Photo Friday: Snow Covered Branches

It’s always amazing how the snow clings to every single surface. Tom got this shot on our recent Michigan trip.

Snow covered branches

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Savoring the Amazing Offerings with Food Carts Portland

Food CartAs huge fans of local foodie tours, we will often make a foodie tour of a city our first priority when visiting. It gives us a chance to sample some local restaurants and make a decision about whether we would like to return to enjoy a full meal. In this manner, we have explored Seattle, Scottsdale, San Francisco and lots of other locations.

But truly one of the most unique foodie tours was one we participated in just recently in Portland, Oregon. Long before food carts or trucks became a phenomenon spreading throughout most major cities, Portland started the incredibly popular craze that other cities are now trying to emulate. Always a place on the cutting edge of culinary daring, Portland is the perfect place to check out the food cart scene.

For the unitiated, food carts are basically just mobile kitchens from which food is served to pedestrians passing by. While food carts are technically mobile, those in Portland are set up into pods all over the city and are stationary. Food carts are amazingly versatile, offering an incredible array of goodies, and appealing to an astonishing variety of customers from businessmen on a lunch break to families of all ages to students.

Read the rest of this article on Epicurean Traveler HERE.

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Categories: Cities, Countries, Epicurean Traveler, Foodie Tour, Oregon, Portland, United States | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jetboating Hell’s Canyon with Un-Cruise Adventures

desert-canyonWe had an absolutely amazing time on our Un-Cruise Adventures cruise of the Columbia and Snake Rivers in Oregon and Washington. Every single thing was perfect from our roomy cabin with an outside door to the spectacular food to the fascinating fellow passengers to the fact that we had a massage onboard included in the cruise rate.

That’s right.

A massage for each guest.

Yes, you should immediately book this cruise. Because it was awesome.

And the massage is just one of the reasons for the love because the biggest reason as far as we are concerned was the amazing trip we took up Hell’s Canyon on a jetboat. We really didn’t know what to expect of this shore excursion that was listed on our itinerary (all shore excursions are included in your cruise rate. I know, right?) because we had never heard of Hell’s Canyon or of jetboats. After experiencing it for ourselves, I have one thing to say.

We now know exactly where to go in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

Because this place is truly isolated. It is possible to get there over the mountains as Native Americans did for hundreds of years and there are a very few roads, but boat travel is the most common. And, as we all know, zombies can’t swim.

But discount the possibility of running into any zombies and this is truly a paradise, albeit a paradise without any running water or electricity because it’s just about impossible to get those out here. So those gorgeous cabins we saw? Yeah, they all have an outhouse.

Totally fabulous in every way. Except for no electricity of indoor plumbing.

Totally fabulous in every way. Except for no electricity of indoor plumbing.

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Categories: Countries, Cruises, Oregon, Un-Cruise Adventures, United States, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo Friday: Snow Covered Tree Trunk

Tom got this interesting shot while walking around the Maumee Bay State Park in Oregon, Ohio.

Snow on tree stump

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Relaxing and Rejuvenating at the Lovely Treetops Resort

Hosted Accommodations

 

I’m not sure exactly when we fell in love with the quite wonderful Treetops Resort. It might have been when we saw the cheerfully decorated welcome sign in the blowing snow.

Welcome to Treetops!

Welcome to Treetops!

Or it may have been when we first saw the lodge in the middle of a snowstorm.

What a welcome in the snow!

What a welcome in the snow!

View of the lodge.

View of the lodge.

Or it might possibly have been when we saw our luxurious suite, when we met the amazing people who work here, when we visited the relaxing spa, when we snowshoed through the amazing landscape…OK. Possibly we fell in love several times.

Let me tell you about all of them and you will understand.

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Categories: Accommodations, Countries, Michigan, Resorts, Skiing, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning to Ski at Crystal Mountain

skiingHosted Accommodations

 

 

Last winter, we visited Michigan for the very first time and fell in love.

In love with the astonishingly beautiful snow which I’m sure gets really old to those who live there and have to shovel their driveways and scrape their cars but we ADORED, in love with the friendly people, and in love with several locations that we visited, including Crystal Mountain.

We loved every single thing about our stay at this gorgeous, luxurious ski, golf, and spa resort but one of our very favorite things was our charming cottage at the Water’s Edge complete with a fireplace. Could accommodations possibly get any better than this?

Why, yes. Yes, they can.

Because we just spent a few days there and stayed in one of their Mountainside townhomes and can I just say that it is lucky they got us to leave? Because we would have cheerfully moved in for the entire winter. The Mountainside townhome we stayed in was truly amazing. With a huge kitchen, great living room with a fireplace, plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms, we could really spread out and relax after a day of skiing. This home even had a ping pong table and a foosball table in the bottom level along with comfortable seating and another television – perfect for a family with kids!

Our cottage last year was really convenient and in the middle of all the activities but our townhome was quiet and private so it’s impossible to say which we loved more. In fact, Crystal Mountain has an amazing assortment of accommodations to fit any need so we will just have to keep returning until we try them all out!

Oh, yeah.

Gorgeous Mountainside townhome! Photo courtesy of Crystal Mountain.

Gorgeous Mountainside townhome! Photo courtesy of Crystal Mountain.

Last year when we visited Crystal Mountain, we tried out pretty much every winter activity they had to offer but the one thing I thought we would never be interested in was skiing. Ironic as this is a ski resort in the winter but they have so  much else to offer, it’s not a problem. And yet one of us decided after that trip that they would like to try skiing.

Anyone who knows us at all will be surprised to learn that it was Tom and not me who was interested in skiing. I am the one who can ice skate, kayak, participate in Yoga, and have pretty excellent balance. Tom is the one who kept tipping his kayak over in 12 inches of water and who, after determinedly trying to ice skate, finally gave up when he couldn’t stand on the skates. But we met with one of the instructors of the Retired not Tired (excellent name) ski classes when we were there last year and Tom was intrigued.

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Photo Friday: Geese at Maumee Bay State Park

Tom takes most of our photos but I managed to get this one of geese at Maumee Bay State Park in Oregon, Ohio.

Geese at Maumee Bay State Park

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Newmans at 988 in Cannon Beach, Oregon

Hosted Meal

 

 

Newmans At 988 on Urbanspoon

newmansWhen we fell totally and completely in love with Oregon, part of the reason was the time we spent in lovely little Cannon Beach at the coast.

Found completely by accident when looking for a coastal resort to visit for a few days, it was one of the happiest accidents in all our travels.

Really adding to our experience was the evening we dined at the tiny and charming Newmans at 988 restaurant.

Located right on the main street in Cannon Beach in a former residence, the restaurant only has 10 tables and accommodates 24 – 30 people. We were very lucky to be part of that elite group. Opened in February 2006 by Chef John and Sandy Newman who combined Chef John’s French training and experience with the original restaurant in the location which had offered Italian cuisine, the small restaurant offers truly excellent food. The French/Italian cuisine features the best local products Oregon and the Pacific Northwest have to offer. Since Cannon Beach is similar to coastal European villages we have visited, the white tablecloths, fresh flowers, and intimate atmosphere were both familiar and comfortable for us.

We pulled into a parking place behind the restaurant and strolled around front, enjoying the cool October breeze off the ocean just a couple blocks behind the restaurant.

Welcome to Newmans at 988!

Welcome to Newmans at 988!

Visiting this restaurant felt like you were just stopping in for dinner with some friends in their home – a very pleasant experience!

Newmans at 988 - charming!

Newmans at 988 – charming!

It was a week night and not too busy in Cannon Beach, so we just had a short wait and then were seated immediately. I imagine the restaurant is very busy during their high season in the summer and reservations might be a good idea.

Our friendly waitress spent a little time telling us about the restaurant, the history, and the amazing offerings on the menu. Then she brought us a couple of glasses of champagne. What a nice way to start an evening!

Champagne!

Champagne!

Everything on the menu looked equally wonderful but I was in the mood for steak so steak with potatoes and blue cheese on top sounded good. And it was.

In fact, it was perfect. Perfectly cooked and perfect delicious.

Blah

Cooked perfectly!

We just sat and enjoyed the quiet, intimate atmosphere, the low hum of conversation from the other diners, and the amazing, melt-in-your-mouth steaks we had both ordered.

It was the perfect dining experience.

Our only regret is that dinner was so delicious and filling that we weren’t able to order dessert.

That’s definitely on our agenda for our next visit.

Full disclosure: Our dinner was provided by Newmans at 988 but as always, we will share our honest opinions about any travel experiences we have.

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Open the Door to the Perfect Girlfriends Getaway in Door County, Wisconsin

Stairs at Little Sister ResortIf you visited one of idyllic Door County’s beaches every single day, it would take you nearly a month because since this lovely, scenic area of Wisconsin is located on a peninsula which juts out into Lake Michigan and there are plenty of beaches. This means, of course, that Door County is a great vacation for a girlfriends getaway if you enjoy beaching.

However, astonishing beautiful beaches are not the only thing this area often referred to as the Cape Cod of the Midwest has to offer. A myriad of comfortable rental homes and condos, along with hotels and resorts offer plenty of places to stay. We picked a cozy chalet at the Little Sister Resort, located right on Little Sister Bay, and it was the perfect choice.

The Little Sister Resort is tucked away in the woods and hidden from the road so look carefully for the sign leading to this charming location. After checking in at the office area which doubles as the dining room for the full, hot breakfast that is included with your rate for every member of your group (what a great amenity!), we drove a few yards back to our chalet which was perched on a hill overlooking the water.

Read the rest of this article on girlsgetaway.com HERE.

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Photo Friday: Multnomah Falls

We saw a lot of waterfalls in Oregon, but this was one of the most spectacular.

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

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