For those who call the city home, being able to escape the hustle and bustle and find a slower and quieter retreat to escape to for the weekend becomes almost life-saving. For me, that place is Stowe, Vermont. Being the country mouse that I am, I always look forward to the opportunity to take leave of my crazy city life and head North to the quaint little Vermont town, where the air is crisp and clean, and the people are… dare I say.. friendly?
Located just three hours North of Boston, Stowe is the idyllic Vermont ski town, yet has so much more to offer than nearby Jay Peak, Sugarbush, or even Killington. With the gorgeous mountainous backdrop, an adorable town center, and wide range of coffee shops, restaurants, and watering holes, Stowe is small enough that you get the cozy, neighborhood feel, yet large enough that you don’t get claustrophobic. And while I can’t say Vermont skiing is the absolute best I’ve ever come across (come on, I lived a stones throw away from Lake Tahoe for 11 years!) on a good day, Stowe is by far one of the best mountains I’ve skied on in the East.
This is an exciting time of year for many people – the holidays are finally upon us, it’s almost 2013 (thank God), and just as the cold, winter air settles in for the season, it’s time to start planning that warm, beach vacation with your family, friends or significant others.
When it comes to beach vacations, one of the most daunting tasks is finding the best place to go. I’m currently just beginning this process, and have finally narrowed my list down to an island in the Caribbean. Well great, there are almost 7,000 Caribbean islands (source: Ask.com) – how the heck am I going to narrow down the list and find the best location that will fit my budget?
Since I’m sure there are tons of people out there doing the same kind of research, I thought this would be a great opportunity to enlist the help of my good friend Stephanie Kohn from SniqueAway – one of my favorite new private travel sale sites. I love SniqueAway because it’s like a RueLaLa – but for travel – and they offer some pretty fantastic accommodations at surprisingly affordable prices.
Stephanie was kind enough to provide responses to my questions about finding the best beach vacation deals (including a few great deals available today,) so I hope you find her feedback as helpful as I do.
**For an added treat, anyone who signs up for SniqueAway between today and December 16 gets $25 in credit!! Click here for the deal: http://www.sniqueaway.com/invite/AsCrowFlies
Ten days and three reunions later, I feel like I need a two week vacation! Not only did I have a mini-college reunion with some of my best gal pals in Newport, RI on Friday night (had dinner at the Boat House in Tiverton which was fantastic), but on Saturday, I headed over to Marion, MA for my 20-year high school reunion at Tabor Academy. The school has changed so much since I graduated – new dorms, state-of-the-art athletic facility and scientific wing of the academic center – I hardly recognized it. However, all of my closest friends were there and everyone looked exactly the same. I had been looking forward to this reunion for a long time since they were clustering our year with the year above and the year below us, so I got to see people I hadn’t seen since I graduated. Reminiscing about the “old days,” it’s an absolute miracle we lived through those years. But what an amazing place to go to high school – we were so spoiled!
My first reunion actually took place last weekend in Newport, RI (yes, this is becoming a trend). Our Jackson Hole ski crew organized this weekend so we could finally get to see the highly anticipated ‘Between Apres’ ski movie our friend Wade put together. Thanks to his professional helmet cam, and a few of the crews’ best shots, Wade put together a fantastic montage of our Jackson Hole trip, including some of our best (and worst) ski moves.We had been looking forward to this reunion ever since we left each other in March.
What an amazing year it’s been! Not only was I able to visit Jackson Hole for the very first time but I was able to spend a luxurious week in Costa Rica with my entire family. We stayed on the beautiful Papagayo Peninsula along the north Pacific coast, and I couldn’t even try to describe what a breathtaking place it was. We were celebrating my stepfather’s birthday, so not only was my sister able to come all the way from San Francisco, but all four of my step-sisters and all of their families. This was the first time we’ve all been together since their wedding over ten years ago, so this was a pretty special event for everyone.
Some of the highlights included taking salsa lessons (never quitting my day job), a cooking class from one of the hotel restaurant chefs, a nature hike where we got to see (and hear) the unmistakable howler monkeys, a luxurious spa day and a fun-filled day of zip lining. I even got to share some quality time with Johnny Rzeznik, the lead singer from the Goo Goo Dolls! Okay not really, but I stood behind him in line at the hotel check-in desk and he smiled at me -that has to count for something! For anyone looking for a romantic or even family get-away in Costa Rica and don’t mind shelling out the big bucks, the Four Seasons in Costa Rica is an unbelievable resort and absolutely worth the price. I was completely spoiled in every sense and started going through withdrawal after a day of not receiving free cold towels and fresh fruit smoothies at the pool. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Back in February, I took an amazing ski trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It was my first time to the mountain, so I was pretty excited to cross it off my bucket list. I went with a fantastic group of people, some of whom I had already known, some I had met for the first time. We all became fast friends and spent an exciting, fun-filled long weekend together, filled with epic powder skiing, exceptional food and some serious apres ski action. Here are just a few of my favorite shots…