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world travel

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry,

and narrow-mindedness.

– Mark Twain

Ski Vail with Epic Pass

This year's ski season brings more epic options than ever.

The Epic Pass, from Vail Resorts, is considered one of the best buys in ski country. The top level pass includes unlimited skiing at 12 resorts across the country. This year, access includes the Park City Mountain Resort. Take your ski passion and your pass around the globe and opt for five free ski days in Verbier, Switzerland, or Trois Vallees in France. You can also make fresh tracks in Japan. The international newcomer to the list is Niseko United, four resorts on one mountain, located an hour south of Sapporo.

Pass options also include discounts for teens and children.

The last day to purchase an Epic Pass for this season is Nov. 23.

Contact: www.snow.com/epic-pass/passes.aspx

cauliflower roasted
 

Spicy Whole Roasted Cauliflower

It's a taste treat we've seen on many restaurant and resort menus in recent months. Whether you add it to your Thanksgiving feast or sample the delectable vegetable tonight, let us know what you think! 

 
Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 head cauliflower
1½ cups plain Greek yogurt
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons chile powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400° and lightly grease a small baking sheet with vegetable oil. Set aside.

2. Trim the base of the cauliflower to remove any green leaves and the woody stem.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt with the lime zest and juice, chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, curry powder, salt and pepper.

4. Dunk the cauliflower into the bowl and use a brush or your hands to smear the marinade evenly over its surface. (Excess marinade can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days and used with meat, fish or other veggies.)

5. Place the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the surface is dry and lightly browned, 30 to 40 minutes. The marinade will make a crust on the surface of the cauliflower.

6. Let the cauliflower cool for 10 minutes before cutting it into wedges and serving alongside a big green salad.

 

(Recipe developed by Pure Wow.)

ski switzerland

My first published piece of "journalism" was a review of a Warren Miller ski movie.

Since that day, many snowy runs ago, a Warren Miller filmfest has remained a great way to gear up for another season on the slopes.

This year, No Turning Back, will get the adrenaline pumping for plenty of ski enthusiasts. Filmed in Montana,Switzerland, France, and Japan, you won't want to miss this chance to feel the powder on your brow, even before you slap on those skis for the first time this season.

Are you ready?

Glimpse a preview here.

stonehenge

The British Isles are home to a huge array of heritage sites, many of which make “must visit” lists year after year. Although you may not initially think of centuries-old venues as the first place to take your family on a holiday, in fact, children and adults alike can learn a lot from these historic sites. Whether you and your kids are enthralled by the Royal Family, want to see haunting Stonehenge, or are fascinated by tales of the past, you’ll find plenty to explore in England.

Read on for five fascinating historic sites to add to your next British holiday itinerary. 

1. Stonehenge

One of the most iconic historical sites in the world, Stonehenge is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the past, legends, or spirituality. The famous stone circle, situated on Salisbury Plain in the south of the country, has a hazy past that archaeologists and historians are still trying to figure out.

It is believed though that Stonehenge was built in stages, starting around 3,000 B.C. and continuing up to 1,600 B.C. The stones within the monument were transported from up to 150 miles or more away, and the tallest of the upright stones reaches almost 22 feet high.

While access to this historic spot has become limited over the years due to fears of damage, it is possible to book a Stone Circle Access visit that takes place outside of normal opening times. These hour-long visits are late in the evening or first thing in the morning and must be pre-booked in advance. With 17 previously unknown structures recently being discovered in the fields and plains around the World Heritage-listed site, now there is even more to be enthralled by during a visit.

tower of london

2. The Tower of London

The Tower of London is one of the most well-known destinations in London itself, and no trip to the city can be complete without a visit. This famous landmark and fortification has stood guard over the north bank of the River Thames for around 1,000 years, and has also served in a variety of other roles.

Apart from once being a royal residence for English kings, the venue has also been a treasury, the Royal Mint, an armoury, and a menagerie. However, what tends to draw tourists from around the world is the Tower’s past as a prison and place of execution. In addition, the site is also the home of the British Crown Jewels, a display that tends to be the highlight of any visit. The exhibition was redesigned and revamped to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and should be added to any travel itinerary within London.

3. Canterbury Cathedral

Located in Canterbury in Kent, the striking Canterbury Cathedral is one of the oldest Christian structures in England and yet is still a working church and important site of worship with morning and evening prayers conducted daily.

The Cathedral has seen prayers offered each day for more than 1,400 years, and was originally founded back in 597 by Saint Augustine on behalf of Pope Gregory the Great. Apart from being a place of worship, the site boasts a library with more than 30,000 books and pamphlets that were printed before 1900. Canterbury Cathedral is also home to a magnificent array of stained-glass windows throughout the building that have survived from as early as the 12th century.

roman baths

4. The Roman Baths

The Roman Baths form part of England’s Bath World Heritage Site, and gave this part of the world its name. The popular tourist destination receives over one million visitors every year, and is built on hot springs that were originally discovered by the Celts.

The site features the Roman Bath House, a Roman Temple (the oldest structure in the Baths, built in 60-70 A.D.), a museum, and the Sacred Spring. While it’s no longer possible to bathe in the original Roman Baths, the sight of this historic place lit up by torches at night during the summer months is one not easily forgotten.

5. Blenheim Palace

One of England’s biggest houses, Blenheim Palace sits amid a sprawling 2,100-acre estate in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. The Palace was constructed in the early 18th century in the not-often seen English Baroque style. The estate was a gift from Queen Anne to John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough that claimed victory in the Battle of Blenheim in 1704.

The site went on to become the ancestral home of the Churchill family for more than 300 years, and was the birthplace of a former prime minister, Sir Winston Churchill. Today the palace is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site and a beautiful spot where visitors can wander the home and its surrounding lakes and landscaped gardens.

Happy Thanksgiving

Are you looking for an alternative to traveling over the river and through the woods for Thanksgiving?

Here are five ideas to consider:

Kingsmill Resort. Williamsburg, VA.

Leave the holiday bird preparation to the pros at this Virginia resort where you and your family will enjoy all the seasonal trimmings. Get settled in one of 425 recently updated guest rooms or stretch out with the clan in a three-bedroom suite. Either way you’ll enjoy views of the James River landscape and access to championship golf, tennis and world-class spa facilities.  When you’re ready to expand your holiday horizons, hop aboard free shuttles to both Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens.

Contact:  800-832-5665: www.Kingsmill.com.

The Mermaid Academy. Hawks Cay, FLA.

Do you have an aspiring mermaid in your household? Perhaps inspired by the movies Splash or The Little Mermaid, the Orlando-based Mermaid Academy now makes this sea faring fantasy a reality. During the Thanksgiving holiday, kids of all ages can “dip their tail in the water” and see what swimming like this mystical creature actually feels like.

Classes include tail rentals for girls or shark fins for boys, plus swimming lessons in the resort’s salt-water lagoon.

Contact: (877) 496-6023; www.hawkscay.com ; www.themermaidacademy.com.

Macy’s Parade, New York Hilton, NY, NY.

Have you always dreamed of capturing a bird’s eye view of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? More than three million people gather to see the iconic floats, bands and entertainment each year.

Choose from one of several parade packages that will provide you and your clan the opportunity to enjoy the seasonal show from the comfort of you room.

Contact: http://newyorkhiltonhotel.com  

Snow Mountain Ranch, Winter Park, CO.

Plan an active holiday weekend that begins with a pre-feast Turkey Trot to get your clan warmed up. Other options include taking part in the Turkey Olympics, Noodle Jousting, Flag Football and even a pie-throwing contest (the staff has volunteered to serve as targets). Wind down the night with a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving moviefest.

There are plenty of snow-centric activities as well including dog-sledding, snow tubing and Nordic skiing.

Contact:  888-613-9622; http://snowmountainranch.org  

Thanksgiving at Sea.  

Give thanks for sunny days and adventures at sea when you set sail for Jamaica, the Cayman Islands or the Bahamas during the Thanksgiving holiday. Expect live entertainment, a kid-friendly Thanksgiving cooking class, holiday focused scavenger hunts, talent shows and costume parades as well as the traditional dinner you won’t want to miss. 

For some, the holiday is not complete without a healthy serving of gridiron action. Catch your favorite football match ups on large screens throughout the ship.

Contact: http://www.msccruisesusa.com

Travel safety

Lately, I have been thinking about and discussing with friends, family, and colleagues, the delicate balance we seek when managing the many aspects of travel. By that, I mean stirring the sometimes bubbling pot of risk, reward, fear, preparation, knowledge and exploration.

Perhaps our formula is different when the situation involves our children.

Perhaps not.

Several years ago, I was in Hawaii with my sons, Alex and Ted, when word came of Japan's devastating tsunami. We watched the tragedy unfold on television as we prepared to evacuate our hotel rooms. We would sleep in the public spaces along with other uneasy guests as we awaited the incoming swells.

We've hiked, rafted, skied, and kayaked in places where wild animals roam and sheer cliffs threaten.

I've traveled extensively through countries considered a world away from the perceived safety net provided by chain hotels and English-speaking islands.

And now, a deadly virus gives rise to a new conversation about travel and well-being.

Too, I am often asked if I worry about my safety as a woman traveling solo in a city or after an adventure in the backcountry.

Safe?

What really makes us feel safe?

How is it that one person's fear-inducing experience is another's source of exhiliration?

I don't have answers but believe that, in the end, it's about the personal attitudes we develop very early, layered with opportunity, choice and experience. It is among the reasons I feel so strongly about encouraging children and families to explore the world early and often.

And, the question always reminds me of a thought-provoking experience I shared with my sons Alex and Ted during and soon after, a trip to the Peruvian Amazon.

(Forewarned: this tale involves snakes!)

Peruvian Amazon

                                                        ~ ~ ~

Eyes empty, sadness smudged her forehead. Then our guide told us the story and I understood.

We had come to her home on the secluded banks of the Peruvian Amazon to search for the elusive poison dart frog in the adjacent jungle. The woman before me, her husband and four children cooked, dined and slept beneath a thatched roof, covering a raised platform. There were no walls.

poison dart frog

No doubt they received a small fee from our guide’s lodge to allow us to slide our canoes on to their riverside beach and to welcome us for a short visit in their home.

But it was not our presence that veiled her eyes.  It was this: a few weeks prior the couple’s oldest son was sent 100 yards down to the river to collect water for their cooking.

He did not return.

Soon they went searching for him and discovered he had been struck by the deadly fer-de-lance snake. This creature, deeply feared by the river people, is sometimes called the “three-step snake” – so deadly you can only walk three steps after its bite.

The family had no way to get their son to modern medical treatment. The local shaman was called, but the boy did not survive.

~ ~ ~

With this story thickening the already hot and humid air, we wandered into the jungle and located many small colorful frogs.  We were told their poison is still applied to the tips of darts used for hunting within the region. We returned on the path, crossing near the family’s home, climbed into our canoes and paddled back to our lodge.

During our stay at the jungle lodge, my sons and their friends were asked to join the local villagers in their soccer matches. The games took place at sunset. I, somewhat sheepishly, felt compelled to warn my sons not to venture into the jungle for the ball. We were told this was prime time for the deadly snakes to hunt.

Boys join jungle soccer match.

With the grieving mother’s pained expression still haunting me, I studied the natural floor during our jungle hikes, determined to spot the mottled skin of the exotic, mysterious snake. It didn't happen. Within a few days, after fishing for piranha, visiting a native village and zip-lining through the canopy, we returned home to the States.

~ ~ ~

Within weeks after our return to our Scottsdale, Arizona home, we were enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon. Teddy was watching a movie in the study.  I was finishing some work at my desk. As my husband walked toward the hall powder room, he stopped to chat with me for just a moment. Fortunately, as he spoke, he put his hand on the door, moving it in slowly. In doing so, a loud noise erupted. Was it a water pipe? Some sort of electrical malfunction?

No.

It was the rapid tail movement of an angry Diamondback rattlesnake. Stunned, we realized that the rattler had done his part. He had warned us with a surprisingly vigorous alarm, one designed to be heard in the desert. It now echoed strangely off thick, slate floors.

My husband and son wisely stuffed towels under the bathroom door so the snake would not disappear into the house. I called the fire department.

The firefighters arrived quickly, amazed that the snake had slithered into our home. Using their cleverly designed extraction tool, they removed the Diamondback to the natural desert beyond our patio.

Later, we discussed how easy it would have been to have an unpleasant encounter with the poisonous rattler as he meandered within a few feet of each of us.  We spoke of our rigorous planning and preparation and the safety measures exercised in the wild places we explored.

And how ironic it was that our closest call came within the “safety” of our own home.

taos pueblo

During this, National Indian Heritage Month, there is much to learn about native traditions and cultures. 

 

The Taos Pueblo in Taos, NM has been continuously inhabited for more than 1000 years. This remarkable community remains a pristine example of Native American culture, tradition and architecture. UNESCO makes note of the Pueblo Indians’ ability to retain meaningful and long held traditions despite pressure from the outside world. Close to 1900 Pueblo Indians still live, full or part time within the community, in homes made of adobe bricks, vigas and latillas. Take a walking tour of the area and uncover a rich history, view native arts and crafts and observe a way of life rarely glimpsed in our otherwise high-tech world.

 Find out more:(505 )758-1028; www.TaosPueblo.com; http://www.nps.gov/history/worldheritage/taos.htm

babymoons familytravel.com

Pre-baby getaways have gained in popularity as expectant parents seek out stress-free solace before the sleepless nights begin. 

Here are five babymoons to consider:  family travel

1. Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore; Santa Barbara, Calif. 

Parents-to-be who tap into the historic seaside hotel’s Timeless Memories package will be welcomed with a teddy bear clad in a newborn shirt, chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of sparkling cider. Relax the day away with complimentary access to the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The soothing breezes will continue as you enjoy dinner for two at Tydes, a seaside restaurant with an emphasis on locally sourced culinary treats.

Contact: fourseasons.com/santabarbara/offers/timeless_memories/  familytravel.com

2.The MIlestone Hotel. London. Share the spotlight of the royal baby watch with this package that gets underway near Hyde Park. Your package includes two nights of accommodations, a tour of Kensington Palace, royal afternoon tea and tickets to an event at Royal Albert Hall. A 90-minute spa treatment for the expectant mother and dinner for two are also included. After your baby arrives, you are invited to return for a stay that will include a complimentary upgrade to a spacious family room. Book now for availability beginning Jan. 1.

Contact: milestonehotel.com  

3. The Houstonian Hotel Club & Spa; Houston. 

Upon check-in, complimentary chilled cider and specialty beauty products will be delivered to your deluxe guest room. Prepare to be pampered at the award-winning Trellis Spa, where a prenatal massage for the mom-to-be and a deep-tissue massage for the dad-to-be await. Spend time strolling through the 18-acre wooded grounds or fit in a workout at the hotel’s fitness club. You’ll head for home with a special stuffed animal for the baby.

Contact: 1-800-231-2759; houstonian.com  

4. Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa; St. Lucia. 

You may want to settle in at the adults-only pool during your four-night, all-inclusive stay in this Caribbean island resort. Relax on the sun deck for two or lose yourself in a novel wrapped in the comfort of a hammock. Babymoon suite accommodations offer private balconies and sweeping views of the Atlantic and the Maria Islands Nature Reserve. Spend the day enjoying oceanfront spa treatments crafted for the expectant mother before joining your partner for a private “Perfect Night” candlelit dinner for two.

Contact: 1-877-352-8898; cbayresort.com  

familytravel.com

5. Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort; Phoenix. 

If baby makes four or more, this family-friendly resort in the Valley of the Sun has the babymoon package for you. Check into suite accommodations and prepare to enjoy an afternoon of family fun at the 4-acre River Ranch water park, featuring a winding lazy river, water slide, pools and 18 holes of miniature golf. While the kids enjoy a howling good time at the Coyote Camp, parents can regenerate at the Tocasierra Spa with a Relax the Back or Maternity massage.

Contact: 1-800-876-4683; squawpeakhilton.com/phoenix-resort-deals

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