returned with my husband in August 2018. When our faces were not underwater, there were beautiful beaches, flamingos, and even a donkey sanctuary to keep us entertained. 2019~Return to the Florida Keys The only tropical destination I visited in 2019 was Hawks Cay Resort, following its reopening after sustaining serious damage from Hurricane Irma in September 2017. It covers 60 acres at Duck Key in the Florida Keys. Looking back: both nostalgic and healing Reviewing this retrospective of my island travels at a time when travel is forbidden due to the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic has been strangely healing. It’s been, at times, nostalgic, as I’ve reviewed photographs and brought memories to the forefront that made me realize how very blessed I have been. Even if I never get to leave my footprints on another sandy beach, I have filled my senses with the colors, tastes, and smells of this beautiful world beyond the wildest dreams of a little girl growing up in southern Indiana, far away from the tropics. We are now just beginning to emerge from a time when we have, at times, felt like we’ve been on a deserted island, separated from the people we love and the activities we enjoy. But, to paraphrase William James, we truly are “like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.” Let’s stay connected in any way we can, deeply, even when distance separates us.

Coming in July! the

 Food, Wine, Travel 86

Profile for foodwinetravelmagazine

Food, Wine, Travel Magazine, June 2020  

"Our Beautiful World" issue takes a look at everywhere from Budapest to San Moritz, the Ozarks to the Caribbean, Hawaii to Nova Scotia, Ital...

Food, Wine, Travel Magazine, June 2020  

"Our Beautiful World" issue takes a look at everywhere from Budapest to San Moritz, the Ozarks to the Caribbean, Hawaii to Nova Scotia, Ital...

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